nettime's_anonymizer on 8 Feb 2001 00:23:16 -0000

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<nettime> Strategic Spam

 On The Strategic Use of Spam

 by Anonymous


 When everyone states that Spam is Evil,
 an opportunity arises to counter this
 absolutist position.

 The prevailing mass-logic is as follows:

 EITHER it is Spam
 OR it is not Spam

 The thinking person will be able to
 differentiate in the above example that
 the definition of 'what is Spam' will be
 the determinant for the EITHER-OR conclusion.

 What is perceived as Spam?

 Superhuman sexual functioning, making lots of
 money fast, beating the credit bureaus and banks,
 online gambling bargains, crash diet programs, and
 `find out anything about anybody' pyramid schemes,
 one and all.

 The exception comes from good intentioned people,
 not looking to make money or cheat or steal, but
 to share ideas. They run websites and try to keep
 their ideas out in the pseudo-public sphere. If
 they are not 'branded', they can only resort to
 reaching the masses through the dreaded, multiple
 e-mail list spamming of their content. It is as
 natural as the survival of the fittest, wherein
 there is no cooperation, but only competition. A
 name added without permission to a mailing list
 or a private mailing of collected e-mail addresses
 operates on the same rogue level as Spam, that is,
 outside of individuals' control over the content
 that reaches their e-mail inbox. But this is not
 traditionally considered Spam, but someday it may
 also fall under 'anti-Spamming' laws, soon to be

 The Question:

 What one considers Spam is central, but what many
 consider Spam is even moreso. Spam is Spam, of course.
 Everyone agrees - IT IS EVIL. This is an answer, an
 ideological one, assuming that there is no such thing
 as a Good Spam. If one can disregard certainty for a
 moment, could it be possible that Spam is a paradox,
 and offers something beyond its negative value?

 The Opportunity:

 The Spamming Network is a marketer's dream. Maybe not
 a legitimate Professional Marketer though, as much as
 as manipulator of desire, emotion, and human stupidity.

 The Spammers Network is a communications infrastructure
 which possesses tens of millions of e-mail addresses of
 people cutting across all demographic boundaries and lines.

 The Spammers Network may be the _most_ public sphere that
 exists on the Internet, as everyone continues getting Spam.
 That is, until it is completely outlawed. And it has not
 yet been so.

 The Idea:

 What if Spam was not about cheating, stealing, or lying
 but about telling the being honest, sharing, and telling
 the truth? What if Spam were used for Good Reasons? What
 if a Spammer sent a Public Service Announcement?

 The Operation- Public Policy Spam 2001:

 The Spammers Network is the only distributed public
 communications infrastructure on the Internet. No other
 Listserv or Mailbase can accomplish what the Spammers
 Network can. So why not put this infrastructure to use
 for the airing of public ideas- that is, human ideas:
 things that affect us all- such as war, global warming,
 energy inefficiency, pollution, poverty, inequality.

 No legitimately sane person would dare become a Spammer
 neither by trade nor association, so the sentiment goes.
 But what if Public Policy Spam could go beyond purely
 economic manipulatin and into opening up `the debate
 that never was' for lack of true public representation
 in society?

 The EITHER-OR logic of the prevailing paradigm of reality
 then comes down to this:

 EITHER one can walk into a private radio or television station,
 or get a well-placed advertisement in a well-read newspaper
 to reach millions of 'the public' which would cost more money
 than anyone has and would probably not make it past editorial
 OR one can go guerrilla and SPAM THE NETWORK WITH PUBLIC IDEAS
 and reach millions of the distributed public without millions
 of dollars of money or internal connections.

 Spam may be the true test of Free Speech, if Public Policy Spam
 2001 is taken up. Please consider this, as any such operation
 will require institutional and legal support.

 A Public Policy Spam could be prepared. All that is needed is
 an autonomous webhost and mirrors, and the spirit of artists
 and thinkers whom can see beyond the EITHER-OR of Spam and
 into its strategic potential to change the course of dis-course.

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