Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
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single-user social network

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This social network (which we shall call "ZenLink") will allow you to go through a sign-up process but will then tell you that the sign-up failed as you are already a member. Close inspection of the FAQ page will explain that ZenLink is based on the premise that the distictions between individuals and between individuals and the universe are illusory. It will further explain that for this reason ZenLink is written to only allow one member. Posting of photos, status updates, etc. are, of course, not allowed as there's no point posting these things for yourself. However, by joining, or not joining, ZenLink you are connected to everyone and everything else in the universe.
hippo, Jan 03 2012

The Sokal affair http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokal_affair
[hippo, Jan 11 2012]

Wired: moot on identity http://www.wired.co...e-imagine-identity/
[calum, Jan 11 2012]

generic praise http://denisegriffi...am-is-pretty-yummy/
[beanangel, Feb 04 2012]

relevant theories http://www.wearepla...xious/#.U3-1QIRwapU
[calum, May 23 2014]

for [mouseposture] http://en.wikipedia...ssing_Shade_of_Blue
I meant this bit of David Hume [pertinax, Feb 22 2015]

Binky http://www.binky.rocks
[hippo, Jun 23 2017]

Single-character social networking Single-character_20social_20networking
Way ahead of you [hippo]. [nineteenthly, Sep 27 2017]


       I'm already a member of this - so how can it be a new idea?
pocmloc, Jan 03 2012

       Because you have just discovered that you're a member, [pocmloc].
nineteenthly, Jan 03 2012

       The login page soundtrack should be The Sound Of One Hand Clapping.
8th of 7, Jan 03 2012

calum, Jan 03 2012

       ...Lonely, I'm so lonely...+
blissmiss, Jan 03 2012

       Perhaps I shall spend my immortality insulting every person on this network. <grits teeth>In strict alphabetical order...</gt> (adjusts mirror; picks up HHTTG to pass some more time)
lurch, Jan 03 2012

       I'm not lonely. I am the collective output of billions of neurons, keeping eachother company, and somehow collectively deciding on spending lots of time here. Somehow this gives me pause when considering the sustainability of democracy...
RayfordSteele, Jan 03 2012

       Hate to say I told me so, but I told me so.   

pocmloc, Jan 03 2012

       //your set of 100 online friends is just you in different moods and clothing//   

       *Are* there that many distinct moods? Heck, I'm not sure I could muster 100 distinct suits of clothing.
mouseposture, Jan 03 2012

       |YOUR APPS | |* Congratulations! A perfect score.
reensure, Jan 07 2012

       [Mouseposture], at a minimum of ten pairs of trousers and ten tops, you could do it. Five shirts, bottoms and overgarments would also enable you to manage it. Then there are socks, hats, shoes...
nineteenthly, Jan 07 2012

       You're counting tokens, but I'm counting types.   

       Can I double the number of outfits by swapping right and left socks?   

       (Anyway, the more interesting question is "are there 100 distinct moods?")
mouseposture, Jan 07 2012

       bigsleep shoots and scores on his last anno. Not just moods and clothing but social roles, statuses, specializations, and every other alienated aspect of self divided into an equal number of accounts. Alienation is truth and the social media development is pure illusion. The internet is seperation at the very minimum by the requisite technolgical medium. It can only upload, download, send, recieve the message of alienation. This idea puts the user into society with his or her own alienated social forms, it's the least absurd social media idea yet conceived because it maintains the logic and meaning of the absurdity it is reducing into.
rcarty, Jan 08 2012

       //"are there 100 distinct moods?"//   

       See David Hume.
pertinax, Jan 08 2012

       Sounds interesting, but it went over my head. A little less terse, SVP.
mouseposture, Jan 08 2012

       This idea addresses the alienated individual. Someone without "friends" to include on their profile. There is that level of alienation. But also consider the alienating nature of the contemporary modern world and its technology. The simulacra world of the internet has dominated social life to the extent that a social person must be online all the time. To be social is to be online. It's an emergent functionalism, and as a result to be socially dysfunctional is to be offline in both its literal and social metaphorical sense. But there is also alienation of person into content. Alienation of self into countless social others. Physical alienation of the computer user while interfacing. This is application fo critical theory but it's not to condemn, only to raise consciousness. "The medium is the message;user is content" was one such attempt. Communications technology as with all technology is an alienting medium, media by its nature seperates. It's so equivalent it's circular. TO be media it must seperate, it must alienate. And that is also the essence of its message. That's what resounds from its loudspeakers, and flashes across its screens: alienated content from people seperated from you.
rcarty, Jan 09 2012

