Support Soul Tread: a new Aussie publication

Here are three great reasons to support Soul Tread, a new Aussie mag currently crowd sourcing funding via Kickstarter (and one not so great one).

  1. Electronic media is bad for our brains.
  2. Electronic media might actually be bad for our spirituality.
  3. Curated content from a broad range of Christian voices put together in a beautiful designed, typeset, and printed magazine is a good thing and an antidote to some of these effects.
  4. People keep saying I need an editor; I’ll be contributing to this magazine, and will be edited.

On points 1 and 2 (because point 4 means you aren’t going to click those links), there’s a mounting body of good evidence out there that consumption of content via social media platforms that are shaped by algorithms and more sinister ‘surveillance capitalism’ motivations is bad for our brains; that we become addicted to dopamine hits from social media use, but also more narcissistic as we engage the world through a filter that makes ‘me’ hyper-important, and my pre-existing interests hyper-present, and invites me to perform ‘virtue’ according to a particular tribe, presenting myself as a certain sort of ‘digital image’ or ‘digital icon’.

There’s a good case to be made that the ‘media ecology’ of the internet and the black glass screen is distorting our experience of the world and reshaping our hopes and dreams. Elon Musk is one of my favourite whipping boys here because he already thinks we’re living in a computer program, and, if we’re not, he seems to be determined to take us there. The digital eschatology of the modern ‘technocracy’ is a scary thing for the shaping of our understanding of what a good human life looks like, and what a good future for humanity looks like, and that should be disrupted. One way to disrupt this is changing our media practices; and the types of physical things we bring into our physical environment that we then interact with. A printed magazine is an act of subversion.

Support this initiative. It’s a really great project, and Rachael, the editor has a vision worth engaging with, and has put together a team of people from around the country who I’m excited to engage with. You can support it, and secure both a copy of the magazine, and some great ‘swag’ (that’s what us (older, at least) millenials call this sort of thing) on the Kickstarter campaign page, but also follow along on Facebook (which is ironic, given points 1 and 2).

Web 3.0: Why cloudsourcing is cool

Let me tell you what the latest cool thing I like to watch on the Internet is (you’re forgiven for thinking all I do is watch YouTube videos and look for dumb stuff). Crowdsourcing. Or, Cloudsourcing. The basic idea, for those who came in late, is that you have a good idea, you need funds, so you throw it out there and see if the internet will help. It works for everything from charity to book publishing, from inventing new products, to new science projects.

And it’s cool. It takes the power of social networking, and the nature of the internet, and actually applies it to something.

Here are some crowdsourcing sites that I’ve found. I’m sure there are others out there. – Kiva is a microfinancing site where you can provide loans to needy entrepeneurs from around the globe. I love it. I’ve funded a few coffee farmers. You can start groups and stuff – and the Christians and Atheists are battling it out for generosity supremacy.

Santos here is a coffee farmer. He’s trying to raise $350. – Kickstarter is a hub for funding inventors, artists, and people who are creating new products that don’t fall into those categories. Funding a project normally buys you some share in its success (ie a version of whatever it is you’re funding). Here’s an example – a project called Etchpop – which will buy a company a laser cutter to make wooden block type stamps for people. $25 will get you a wooden stamp if they get funding. – RocketHub is just like Kickstarter, only its currently running a campaign to fund science projects. This Sea Turtle conservation project looks pretty cool. – Loudsauce is perhaps my favourite. If you’re into a cause you can chip in to having advertisements produced and aired. All their campaigns are currently funded – but it’s worth keeping an eye on.

This FairTrade soccer balls campaign looked fun. – Unbound is a book publisher. But not just any sort of book publisher – a classy one… at the moment you can support one of my favourite blogs, Letters of Note, as they head towards publishing a book. – Fiverr is a bit different, and I’ve linked to it before, but it is so much fun. And so cheap. You can get Mario to make you a video for $5 (here’s my version). Bargain.

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