End of Transmission

I have to write this down. Now. I have to do this. Now. Why ? Because I’m experiencing some clarity right now, and it will not last. It might looks like a hasty decision, but it is something I’ve been torturing myself with for months now.

I quit twittering. Or micro bloging. I’m going to close my twitter account (or accounts, you’ll never know) and I’m not transferring it to another micro bloging platform.

There’s some issue I’m having with micro bloging, and the web of notifications as we know it. Most of them are due to the fact that it’s not a form of socialization that gave me enough space to breathe and to get on with my life.

ADD does not help. Depression does not help. Having followers liking your calls to help without investing themselves much does not helps – that’s also something I’ve stopped doing.

Getting my fix of data is the first thing I do in the morning, right after snoozing my phone’s alarm, before getting out of bed. It’s like listening at the radio or watching TV in the morning before breakfast I guess. And it’s OK for a lot of people, and it’s fine. But in the end it kills me.

It’s been almost ten years since I’ve been pushing bits around here. I’ve seen twitter without retweets or faves. Or likes. Or quotes. Or algorithmic filtering. I’ve been in touch with people who radically changed my life, in ways they do not suspect, thanks to this blue bird.

But things changed, and some of the dilemma I had, related to this platform, are less and less dilemmas. And this is were I’m going to throw a bit of politics in the mix. I’ve made a mistake for years, and this mistakes was thinking that the user base can change the platform. It was thinking that platform owner, even hegemonic capitalist monsters such as Alphabet, Amazon, Apple or Microsoft, that platform owner did care about letting minorities exists in the fringe of those platform.

It was thinking that me, being and acting on twitter, was bringing more to communities than being out of twitter. It was mistaking the potential reach for the actual impact i could have on the world.

I’m thinking a lot about hypercapitalism and how social interactions and reputations are more and more slowly becoming a currency. And how the value of this currency is less and less representative of the work done to get there. I could elaborate on this. And I will, but not here, not now. I need to mature this a little bit more.

The short story is that I’ve been entrapping myself in a permanent performative version of me, to which I’m not even sure to subscribe. Or to understand. Most of my feelings and moods are alien to me, I do not understand them, and it’s partly because I’m too much in the now, not enough in the later. Which cannot helps me to get better.

It also puts me under a microscope. And I’m a white male, I cannot relate to the perpetual figth it is to exist online for visible women. Which brings me to the next point. My mistakes was thinking that it is possible to have different culture coexisting close to each other, sometime interfering — for better or for worse — but most of the time minding their own business in the inifinite space of information that the cyberspace is supposed to be.

I really think that we need a diversity of culture, that we need to let our own cultures to evolve and change, to be influenced by others, to develop themselves and crawling out of our lives, making us bigger than our individual selves. That we should nurture them and experiment with them.

But you cannot do that on homogeneous platforms and protocols. You cannot do that in the perfect hypermnesia of the advertising driven surveillance system. You cannot do that using less than ten platform. We cannot because, on those platform, the mainstream culture, the one that is amplified, developed, reinforced and marketed as the only culture that exist, is the one of the entity who have power on the infrastructure.

Which means that the only cultural choices you have is the one that those people are willing to give you. As Audre Lordre once wrote, « The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House. »

You can’t fight racists and homophobic people on a platform which actively support them, and makes money out of them. I used to think that, by being there, I could convince more people to try to take the power back, but the reality was that it was convenient for me. Enjoying my bit of celebrity to compensate cognitive dissonance. Persuading myself that using a platform which actively hurt people I care for, or myself, might be worth it in the long term.

It’s not, I was wrong. I want to get better, to get rid of this ghost of me that’s on my shoulders. I want to take time to write, read and think about the word. I want to go back at being active in a community instead of pretending I care and burning myself tweets after tweets.

So this is it. This is the end of me. It’s not an easy decision, but it’s a long thought one.If you want to get in touch, feel free. You have ways to reach me somewhere, or you’ll figure out. Or you’ll accept that I’m not that important in your life, and it is perfectly fine for me.

So long. And thank you for the tweets.



It’s been almost two years that I’m hanging with the Telecomix crew of amazing people/jellyfish. And I think it’s the first time I’m writing about it. I’ve discussed it a lot recently, mainly because a lot of media here wanna speak with us, also because I heard of, at least, two more long term project about Hacktivists.

Also we have an interesting discussion inside the ‘core‘ team, about the whereabouts of the cluster, along with more and more interesting questions coming from people.

Hence, this post. And, well, since Telecomix is the sum of the people inside it, it is not an insight of a unique mind, but more a part of this hydra of jelly.

Follow the white rabbit

One question I have a lot is how do I ended up in Telecomix. The answer I generally do is that it just happened. I was not looking for entering such a group of people. I do not think any one with a sane mind, would voluntarily enter a group that will eat your time and nights, will put you in front of a lot of unwanted attention (and I’m not speaking about the media here), will raise the expectation that people will have about you and will confront you to tough choices (going to sleep or having people killed).

If you put it that way, no one will accept it. Besides some wannabe heroes maybe. And sociopaths (but heroes are sociopath anyway).

So, I ended up in Telecomix at the same time I decide to enter a hackerspace. I entered in this place, meeting a lot of people. The Telecomix name was already in the media (due to Hosny Moubarak shutting down the intertubes in Egypt) and I was helping with some Streisand already.

I think you do not enter inside Telecomix. It’s not a place mainly because a place would let you leave it, so you cannot neter it. You do not join it for it has no registering system (and anyone telling you there’s one might want to lure you, but that’s not the point, not now). You just evolve into something that is Telecomix. Your mindset change, and evolve into it.

