The Twittering Machine

The Twittering Machine

Richard Seymour


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A masterful dissection of our networked era by the acclaimed author of Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics

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. Political writer and broadcaster Richard Seymour argues that this is a chilling metaphor for relationship with social media.

Former social media executives tell us that the system is an addiction-machine. Like drug addicts, 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 interviews with users, developers, security experts and others, Seymour probes the human side of this machine, asking what we’re getting out of it, and what we’re getting into.

'If you really want to set yourself free, you should read a book – preferably this one.' Observer – Book of the Week

'A thrilling demonstration of what [resistance] can look like ... everyone should read it.' Guardian

'Clever, and alarming ... a first tentative vision of what a neo-luddite response to our predicament might look like.' Spectator

'Seymour's compulsively argued book may just be the intervention we all need.'