Unrelated Thoughts

Poems that are not in The End of the Word as We Know It, by Wes Unruh

Tag Archives: searching

Sculpting Identity from Activity

“We get what we promote”

– Seth Godin

In the last few days I’ve been thinking about how I ended up doing what I do… it started when I sat down at the computer in 98, determined to see if I could find anything out about my birth.

As time progressed, I learned how to search, I studied everything I could get my hands on about the politics of adoption circa 1960-1980, and started wondering if I would be able to scrape together the cash for a DNA test.

Sometime in 1999, I discovered +Fravia and learned how powerful search engines were, and how massive the net truly was…

Sometime in 2000, I’d learned how to navigate all of the primary social networks devoted to the topics in which I was most interested. Over the next three years I tried a number of different approaches, online and offline, to find and dig up information on where I’d come from, as well as utilized search engines and html gimmickery to attempt cultural hacking – using the medium of the search engine as my media – playing with keyword density in what looked to others as poetry – or perhaps I developed poetry with the underlying intention of writing for placement, rather than readers.

In seeking my own biological center, I was also experimenting with constructing an identity online – the interplay of individual identity and interpellation from dubious documents from my private adoption, along with the natural residual effect of cultural attitudes surrounding adoptees engaged in search, and you can see how emotional needs drove my relentless need to know, to find out, and to figure out how to use the tools at my disposal.

In 2004, everything changed. I found out who my birth mother actually was, thanks to the networking online I’d been doing for six years. My focus shifted from searching, to processing, trying to externalize the noise that welled up inside me after years of conflicting cognitive states, emotions, and changes that had arisen from so much focus on puzzling out my own historicity. I’m not finished, I have more even now I am seeking to discover, but just finding out half of the narrative was enough to trigger the period of intensely creative outgrowth that generated the Unquiet Mind projects and Philip K Nixon.

That’s how I learned to use search engines. Over the last few years I’ve become more studious in the effective and profitable ways to do online social optimization through search engine marketing, list-building, and social media distribution. The reality though is that I still prefer to apply my knowledge to issues surrounding searchers, individuals using social media to promote themselves, artists and musicians and writers – the creative social network offline and on that I have come to cherish from the years I’ve been a part of the online community.

Read more of this post

%d bloggers like this: