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Thread: The state of internet discourse

  1. #1

    Default The state of internet discourse

    Greetings,

    Something I've been thinking about off and on over the last few months is just how much has changed with respect to communication on the internet (or communication in general?). Every so often I'll find gems like this forum among the cesspool of politics/memes/porn/narcissism/for-likes content/etc that has seemingly found its way into nearly every other corner of the internet. That's not to say that this place is perfect, but one doesn't need to dig around long in threads to find some truly high-quality conversation about fashion and on plenty of tangential but very interesting topics.

    It's plenty obvious to probably anyone posting here that social media decimated the internet forum - everyone moved to centralized platforms that combined ease of access with feature-rich environments that had the added benefit of having all their friends and family in one big ecosystem. It's probably worth factoring in other major events like the iPhone 2 in 2011, the rise of mobile apps and the resulting very low barrier of entry. I suppose I can also assume that many of the folks who used forums heavily in the past are older now and are caught up in everything that goes along with that.

    So what's left besides a few older forums like this one that have dropped in activity over the years? I get the impression that there's almost no interest in real conversation anymore, just people looking to push their agendas and/or looking to gain followers/likes/internet points through photos and bite-sized regurgitation of whatever is the flavor of the month. Is there really no interest for something more than that especially with younger folks, I wonder?

    I deleted FB in 2012 and never got on board with any of the other big names (Twitter/IG/etc) so it's probable that I'm just disconnected and completely unaware of where the good stuff is today. It's also a possibility that I'm skewed by rose-tinted glasses and that, really, it's always been shit.

    I ramble. But I'm interested to hear the thoughts of others on this.

  2. #2
    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    Most kids today don't give a shit about fashion's creative side. Sorry, but that's the truth. Some still do, but they are few and far between. But I also think that maybe it's the same amount of kids that do care, that it's just we have a much higher ratio of shitheads because dressing up has become wildly popular for men over the last decade. Even the people who caters to that audience are sick of them on some level. That's why Highsnobiety has asked me to write for them. And I like writing for them because I do want to speak to the youth - they are still the most excited and the most interested. And I also remember all the mistakes I've made when it comes to taste (whether in clothes or music), so I try not to judge harshly.

    I've always wanted StyleZeitgeist, whether in the form of a forum or the magazine, to cut through the noise, and that's why our audience is so hardcore. And we have the deepest respect for our readers, so we'll never feed them bullshit, did I say bullshit? I meant "content." You know. Since I am also a consumer of information, for me it's all about editing down. And that's how we see our readers - intelligent friends that we want to share information with about things we like.
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Faust View Post
    Most kids today don't give a shit about fashion's creative side. Sorry, but that's the truth. Some still do, but they are few and far between. But I also think that maybe it's the same amount of kids that do care, that it's just we have a much higher ratio of shitheads because dressing up has become wildly popular for men over the last decade. Even the people who caters to that audience are sick of them on some level. That's why Highsnobiety has asked me to write for them. And I like writing for them because I do want to speak to the youth - they are still the most excited and the most interested. And I also remember all the mistakes I've made when it comes to taste (whether in clothes or music), so I try not to judge harshly.

    I've always wanted StyleZeitgeist, whether in the form of a forum or the magazine, to cut through the noise, and that's why our audience is so hardcore. And we have the deepest respect for our readers, so we'll never feed them bullshit, did I say bullshit? I meant "content." You know. Since I am also a consumer of information, for me it's all about editing down. And that's how we see our readers - intelligent friends that we want to share information with about things we like.

    Those kids just need to compare one of Boris Bidjan Saberi handmade leather jackets with the MASS production of the holy king of A$$%@ H%%$#@*s Philipp Plein skull leather jackets to understand your words Eugene

  4. #4
    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    It's hard to fault them, as the chips of pop culture are stacked against them. But there will always be those who will be driven to seek something more worthwhile.
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Faust View Post
    It's hard to fault them, as the chips of pop culture are stacked against them. But there will always be those who will be driven to seek something more worthwhile.

    really i hope

  6. #6

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    "I get the impression that there's almost no interest in real conversation anymore" I think that it really depends on the community and media that you are looking at. There are podcasts with millions of listeners, hosting long form conversations about subjects that on the surface, would seem boring to the average person but somehow attract millions of visitors. So the audience is there the question is whether the audience you approach is willing to have the conversation you want to have.