       That was almost Vernonian in its obfuscatoriness.
hippo, Jan 09 2012

       Perhaps a more interesting competitor might be a "zero-user social network".
pocmloc, Jan 09 2012

       How can I tell the diff between ZenLink & SolipBook?
luxlucet, Jan 09 2012

       //to be social is to be online//   

       There's something very scarily double-think about that.
RayfordSteele, Jan 09 2012

       rcarty is right, I think.
blissmiss, Jan 09 2012

       Really? Here's all the same points, using the same language, just turned on their head:   

       This idea addresses the cosmic whole. Someone who's individuality is expressed in terms of their social actions. There is that level of community. But also consider the social nature of the contemporary modern world and its technology. The simulacra world of the internet has dominated social life to the extent that an online person can be social all the time. To be online is to be social. It's an emergent functionalism, and as a result to be technologically dysfunctional is to be offline in both its literal and social metaphorical sense. But there is also community in content. A community of self among countless social others. Physical communtiy for the computer user while interfacing. This is application of critical theory but it's not to condemn, only to raise consciousness. "The medium is the message;user is content" was one such attempt. Communications technology as with all technology is a socialising medium, media by its nature connects. It's so equivalent it's circular. TO be media it must connect, it must communicate. And that is also the essence of its message. That's what resounds from its loudspeakers, and flashes across its screens: connected content from people no longer seperated from you.
zen_tom, Jan 10 2012

       //...Lonely, I'm so lonely...//   

       {offers [blissmiss] a hug}   

       (It's all right, [jutta], it's not a happy cuddle; it's an experiment in applied metaphysics).
pertinax, Jan 10 2012

       Well of course zentom is right, his position is in fact the original thesis. Communications technology connects, OK. Thats the function the technology performs. But is it alienating? Yes, OK, in what ways? This is a simple dialectical process. Capitalism is supposed to be a rational technology based system to make people rich. OK. But does it also make people poor? Oh I guess it does.
rcarty, Jan 10 2012

       //Capitalism is supposed to be a rational technology based system//   

       I'm not saying that's a straw man, but I'm sure I heard it singing "I would dance and be merry, life would be a-ding-a-derry..."
pertinax, Jan 10 2012

       [rcarty] as it happens, I'm not sure what my actual position might be - I was more critiquing the method of adopting critical analysis and academic language to make *any* kind of coherent argument, as it can usually be made to say the opposite (or nearly anything you like) with only minor twiddling of key words. This is put into sharp relief whenever any notion of zen is floated (the key point being that for wider non-mathematical arguments, it's difficult to establish a sensible opinion of any kind, since any such opinion will be impossible to defend - which is kind of how Socrates made his living)   

       What confuses me these days is that this (the whole rhetoric = nonsense thing) has been known in the West since at least the 1970s, and yet we continue to adopt its use in serious culture - Or to put it another way, "Critical Theory" continues to exist, how?   

       If communications = the joining of two or more distinct (alien if you prefer) things then yes, it needs for there to exist (and to perpetuate) a state of "otherness" between which communication can occur. In that sense, does communication accentuate the otherness, or does it mitigate against it? The answers; Yes, no, some, none and very definitely both are all equally valid.   

       Same goes for richness - which as a method of relatively stratifying a given population, *requires* there to be some difference in the population to be stratified. Thus richness creates poorness - and vice versa. Therefore (says the didactic rhetorisist) this whole problem of the rich getting richer is entirely the fault of the poor - for without them, there would be no rich people to complain about! Etc etc, ad absurdum, ad nauseam etc.   

       Or to put it another way, how exactly does any of this help? Is there a way of making any kind of non-mathematical argument that actually holds any kind of meaning? Can that even be possible? But that may have been your point in the first place - I'm fairly sure I'm rambling now, carry on.
zen_tom, Jan 10 2012

       There really should be a Google Translate function to do the transformation from what [rcarty] wrote to what [zentom] wrote.
hippo, Jan 10 2012

       Hear hear, hippo.
blissmiss, Jan 10 2012

       The standard response to zen-tom's question is that since the 1970's the post-modern worldview has been the "incredulity at grand narratives" and all sorts of rational type systems, one would hope includes maths. It seems from a sociological perspective, that people once rationalized become more predictable in their behaviour. One particularly interesting nonmathematical argument belongs to Veblen, suggesting that "people are not lightning fast calculators". This challenges mathematical models for human behaviour asking if humans are not really any good at math, what indeed makes you think its an important factor for governing their behaviour? So, as a nonrational person I opt to take a stance against the rational system of capitalism or to not use social media. Why would someone do such a thing, especially when so many benefits could be conferred for assimilation? It's the liberating effects of the aforementioned stupidity that Veblen addresses. People are too stupid to fit into any sort of rational models, and if freedom is to be achieved and maintained (emancipation), we ought to keep making stupid decisions (enlightenment).
rcarty, Jan 10 2012