So, you just wake up one day, and it’s like: ‘OMG!!!!!! I’M TELECOMIX NAO!!!!!’. Once the caffeine is getting slow into your organism, and after the morning passed, you just found that all people in there are more or less normal people.

There’s no crypto-anarchists, speaking in tongues, bashing everyone that do not use strong crypto system, and crypto social conventions; there no supra-intelligent AI that tries to take over the world; there’s no pure-hackers that feeds on data and caffeine; there’s no one that want to save the world.

Enter the Matrix

Well, that’s partly true. We do have bots that can be quite schizophrenic and sociopath some time. There’s a lot of different and unique person, from all over the cyberspace. There’s sociologist, computer scientist, slackers, hackers, beer makers, paranoiac and conspiracy theories adept, politic-minded and a-politic ones, and I suspect some aliens to participate in the cluster.

Some might wonder what’s a regular day in a hacktivist group. I don’t know, I can barely speak for mines and, well, a lot of people will be disappointed I guess. Have you seen the movie Hackers? No? You should, it’s fun. But it’s not like that.

I spend a lot of time simply sitting in front of a computer, starring at console-like screens (and yes, I do take pleasure having a computer that no one else besides me can understand or use). I do that for my work, and for my hobbies.

If you can get behind the screens, you’ll see that I’m connected on a lot of chat rooms, not saying that much quantity of things. Even when writing stuff, either for work or, like this piece of text, for my personal use, I’m on a console. Sipping some black coffee, while not noticing that it’s two in the morning, you can spend a lot of time chatting with people, while writing some software, scanning some infrastructure, or just crawling the intertubes. That’s what I do all day. My job requires it, I do enjoy it, and I’m doing it with the Telecomix crew.

This is my daily routine. Waking up too late, spending way to much time on IRC and intertubes, spending not enough time with people around, going to sleep too late. And hanging around in hackerspaces and conferences also, to make things and to exchange knowledge and skills with people in the meat space. Oh, and playing a lot of games (pen and paper RPG, video games, etc), and spending time with the media when they ask for it.

So, you see, I have a kind of regular life. I’m not crawling undercover in highly secured area to steal a computer, I’m not hacking through governement systems just to find your credit card. I’m just trying to find new way to let the data flow, because that’s what matters to me.

Meet the cluster

Asking an agent what is Telecomix will get you in an abyss of perplexity, for none of us have the same definitions. For one, we do asks this questions ourselves quite a lot, and the answer still changes and we have no consensus (but we’re not looking for it).

We agreed on the fact that we’re not an organisation, meaning we have no identified head, agenda, plan or funding. We believe we are a too much centralized acentric cluster. Why too much? Because people rely on us instead of trying to build their things. Or at least, it is the perception I have from the inside.

We can do a lot more of thing if we had 35h a day and/or a way to work for Telecomix as a full-time worker. But then, I think we’re gonna loose a lot of fun. And that’s the important part in Telecomix. The fun. We’re in here to have a lot of good time, doing things we like, things that are important (like decentralize the planet), but you can do that at this rhythm only if you have the opportunity to laugh and having fun.

This is the part where people can feel uncomfortable. We’re not changing the world because we must. Hell, who the fuck are we to think we must change the world? The only one that can do that is you. We’re changing the world because it’s fun. The most amazing things we’ve done, we’ve done it only because we’ve enjoyed doing it.

I do enjoyed working on VPN and darknets issues for Syrians. I haven’t done it because someone had to step-up, this is not my fight and this revolution belong to the Syrians. I’ve done it because I wanted to learn about it, I wanted to tests how communication networks can works under harsh conditions. When the network was attacked by Hosni Mubarak, the cluster just tested if we could work using the old lines, and how to spread it.

We just having fun with weird and unexpected situations, because if we were doing it because we thought we must do it and that no one would step-up, we will burned ourselves.

The hardest lesson

And this is hard to learn. When working with a group of people where there’s always someone connected and discussing interesting issue, while helping people through the world trying to communicate and getting arrested and probably killed for having done so, you’ll go through ugly mental states. Caffeine and stress doesn’t mix well, if you add sleep deprivation you’ll go technical.

The strength of a cluster is redundancy. Working with so different people, working on so different topics (from ham-radio, to darknets, to drones, to ACTA) grants you the possibility to just leave and disconnect.

You won’t feel comfortable, especiallay when there’s live at stakes. But you’ll be up to no good after 36h of wake, filled with caffeine and alcohol and Cameron knows what. You need a life out of the cluster, or you’ll become a bot.

The strength of this small group of hacktivist (we’re 220 connected on #telecomix at the time of writing this) are the differences of its members. We often disagree on a lot of topics, but that’s not a problem, we’re in a doocracy and if I want something to be done, I just need to do it myself. And we have a lot to learn from the ones that are different.

Living with people that shares your ideal, and all your opinion, is boring. We had some crisis, and we’ll have more of them because that’s how a chaotic and unplanned system should grow.


And we have no plan. We have no agenda. We have some back channel that exist mainly for technical purposes. Those purposes includes shouting your rage about someone, hopping that someone will get agree with you, finding that you’re alone and that you’re an asshole and a bastard and then just calm down, find the /ignore command again, and going back to normality mumbling some things about cthulluh returns or equivalent.

The thing is, I perceive Telecomix as an idea. A powerful, always changing one. Or as a virtual bar, where you’ll have free virtual drinks, served by nice-looking waiter, waitress and octopus, all being virtual. But you’ve got the point. Or not. I do not care.

I’m not sure I’ve been anywhere with that, but I think I’ve enjoyed writting it. That makes me wonder if you’ll have fun reading it. Not sure it makes sense.

Let’s git push this for the sake of it.