    Also, communication definitely changed (look at some of the comments on Faust's articles on different outlets) there is almost no place for a different opinion, not to mention critisizm which nearly doesn't exist and if it does, you're only allowed to criticise certain people. If you criticise the wrong person or express an opinion that doesn't go hand in hand with what is "accepted" today, your character is likely to be attacked (often with false allegations) rather than having a conversation with different opinions. This is of course depending on the industry and audience.

    I agree that there is this massive onslaught of promotion almost in every online article/post/video but I think that most people today know how to cut through the bullshit when needed, the issue is that most of them don't care they just play along with it, buy what is promoted, flash it and get on with it. People want likes and followers because they don't have much to offer, the sad part is that people who do offer something (real talented musicians, painters, artists of sorts) are having a very hard time to push quality out there. But that's a different topic...
    I love beautiful melodies, telling me terrible things.
    My Music: https://soundcloud.com/iamanton

  7. #7

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    I would second your statement and say that this blog is def a breath of fresh air. I have been on fashion forums like ISS, yeezy talk, and hype beast forums in 2003 before all of the hype. I miss those days. I do, however, feel like there are certain companies that are attempting to revolutionize the fashion industry. I really love what Cactus Flea Market and ROA are doing on the product side. As far as retail sites there is a company I recently used call The Mercer Club that is all about sustainability and I love it. Have you guys heard of them?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by secretmyth View Post
    So what's left besides a few older forums like this one that have dropped in activity over the years?
    Instagram and chatrooms. But the problem is that they don't provide long-form discussion that really simulates a conversation. Of course a forum isn't exactly a real-life conversation, it's still a different medium, but it allows for a great deal of nuanced and thought-out comments. Chatrooms are similar, but typing in real-time is still too rushed and lacking in nuance in my opinion, and I'm not sure how common real-time verbal discussion in chatrooms is. Instagram just expresses an opinion through likes on algorithmic content, accomplishing no discussion. So I think the interest in discussion in fashion still exists, but is drowned out by the growing popularity of clothing/fashion on a superficial, visual level. Like Faust said, I can concur that most kids don't care about the creative aspect, but it doesn't mean that they don't exist. They/we (I am one) are just a much, much smaller percentage since fashion is now for the masses.

    But Anton raises a good point. It's also about to whom forum discussions appeal to. Long-form forum discussion is difficult, the barrier of entry is quite high and even intimidating depending on how niche the topic is. In some cases, it is arguably more difficult to get into than verbal discussion, as words and phrases must be precise and it's easier to cut through waffle when one can read comments over and over. Not to justify it, but Instagram is dominant precisely because this barrier of entry is absolutely nothing and you can get started by following and liking content that is given to you. There is interest in discussion, but I think the reason forums aren't popular is beyond just convenience, it's a product of the whole world being more connected. I personally get the feeling myself that I have to 'sell' myself and express my taste on social media and let it be known, not to show off, but to ensure people know who I am and how I am different. It almost feels like an injunction. Everyone else I know 'sells' their personalities on social media, so am I not at a disadvantage if I do nothing and have to express myself through real discussion? I am straying a bit from the topic, but that's my perspective on why forum discussion is not getting new blood, and why 'discussion' is moving towards social media 'expression'.

  9. #9
    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    Also, Instagram is image-driven and so for a global audience it's easier. More people speak better English than ever before, but they may still it's not good enough to express a nuanced opinion, even if they have no problem reading one. So on here the ratio of readers to posters has always been 10:1 at least. For example, we have a big following in Russia, but it's not easy for many of them to get onto the forum and start firing away.
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

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  10. #10
    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cadre View Post
    It is scary to me the thought of attaching my name and personal doings into a social media account, with every comment and post easily archivable, yet millions of the youth are and will be societally inclined into this setting without knowing or caring about the implications. Undeveloped children are being wiretapped by friends and strangers alike, on their own accord, making it ever so easy to immortalize past mishaps or have information doxxed. Enforced restriction to social media accounts to persons under 18 years of age would certainly have privacy and safety benefits, needless to say that would be unfeasible.