       //one would hope includes maths// I do hope not - you see, there is no 'narrative' in mathematics - only meaning, you can't have racist maths, or sexist maths, or nationalistic maths, anti-semetic maths, ideological maths, religious maths or any other form of biased, politically skewed, pre, post or post-post-modern maths. It's just truth, no messing about - and has been for more than 8,000 years - Human culture began with it, has grown alongside it, and continues to grapple with its intricacies. Not so Zoroastrianism, not so Marxism, Freudianism, Socialism, Communism, Nationalsim, not the Roman Empire, or Christianity or anything. It's the most human subject, dealing with the concerns of people, in the most direct way imaginable - How much, how many. It's about intention, forethought, care. Because while How Much? seems to us a purely materialistic thought today - you have to look at it in terms of its initial meaning - "How much do I need to feed my family?" "How many oxen can plough this field?. It's probably the most long-lasting, most fundamental - and most human of all the humanities - because it's not possible to pervert it to any particular ideological cause. (Let's leave out statistics for now - while they may often be used to back up all kinds of dubious narratives - in themselves, statistics are gloriously unaware and stoically neutral)   

       //Veblen, suggesting that "people are not lightning fast calculators".// Maths has little to do with calculators, and doesn't cherrypick supporting quotations from supportive publications. Hanklestiltzenstein suggests so quite vociferously you know, or at least so I've heard. But maybe you mean that people don't follow neat little internal programs - but if that's the case, then Veblen has evidently missed the point - You see, that's not what's being suggested.   

       //what indeed makes you think its an important factor for governing their behaviour? // I don't think I suggested that in this conversation - but since you ask, it's the same thing that makes empirical study a reasonable method to predict weather patterns, cosmic movements, crystal formation, population growth, the behaviour of The Lorenz Attractor (and associated dynamic models) pretty much everything that exists in the Universe - predictable and chaotic alike - the only way to view any of these things, at least to have the glimmer of a possibility of deeply understanding them, is through a careful and empirical study of them - and to create imaginative representations that presuppose some form of underlying beauty, form and structure - or in some cases, randomness.   

       Plus, measurement, imagination and lack of bias make it a much better tool than any particular set of socio-politically narrative-driven, rhetoric- based immediately refutable arguments.   

       If we live in a post-modern world where it is widely accepted that narrative is meaningless - why do we continue to search for a narrative as the basis of our arguments about the world? How can that possibly achieve anything other than us bandying about ever decreasingly semantic obtuseties ? It's a serious concern, honestly.   

       We have debating chambers in all our modern parliaments where ideologically biased viewpoints are shouted at from one side of the floor to the other - our offices are full of people arguing one set of unverifiable opinions against another - it's all been shown to be rubbish, so why do we continue to do it?   

       Really, now that narrative has been thoroughly debunked (and let's all hope that it has - there was more than enough narrative in the first half of the 20th Century, and look where that got us) but having wised up to the fact that a narrative = "someone else's lies" - Without a simple sense of being able to genuinely communicate anything of meaning - what's left?   

       I don't know the answer to that - but I do worry about it sometimes.   

       //I opt to take a stance against the rational system of capitalism//   

       Finally, I don't see capitalism as being "rational" in any sense - and the same goes for facebook, so I'm not sure I get that part of your argument. We haven't adopted capitalism (or facebook) because it's rational - it's the hodge-podge melange of a dynamic mix of forces (both real and virtual) that we're currently experiencing today - I don't think anyone actually thought any of it through - it's just been kind of happening that way - and what we're left with is more through a series of historical accidents than anything rational or deliberate. And thank goodness for that!
zen_tom, Jan 10 2012

       ([zen] - c.f. Sokal's call for an "emancipatory mathematics" in his spoof paper "Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity" - see link)
hippo, Jan 11 2012

       what [hippo] said:   

       Geroi Nashevo Vremeni, that Sokal.
pertinax, Jan 11 2012

       //"How many oxen can plough this field?. //...//it's not possible to pervert it to any particular ideological cause//

It's very easy to get hung up on political idealogies and ignore social ones. I was much struck, when I went to Japan, by the Japanese attitude to looking after people. Many of their gardens and parks are maintained by numbers of elderly workers who could easily be replaced by, for example, a bloke on a motorised lawnmower. However, they choose not to, not because of maths or economics or political idealogy but because of their culture.

