Fang Talks

A post a day keeps the doctor away!
10 08 18

Snail mail

Redundancy was so important for superlong-distance scale communications that it could only fit a single sentence per day.

“interplanetary friendships”

Create a social network. User identities are created through proof of work. Messages are permanent, restricted in length, and posting is rate-limited per identity.

All of this is to prevent making the gimmick too easy to use. But you don’t tell anyone yet.

Get a bunch of people on, stir up discussion, encourage shitposts. Do what you must to generate a good amount of organic content. If you can get multi-lingual users on, even better. Let this continue on for a while. At an arbitrary point in time, maybe after a milestone amount of messages, flip the switch.

All initial restrictions on identity, message length and volume are lifted. But users can no longer free-form compose messages. Instead, every word (or sequence of words) must be a pointer to a word (or sequence) in an existing message. Pointing to pointers is fair game, for convenience’s sake. Vocabulary on the network is now set in stone, forever unchanging. How will this transform the use of language? What kind of content will people create?

“the meta-network”

‘I could swear I had one around here somewhere, give me a minute.’ He digs through a pile of flip-phones. Actual digging, with a shovel. Its edges are rubberized, but the way he’s using it, that probably doesn’t matter much. He briefly stops to look around, as if the one he’s looking for will just reveal itself.

At the time, nobody knew what they were thinking. Big-name brands were coming out with old-school flip-phones long after the world had moved on to smarter devices. Made boatloads of them, shipped truckloads to all retailers they knew. Retailers, of course, wouldn’t dare touch the things. No way they were going to sell. Most tried shipping them back, but the boxes always ended up back at their doorstep.

The buzz this generated was enough for the phones to gain a small cult following. As minimal as their hardware was, being able to get full-featured GSM devices for spare change was great for the DIY community. Intrepid workers as they are, it wasn’t long before they discovered something special about the seemingly disposable things.

There’s a couple fuses placed rather prominently on their circuit boards. Shorting any of them makes the phone unable to communicate with cell towers. More interestingly, shorting just the right ones enables the phone to communicate with other, similarly modified phones directly. Not just texts, calls too. Over relatively long range, even without direct line of sight. In this mode, they eat through their tiny battery almost instantly, but that’s a small and easily fixable price to pay.

‘Ah, there it is!’ He takes a phone from the pile. ‘These white ones are pretty rare, aren’t they?’
What’s more, not all models are compatible with each other. Certain cliques want to stay exclusive, so they use a compatibility group that’s hard to come by.
‘What’s a whiz-kid like you want with an old piece of junk like this, anyway?’
‘Just a little hardware project with friends.’ I smiled. ‘You might hear about us on the news if we do well!’

“device-dependent access”

Swatting was comparatively innocent. But those were simpler times. Abusing the official defense systems just for laughs. The parties involved would eventually see it for what it was and let the whole thing go.

But that wasn’t the case for less formal kinds of defense systems. No, social mobs were relentless. They were like crocodiles, keeping up the beating until their prey perished. It was a scary thing, even then, to see up-and-coming greats make one small misstep and get jumped on, ended without further question.

The government caught on, and was eager to use the mob mentality to their advantage. As long as they followed the aim of the people — which of course they could guide — they could do with the victims as they pleased.

Nowadays, people don’t often speak to those outside of their cliques anymore. And even there, not too much is said about politics. If you anger the wrong person, they may target you. And as anonymous as you think you might be, it’s only a matter of time for the mob, and “the Mob”, to find you out.

“witch-hunts as a service”

She was the first to put the medium to good use. It earned her a horde of followers, all horny on their mains. No longer were they just there for the idea of her, for the words she wrote and the pictures she posted. Now they were there for the texture of her skin, the smell of her hair, the feelings she felt. Not to consume her brand, but to experience it.

Over time, she would change her avatar to feel calmer than all others. To softly whisper, give a sense of comfort. At their most vulnerable, her followers would be suggested to do the same. They would rid themselves of the harsh aesthetics that plagued the senses. Amidst endless heaps of garbage she would maintain a rose garden, providing shelter from the storm.

“synesthetic identities”