    It seems like when there is a critical mass of that stuff, the rest will just give up. If every law student has pictures of them drunk out of their mind on spring break out there, law firms will have to hire them anyway or run out of lawyers.
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

    StyleZeitgeist Magazine

  11. #11

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    I kept my social media for one and only one reason. That is to join raffles and giveaways. That's it. I just use them to like or follow people that the raffle or giveaway wants me to like or follow. I have already won one at a toto site and I think that is the only legit reason to keep your social media. Anything else would be just toxic to your mental wellness and would just stress you out all day. There are so many toxic posts that I don't even bother any more to login or just browse.

  12. #12
    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    I've just been using the block and unfriend button early and often. Seems to work, more or less.
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

    StyleZeitgeist Magazine

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Faust View Post
    I've just been using the block and unfriend button early and often. Seems to work, more or less.
    I use unfollow all the time but maybe I'm too kind.

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  15. #15
    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deleuze View Post
    I miss this forum.

    You aren't the only one. Well, if all of us who miss the glory days come back and contribute... Man is the measure of all things. I like that I'm hearing from some young'uns that they are sick of IG and other social media and wondering why there is no return to the glory days of forum culture.
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

    StyleZeitgeist Magazine

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Faust View Post
    You aren't the only one. Well, if all of us who miss the glory days come back and contribute... Man is the measure of all things. I like that I'm hearing from some young'uns that they are sick of IG and other social media and wondering why there is no return to the glory days of forum culture.
    Agree x 2.
    Please, young guys, leave that "there is no return to the glory days" to us old guys...
    Also, I regret not contributing more, but my english-flow is not good enough to express my thoughts...

  17. #17

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    When I think of forum culture I think of a community and a movement of sorts. Today young people in art and fashion schools are doing their own things without being part of something larger. There's positives and negatives to that, but I think it also reflects how youth are communicating today through Instagram - very individual, and through an addictive, algorithmic format made to push ads, not creativity. Our most united state is when the shitstain that is Diet Prada calls someone out.

    I think all the time about how to improve this "state of internet discourse". Would young people truly be interested in a forum-like format? I doubt it, but I can never know unless I try. I recently read some young people online call Eugene and SZ gatekeepers - fuck that. I see this place as people who take their interests seriously and care, and it was the same way at previous forums I was in. I won't go as far as saying young people don't care about things anymore, but it's clear that overall attitudes have shifted somehow.

  18. #18

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    Today young people in art and fashion schools are doing their own things without being part of something larger.

    I had been thinking about this recently-- To me it seems that the possibility of a "movement" is nulled out by how global/expensive these institutions have become.

    To me it seems that discourse is really limited by the infrastructure-- With modern applications (reddit, discord etc) contributing to conversations needing less attention span and depth. And forums (from friends I have talked to, seeming like ancient unsurmountable pyramids) from internet 1.0. Maybe contributing further to this is the lack of the communal feeling enjoyed by you first Gen Users 10 odd years ago, and an "easy tool" to get caught up to date. Perhaps on accident the medium encouraged a generational divide.

    At one point in my undergraduate career I considered pursuing a PHD in "Digital Archeology"-- This place had been so meaningful in forming my own identity, and I don't think we currently have the tools to summate the knowledge, community, etc of SZ. I thought one day curious people would stumble onto this forum the same way that Archeologists come across ancient ruins...

  19. #19
    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monologue View Post
    When I think of forum culture I think of a community and a movement of sorts. Today young people in art and fashion schools are doing their own things without being part of something larger. There's positives and negatives to that, but I think it also reflects how youth are communicating today through Instagram - very individual, and through an addictive, algorithmic format made to push ads, not creativity. Our most united state is when the shitstain that is Diet Prada calls someone out.

    I think all the time about how to improve this "state of internet discourse". Would young people truly be interested in a forum-like format? I doubt it, but I can never know unless I try. I recently read some young people online call Eugene and SZ gatekeepers - fuck that. I see this place as people who take their interests seriously and care, and it was the same way at previous forums I was in. I won't go as far as saying young people don't care about things anymore, but it's clear that overall attitudes have shifted somehow.

    I'm about to drop something so major that a lot of people are going to hate me even more... for putting the mirror in front of them...
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

    StyleZeitgeist Magazine

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Faust View Post
    I'm about to drop something so major that a lot of people are going to hate me even more... for putting the mirror in front of them...
    Well now you've gone and gotten us all excited. Do you have an eta?

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