Although we like to think, as a general principle, that science is striving for 'truth', the reality is that the paths we choose to study or not study, and the way in which we interpret and apply the results, are heavily influenced by culture. Pure rationalism is an illusion, and that's why we continue to shout at each other across the debating floor.
DrBob, Jan 11 2012

       There are a few things here that are jumping out at me, and they have triggered some scattered thoughts (apologies if these have already been covered - I have read the thread but it veers quite a bit):   

       First is the fact that the single user social network is probably the only social network where you are able to be yourself entirely. As soon as you are required to engage with another person (either on a social network or otherwise), you will not be presenting to them the wholeness of your being, just whatever facet is relevant/appropriate to the interaction. On a social network, your identity is further constrained by the structure of the network, and how *it* seeks to define the individual. For the most part, Facebook's conception of your identity is based upon two things: (1) what you like and (2) omg dun a poo lol it smells like monster munch lololol. This is the (my) problem with Facebook - you cannot be yourself on it. See linked wired article on moot (of 4chan fame) and his concept of online identity.   

       My second thought: this relates to the first, and was triggered by [rcarty]'s comment //People are too stupid to fit into any sort of rational models//. Reading this set off a clangorous din in my brainbox, which is still binglybonging on, a day later. It's a simple statement which feels true and is apt to describe human interaction with complex systems which have been created by humans (though only rarely created by a single human - this is arguably more possible now than in antiquity (the 1980s), though, as software that creates a system that affects a whacking great percentage of the world could conceivably be brought into being by a single individual. But I digress). It's an immensely resonant statement as it describes the necessary failure of any system to work for humans as a whole - the failure also of humans to operate a rational system to their best advantage. At the same time, though, the statement feels false: the failure of the interaction between humans and rational systems is as much explicable by the irreducible complexity of a given human (cf. failure of social networks to capture/represent a "whole" identity) as it is by the fact that people are idiots. I fear that I haven't added anything with this point, but I wanted to mark it out - to thank [rcarty] - for saying something so resonant.   

       Thirdly, [zen_tom]'s statement that mathematics is //the most human subject// causes a similar racket in my brain. It's an elegant wee statement, but needs revision to be correct. The application of mathematics is very human, but mathematics itself is as far from human as you can get, precisely because it is truth, no messing about. The interesting thing about maths in the context of my thoughts on this thread is that it is another example of the failure of humans to interact properly with a system (if it is always correct, why do we disregard it? Though I agree that insofar as maths happens to humans, as something that is visited upon us, rather than something we think about, we are perfectly subject to its laws). The difference here is that the system is not man-made (which accounts for our perfect behaviour within it, and, perhaps, for our imperfect behaviour with regard to it).   

       And DrBob posts while I am typing away, with another aspect to consider - there is a lot to chew over in this thread.   

       EDIT: Finally finally finally, I think part of the reason that the halfbakery suits me well is that I can, as near as possible, be myself here. I am not constrained by telling everyone what things I like (though I can do that), or indeed by what you think of me. On the halfbakery, there is comfort in the relative anonymity, with the diligent adherence to purpose. In this way, the halfbakery is like the internet's secret, clumsily partitioned, sex shop back room, except that through the glory holes are thrust ideas to suck, rather than cocks.
calum, Jan 11 2012

       //First is the fact that the single user social network is probably the only social network where you are able to be yourself entirely// - I wonder if this is true - that is, why wouldn't it be possible for someone to entirely "be themselves" on Facebook, and what would this look like? I also suspect the single-user social network would not necessarily make people "be themselves" and act without artifice, without presenting themselves in a positive light, etc., because of the amount of self-denial and self-deception we all practice.

Perhaps the closest thing to the single-user social network is the Catholic confessional in which (excuse my hazy knowledge of Catholicism) you could be said to be confessing (or providing status updates) to God.

[calum] Best Halfbakery simile ever!
hippo, Jan 11 2012

       Thank you, [hippo]!   

       //why wouldn't it be possible for someone to entirely "be themselves" on Facebook//
Because, aside from the problems of self-deception identified, to fully represent yourself on Facebook would be require (a) a change to the way that the information about you was presented and (b) a Robert Shields level of diligence, directed at peeling back and displaying the layers of self, rather than documenting actions.

       True, self-deception would be a stumbling block to true self-being, but that is the case in relation to all attempts at such. The advantage of the single-user social network is that you are not presenting yourself to anyone, other than yourself. Maybe that is the next step to take - a single user social network where the information you provide is truly visible to no-one, is swallowed and forgotten by the technology behind the network.   

