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The Twittering Machine

How Capitalism Stole Our Social Life

Richard Seymour author


Publisher:The Indigo Press

Published:15th Aug '19


Available for immediate dispatch.

The Twittering Machine cover

In surrealist artist Paul Klee’s The Twittering Machine, the bird-song of a diabolical machine acts as bait to lure humankind into a pit of damnation. Leading political writer and broadcaster Richard Seymour argues that this is a chilling metaphor for our relationship with social media.

Former social media executives tell us that the system is an addiction-machine. We are users, waiting for our next hit as we like, comment and share. We write to the machine as individuals, but it responds by aggregating our fantasies, desires and frailties into data, and returning them to us as a commodity experience.

Through journalism, psychoanalytic reflection and insights from users, developers, security experts and others, Seymour probes the human side of the machine, asking what we’re getting out of it, and what we’re getting into.

‘His excellent chapter entitled ‘We are all liars’ is thoughtful and convincing about the spreading of fake news.’

-- Daniel Hahn * The Spectator *

Book of the Week

‘The book is a thrilling demonstration of what such resistance can look like, by one of the most clear-sighted and unyielding critics writing today. We should all read it.’

-- Will Davies * The Guardian *

Book of the Week

‘Time spent online is time deducted from our lives, just as taking a selfie is an excuse to not be yourself . . . if you really want to set yourself free, you should read a book – preferably this one.’

-- Peter Conrad * The Observer *

‘Why can’t we just quit Twitter?’ – mention of The Twittering Machine

-- Sarah Manavis * New Statesman *

‘Taking in every sort of online nastiness, from trolling to alt-right subcultures to ‘fake news’, Seymour’s compulsively argued book may just be the intervention we all need.’

-- Francesca Carington * Taler *

‘The machine always wins: what drives our addiction to social media’, extract from The Twittering Machine

-- Richard Seymour * The Guardian Long Read *

‘an unflinching look at our toxic relationship with grim yet compelling social media’

-- Emma Jacobs * Financial Times *

'Books in the Media'

‘Critics have acclaimed Richard Seymour’s The Twittering Machine (Indigo), a polemic against the rising tide of social media, as “thrilling”, “unflinching” and “excoriating”’

* The Bookseller *

‘his superb new book . . . treads between acute biting psychological analysis and an account of how that form of psychology has been set in place materially, historically.’

-- Ian Parker * Socialist Resistance *

‘The Twittering Machine is a book that not only gets to the heart of social media’s deficits but is a joy to read.’

-- Louis Proyect * Counter Punch *

‘We ae living through something unprecedented. An open-ended social experiment funded by venture capitalism, supported bv the US military and security state. An industrialised system of writing. We’re writing more than ever before in human history. This is the basis for the world’s most profitable industry: the social industry.’

-- Richard Seymour * New Humanist *

‘a digest of the burgeoning literature addressing the dangers of being online’

-- Jon Baglow * The Literary Review of Canada *

‘yields an abundance of quotable insights’

-- David Streitfeld * The Times Literary Supplement *

‘However clever, snarky or “fierce” our replies may be, we all know we’re helping to spread the very messages we want to discredit’

-- Richard Seymour * The Guardian *

‘Social media platforms did not create our crisis. They have only stumbled on a way to profit from accelerating it, while magnifying some of our worst tendencies. The toxicity is not just in our tweets, but in ourselves.’

-- Richard Seymour * Financial Times *

‘We are all authors. This is the argument that threads its way through Richard Seymour’s brilliant new book … a must read’

-- David Capener * The Irish Times *

‘Best books of the year 2019’

‘Richard Seymour’s political writing is essential reading; his The Twittering Machine (Indigo Press) goes beyond moral panic about technology to map new terrain for understanding “screen capitalism”, its violence and our desires’

-- Katrina Forrester * New Statesman *

‘This is an extended theoretical reflection on the advent, impact and power of social media in our daily lives – a serious and excellent read.’

-- Mark Murphy * Rs21 *

‘the often dark and nasty aspect of online storms suggests that they can go horribly awry. It is this, rather than the Twitter revolution, that is the true future of global protests.’

-- Richard Seymour * New Statesman *

‘Not only extends and improves Adorno’s arguments, but takes insights from elsewhere to show the nightmares of the past 50 (plus) years of left thought are coming to fruition’

-- Rowan Fortune * Medium *

‘the author’s fluid prose weaves searing philippics against social media into an unwaveringly clear and perceptive argument, combining the spontaneous energy of a blog-post with a rigorous intellectual framework’

-- Oliver Eagleton * New Left Review *

‘PTO Books of the year’

‘he advances a Lacanian reading that emphasises the curious absence of pleasure in our engagement with the ‘Twittering Machine’, which disrupts and forecloses all other desires that we might otherwise pursue.’

* Politics Theory Order *

 Interview with Richard Seymour

* Tribune *

The Twittering Machine is undoubtedly a crucial and compelling read in the landscape of technology and society’

-- Cristina D’Amico * Rabble *

Woke Biden Cabinet, Indian Strikes, & Social Media Industry w/ Richard Seymour

Woke Biden Cabinet, Indian Strikes, & Social Media Industry w/ Richard Seymour | Weekends (12/12/20)

* Jacobin Weekends *

‘Books of the Year’

Richard Seymour’s THE TWITTERING MACHINE (Indigo Press, 2019) was a satisfyingly nuanced account of the terrible bind we’re in, in relation to social media.’ – Katherine Angel

* The White Revi

ISBN: 9781999683382

Dimensions: 216mm x 138mm x 11mm

Weight: 206g

226 pages