Where Did Spam Come From? And What Does It Mean?

A few weeks ago I made a plea for better written spam, because if we can’t get rid of spam and consign its manufacturers to the Phantom Zone (oh, how I dearly wish we could), we could at least ask that it be a less ugly time waster.

So far, my plea has gone unheeded. (Big surprise.)

But if we think that all spam does is waste our time and disappoint us when we get comment notices, we’re wrong. So says Finn Brunton, author of the new book, Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet.

From Inside Higher Ed’s review:

For Brunton, an assistant professor of information at the University of Michigan, spam must be understood as a historical phenomenon – an especially dynamic nuisance, mutating almost as fast as anyone can figure out how to block it, transforming the digital environment by constantly flooding it. In a compact formulation that becomes richer as the book advances, Brunton defines spamming as the process “of leveraging information technology to exploit existing gatherings of attention.” Its history “is the negative shape of the history of people gathering on computer networks… It is defined in opposition to the equally shifting and vague value of ‘community.’ ”

Read more of Scott Mclemee’s Review: http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2013/06/26/review-finn-brunton-spam-shadow-history-internet#ixzz2Xjb2Lwe6
Inside Higher Ed

I can’t wait to read the book.

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