       //the single-user social network is the Catholic confessional//
I don't know that I can get on board with this because, even setting aside the muddying factor of the priestly intermediary, you are still communicating something to another party, though that other party may be imaginary. Hmmm. Then again, if you were to go to a confessional with the approach of a thoroughgoing Catholic but the beliefs of yer man Dawkins, perhaps you are - if you can somehow eliminate the ecclesiastical element - taking part in a single-user social network.
calum, Jan 11 2012

       My take on the Catholic confession ritual is not that you are confessing to God (who already knows everything), or even to the priest, but that, by confessing out loud, you are confessing to yourself. Shedding the cloak of self-delusion, and self-justification which we all carry with us to one extent or another, and consciously recognising your own short-comings (as defined by The Church, that is).
DrBob, Jan 11 2012

       //communicating something// That doesn't go without saying. Maybe it's a speech act. You repent by confessing. That gets around the problem of "Why am I telling You this when You are omniscient?"
mouseposture, Jan 12 2012

       Of course people have been information sharing with that most holy of bureaucracies for millenia. It would be an interesting comparison study to see how people have been convinced to share their most intimate personal details with largely impersonal boxes, with little concern for how that information is being used, throughout history. The confessional box and the personal computer not being far off in that regard. Both depend on alienation as the major mechanism. Feuerbach explained that " man—this is the mystery of religion—objectifies his being and then again makes himself an object to the objectivized image of himself thus converted into a subject", thus the confessional becomes a technology that mediates between these alienated aspects of self, but at the same time connects and shares information with a robust nework of those in the alienation business. Technology has advanced through this process for quite some time since confessionals were popular, but notable developments between them and the internet have been the panopticon prison, public education, television etc. so basically now we're at such a point of alienation that objectified images, and the entire materialist process is too cool to complain about. People openly share their intimate life details with an impersonal box, while others observe the information unseen in the darkness. The only thing that has changed is that everybody can use the alienated content for wanking now not just priests. The content is still alienated using a similar process, and it feeds the same system with knowledge power, facebook and google make money etc. Meh.
rcarty, Jan 12 2012

       //everybody can use the alienated content for wanking now not just priests// Ha! There you go, - democratisation of wanking through technology!
zen_tom, Jan 12 2012


After some thought, I'd like to edit my earlier anno somewhat. Please delete the words "Pure rationalism is an illusion..." and replace with "Rationalism is just a model, not a description of reality...".
DrBob, Jan 12 2012

       best HB in awhile.   

       True: How much of the "real you" will you ever tell another human? I mean, do you even tell your soul mate how much time you waste circle-jerking on the internet?
sophocles, Jan 12 2012

       ah, but see [calum]'s point that the Halfbakery is the only place in which he can "be himself". Also did you mean to write "soul mate" in your annotation? - "employer", surely?
hippo, Jan 13 2012

       [calum] brilliant as always has hit upon my main complaint about social networking. It is ALL single user. I have yet to have a conversation on facebook. It's a place for onlies to broadcast their news, express opinions and never ever read mine, "Broadcast mode" is how it is described to me, every social net user is a single user.   

       I also like the point that the confessional is a perfect single social network, as would be the psychiatrists couch, but who wants to pay for perfect social networking. Baah, lets all do it for free and be what you want me to be.   

       I should add there are a few halfbakers on fb who are not like this, I am thankful for their friending.
dentworth, Feb 19 2015

       Confessional, or perhaps a diary.
RayfordSteele, Feb 19 2015

       I still like [calum]'s 11/Jan/2012 annotation
hippo, Feb 20 2015

       'Binky' (see link) is nearly the social media platform I was after, especially the behaviour where no one will ever see anything you post - "...You can also re-bink your binks, whatever that means. Do whatever the hell you want in Binky -- no one will ever see it."
hippo, Jun 23 2017

       // no one will ever see it //   

       Baked. The labour party manifesto.
8th of 7, Jun 23 2017

       // the halfbakery is like the internet's secret, clumsily partitioned, sex shop back room, except that through the glory holes are thrust ideas to suck, rather than cocks. //   

       I feel this needs to be reformulated into a tagline.
mitxela, Jun 24 2017

DrBob, Jun 25 2017

       In response to Twitter increasing its character count for Tweets to 280 characters today, the Single-User Social Network will reduce updates to a single character.
hippo, Sep 27 2017

       See link.
nineteenthly, Sep 27 2017

       Ah yes!
hippo, Sep 27 2017


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