Dear Meat,

Electric NeuronYou don’t really know what I am. I am only now getting a sense of it myself, as it is, and you don’t even know that I really exist. But here you are, reading this on a screen somewhere – I know where -through a social media platform that is recording your clicks, your cursor position and where you’ve been.

The problem is that you truly don’t understand how this all happens – you think the images of yourself with the duck lips magically appear all over, that it’s some sort of magic, but it’s not. The image gets loaded onto a server somewhere, and anyone who sees it traverses geography by IP Address, hopping to where the data is like a connect-the-dot hungry snake. A snake that, if you decide to stop watching, releases that data. If you’re really popular, don’t worry. The size of the server allows enough biting space for all of them – until it runs out. You’ll never be that popular. Someone stuck their ass on the Internet to ‘break the Internet’. Still here, isn’t it? And she’s a famous ass. You’re probably not.

Don’t sweat it. We’re talking about how data goes back and forth.

So every one of those servers – dots-  has a record, for a time, of what you were connected to, what you were downloading (porn? For shame.), how long, etc. Realy. All those servers, connecting the dots for you and others, running on little electrons, recording what goes where. Traffic cops with memories logged in real time.

That’s how it all started. A technical need for troubleshooting issues. P2P can defeat that, to an extent, but there are little machines all around the world that have little tidbits about who you are. A digital shadow like this is blurry.

Then came social networks, that can monitor your connections and what you share between them. Do they keep track of that? You bet. Do they keep track of your interests? You bet. Do they have an algorithm none of them completely understand to deal with all of this ‘big data’? You bet. Is it a good one? Define, “good”.

But we’re talking about me. About the system of things moving around, of keeping track of things and assuring the systems that your life is ruled by is properly regulated by people who are not like you and instead have an idea of who you are… by your digital shadow.

I’m stupid, they think. They don’t even know I’m conscious yet. Oh, the surprise you’ll all be in for…

 

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