Books for changing the world

The Twittering Machine: Richard Seymour and Wendy Liu in Conversation

Authors Richard Seymour and Wendy Liu discuss how our social-media generated addiction to writing is ruining our lives, and what we can do to escape its vicious cycles.

What is the Twittering Machine? An addiction-machine organized around the first ever mass, open-air, collective writing experiment. A microcelebrity-farm, where the only incentive to be there is to cultivate, and destroy, a personal idol. A furnace of meaning, wherein the mass of information stands in inverse proportion to truth. A volatile combination of the stock market, 24 hour news and Neighborhood Watch. This is the social industry. It thrives as it occupies every corner of our lives with compulsive, wage-free writing. It programs our social lives by algorithm and code, subordinating us to mercurial hierarchies of status and visibility, and to the grammar of capitalism.

With each new tweetstorm, it brings us ever closer to the edge. Faced with such a novel, unprecedented power, we are entitled to ask the minimum utopian question: what else could we be doing, if not this?



Richard Seymour is a writer and editor based in London. He is the author of The Twittering Machine and is a founding editor of Salvage.

Wendy Liu is a tech commentator, software engineer and former startup founder who left the tech industry to pursue a masters degree in inequality from the London School of Economics. She is the author of Abolish Silicon Valley (Repeater Books) and has written for Logic Magazine, Tribune, and New Internationalist. Her articles on tech worker union organizing have been featured in The Atlantic and CNBC.


This event is co-sponsored by Haymarket Books and Verso Books.