Clean culture

There’s a very hard to describe quality to some kinds of digital culture that I think is worth trying to classify. It’s something that emerges from corporate media and corporatized media channels.

It’s like everything takes on a certain flavor, a certain kind of strange off-ness. People act predictably and strangely. It’s the flavor of brands, influencers, “people” on social media, ads, TV shows.

Normal people don’t act or say the sorts of things you hear through these channels. When you encounter someone who does, it’s weird. It’s like you’ve heard it before, but never from a real person. It’s always coming from some shadow of a person online, some fake voice and text that doesn’t quite make sense but is just accepted as digital-normal.

It’s clean culture–culture that lacks the dirtiness of the real and is extensively manufactured and curated–the product of algorithms tuned for specific outcomes. There’s no optimization function to the messy culture of the real world. It’s why seeing someone take on the characteristics of a clean digital culture feels so unnatural.

There’s perhaps no better way to respond to this feeling and add some dirtiness to clean culture than Connor O’Malley videos: