[laurenlum.travel.blog] “COVID-19, America, and the Dangers of Being Connected”

In Paul Virilio’s Speed and Politics, he describes the open sea to “compensate for every social, religious and moral constraint, for every political and economic oppression, even for the physical laws due to the earth’s gravity, to continental crampedness” (Virilio 65). In many ways, this relates to how many viewed the Internet at the time of its introduction to people’s home machines. The Internet was supposed to represent a rebirth for information; it would allow people to access any type of knowledge that they wanted, connect individuals from across the country, and serve as a medium to share your ideas and stories. And it certainly has, allowing information to travel at an unprecedented rate and people to connect from all over the world.

This can be compared to the shifting paradigm of the Renaissance. With the advances in transportation and spread of information, the world became more connected during the Renaissance. Just as the Internet represented a rebirth of information, the Renaissance experienced a rebirth of thought that was reflected in art, architecture, innovations, and many other establishments.

But the ‘open sea’, as Virilio describes, does not only free people from oppression and physical barriers; the open sea “became the right to crime, to a violence that was also freed from every constraint” (Virilio 65). The freedom of the open sea did not just serve as a medium for free travel and thought, but an expansion of violence and war. The changes of the Renaissance reflects this as well; along with innovations in medicine, art forms, and transportation, there were innovations in war. Weapons became deadlier, easier to use, and more indiscriminate with who they targeted. 

The expansion of the Internet and the freedom of knowledge is no exception to this behavior, and the way America is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic reflects it. America has fairly liberal laws on Internet usage, and while this has allowed the spread of ideas and knowledge, it has been just as good at spreading disinformation. During this pandemic, many people have been helped by looking at trustworthy websites (such as the Center for Disease Control’s website) to learn more about how to stay safe and how to avoid endangering themselves and others. But many have turned to the Internet to look for what they want to hear; that the disease is fake, that it is a conspiracy, that the virus is ‘not as lethal’ as the CDC warns. This type of information, found in tabloids and conspiracy videos and certain online communities, is just as proliferous as information from reputable sources. This type of misinformation is not without consequence; with armed protests happening in many cities and groups of people refusing to quarantine, these people pose a serious threat to all Americans. In one of his notebooks, da Vinci wrote, “Let no man who is not a mathematician read the elements of my work” (da Vinci 9). As elitist and highbrow as it sounds, it has some truth given our current situation- many times people will read legitimate information, but will not have the proper background to realize its legitimacy or use it in a productive way.

This severe response and militant disbelief serves as a haunting reflection of what the open Internet serves for in democratic countries. Compared to other countries, America’s internet is relatively ‘free’, and government censorship is limited. In response, the media and the Internet has been flooded with misinformation and biased pieces that are passed off as ‘news’. Instead of using technology to get educated, most people use our many sources of information to confirm their long-standing biases. This is a stark contrast to authoritarian-ruled countries like China, where the Internet is heavily censored and technology is used as a government tool to control their population. This heavily controlled Internet is easily able to control massive groups of people by only allowing government-approved ‘truths’. And while this does not fit the idea of the ‘open sea’ as Virilio imagined it, this type of control has worked frighteningly well during the COVID-19 pandemic with many areas of China having quarantine restrictions lifted already.

While the outbreak is far from over, I hope America’s response will put our usage of the Internet in speculation again. This incident, and many incidents before now, have shown that misinformation is extremely dangerous, and that the spread of conspiracies and biased articles have deadly consequences. Only by addressing these problems can we prove that the Internet can be used as a free, open medium to spread thoughts and knowledge instead of being a favorable tool to control the public.


Your depiction of the situation is excellent — but I am more reserved about your conclusions.

You may also be interested to read Elizabeth Eisenstein’s fine history of the printing press. Similar misinformation occurred during the early expansion of this technology.

Misinformation is not extremely dangerous — nuclear weapons are still more dangerous.

Misinformation may not even be the problem at all, but rather illiteracy (cf. your Da Vinci quote). Please note that it took several hundred years for even a modicum of literacy to become widespread (in early US history, literacy was a requirement to vote — but AFAIK that typically meant nothing more than the ability to sign your own name).

Also: the history of copyright law also plays a significant role.

Finally, you may also be interested to read some of my own work regarding “retard media” — a good starting point might be How to define “retard media”.

Keep it up! 😀

[2020-04-29 09:19 UTC]


#copyright, #da-vinci, #information, #information-literacy, #literacy, #media-literacy, #misinformation, #online-literacy, #printing-press, #propaganda, #publishing, #rational-media, #renaissance, #retard-media

[blog.mycaptain.in] “How to get published”

Getting published is like a dream come true for almost every aspiring writer. It is one of the biggest achievements to put under your belt and the joy of getting the good news that your book is about to turn into a reality is simply overwhelming.

But as you may know that getting your book published or getting the title of being a published author isn’t exactly an easy task.

It requires one to constantly keep on knocking on the doors of various publishers in the hopes of one of them agreeing.

Maybe you’ve already done this or maybe you haven’t but one thing is for certain that you crave to know about what it takes to become a published author.

There are two ways to go at it:

  • Self-publish your own book
  • Contact publishers and convince one of them to give your manuscript a shot (traditional way)

In this article, we will go through the tips and recommended steps you can take to get published through the traditional way – getting published through a publisher.

Let’s begin…


Write a book worth publishing

The first step is the most obvious and the most important one – write a manuscript that is worth publishing.

It is easy for you to say that your story is the best and the most perfect story ever written. Say that there’s no better book than yours but you’d be surprised by seeing how many writers think the same way.

Still don’t believe us?

Try convincing a stranger to pay you a small amount for reading your manuscript. You can even play a bet where if he/she doesn’t like it, you return the money.

It is very important to think from the perspective of a publisher. By agreeing to publish your manuscript, they’ll not only be putting their money on the line but also their reputation.

Ask yourself: Would you take that risk if you were in their shoes?

If after answering with complete honesty your answer is positive then go ahead. If not, edit your story more rigorously and make sure that your story structure, plot, as well as characters, are on-point.

Its always better to go back and build a bigger, better boat than sailing into the ocean with a weak one!

Grow your personal brand

You might question the importance of building your own brand before you’ve gotten published. Won’t fame come to you after you are published?

Yes, there’s no doubt that fame does come to the authors that deserve it but as mentioned before, publishers gamble on you and your manuscript.

As a writer who is trying to get published, your job is to take away as much of their risk as possible. One of the best ways to do it is by building your own brand before you approach any publisher.

Already having an audience that will read anything you write will make the publishers become confident in you and accept your manuscript.

There are many writers that have an audience on Instagram which contributed towards them becoming bestsellers with their first book. Arch Hades is one of them and her book “High Tide: Poetry and Postcards quickly became a bestseller

There are various ways to grow your personal brand but here are two of the most popular ones:

  1. Opening an Instagram account and posting literary work like poetries, flash fiction, short stories, and more.
  2. Starting a writing website and posting all your literary work their.


Hire a professional editor

There’s a saying amongst professional authors and editor,

“A writer can never be his/her own editor”

We don’t know to what degree this is true but we do know that hiring a professional editor can really help make your manuscript much stronger.

Simply put, they know what a publisher or an agent is looking for and they can see the mistakes which you can’t.

Your mind as a writer is too invested in your own story. As a result, many of the mistakes become justifiable to you due to the context which only you know.

An editor has an eye for details. They will not only help you eliminate unnecessary parts but also help your story bring out all the intended details.

You can overlook this step if you have the ability to edit rigorously and with an open mind but hiring a professional editor is indeed an advisable step.

You can use platforms like Fiverr and Upwork to find these professionals – these can also help you save a ton of money 😉

Find an agent

Before you jump your guns and come to the conclusion that you don’t want anyone to take a portion of your earnings, hear us out.

Agents aren’t exactly the same money-hungry corporate people that most people typically know them to be. They are an important stepping stone in every author’s journey.

Jk rowling had an agent that helped her publish The Harry Potter series, Chuck Verrill is Stephen King’s long time editor and agent.

If agents were these monstrous personalities than why do the top authors of the world still have them. Technically, they shouldn’t need them anymore.

The fact is that agents help authors, both upcoming and already established ones, in many ways like landing better publishing deals, paperwork, etc.

Finding a literary agent can really help you get published too. Not only will they help you create a better manuscript but also land better deals.

Moreover, many of the renowned publishing houses wouldn’t even give your manuscript a chance if it didn’t come through a literary agent.

So research some agents that are in your genre and just shoot them mails.

Start contacting publishers and expect to wait

The final way of getting published is a no-brainer. Contact publishing houses but also be ready to wait anywhere from 6 months to a year for their reply.

However, there are a few aspects that you need to pay attention to before contacting any publishers. These will improve your chances of getting your manuscript accepted and landing a good deal for it.

  • Understand the types of genres a particular publishing house plays under. Most of them stick to two to three genres at a time. As a result, it allows them to create better marketing plans and strategies. Knowing these genres will help you avoid wasting time on publishers that don’t publish your genre.
  • Read the publishing guidelines and follow them closely. Many writers don’t do this and as a result, they waste a lot of their time and effort. For example, if a publishing house doesn’t accept first-time authors than the chances of your convincing them are very thin.
  • Contact their editors and try to establish a relationship with them first. You can find them through LinkedIn or through personal contacts. Once you do, you can directly ask them to give your manuscript a read. Convincing an individual is much easier than convincing an entire team.
  • Write a really good cover letter and attach it along with your manuscript or the synopsis of your manuscript. Having a good cover letter can truly improve your chances of getting published.
  • Read the books published by the publishing house. This will help you understand the type of language the publishing house prefers. Some publishing houses even give a sample story on their website. Go through it and see whether they’re a good fit for your manuscript.
  1. Install WordPress 2. Write a bunch of stuff 3. Press publish

no comment link available

[2020-04-20 15:45 UTC]

#99designs, #amazon, #fiverr, #get-publish, #instagram, #linkedin, #publish, #published, #publisher, #publishers, #publishing, #upwork, #wikihow, #wordpress