söndag 7 juni 2015

Results and conclusion

This blog-post concludes the experiment

Tuesday 2/6 21:30:
Clothes for Monday. Twitter loves clothes and seems to consistently prefer skirts - more elegant than girly. Voting participation reaches an all time high. (about 60 people voted)
I feel relieved to not have to choose my clothes. By choosing clothes is also a manner of choosing which aspects of the personality to display, so it is not as trivial as one might think.

Twitter also decides to not send me out running for the fourth day in a row (8 against 4). Apparently there is a limit to how much you think I should be training. I was a bit worried there for a while.

On the 3 of June, I have an errand to a nearby city. I spontaneously decide to spend the early evening there browsing shops. There was not much point in asking twitter (I was already there). Interestingly I felt guilty. I have at this point internalized an expectation of democratic rule and done it to a duty.

Wednesday 3/6 20:20:
I ask twitter if I should go out to a bar in a nearby city and see a friend or stay at home. I have really no idea what I want. Twitter tells me to stay at home with 13 votes over 8, and I feel a huge relief over not having to decide. I also can blame twitter when I tell my disappointed friend. (Also a relief).

The side-effect of handing over a decision to some other entity is that you never have to doubt if you did the right choice. So many times is our joy of our current situation tainted with the suspicion that it could have been better if we had chosen otherwise. I have a good discussion with one of my followers about how we are ruining the here and now by second-guessing our preferences. In this experiment, regret is not possible anymore. The extent of the relief this absence of self-doubt brought me is surprisingly large.
My conclusion is that unless you can fully accept and embrace your choices, they will not be good, no matter how good your alternatives are. All kind of choices require a degree of submission, and conversely, submission is just the act of removal of doubt.

We also had an interesting question about if the choices build the individual or if choices are just a display of our personalities. For grown-ups I tend to lean towards the latter. The liberal I spoke with rather empathised that our choices continuously build who we are. From that perspective, the experiment that I am doing becomes much more controversial.

Wednesday 3/2 23:00:
A question associated to the use of a drug (a non-addictive, non-neurotoxic drug of which I am not a current user). This was by far the most problematic question during the whole week. Particularly people in law-occupations were very provoked by this question. I had to answer to if this was meant as a pure provocation. Well, the whole experiment is bound to provoke people in one way or another. Though I knew this would be an absolute no-go, I chose to ask anyway, because I was curious about participation and because I honestly considered it. There was a surprising support for the drug (9 votes, 20 votes against)

Thursday 4/2 14:00:
Twitter sends me back out actively dating with 9 votes for and 1 vote against. I remark on that it is very Swedish to combine this very permissive attitude to sex with a restrictive attitude to drugs. We also conclude that this permissiveness for promiscuity is strictly limited to situations out of a relationship and that the strong norms of the monogamous relationship over-rules all of the sexual freedom women otherwise may have.

The remainder of the experiment is not very interested. Twitter sends me out to meet someone in town wearing some skin-tight and violet dress (neither would have happened unless for Twitter), and Twitter told me to work rather than exercise excessively.

A final interesting conclusion of the experiment was how much the voting participants have revealed about themselves in the process. This has been a two way process. I have not done the analysis of individual voting-behaviour, and I will not, but the memories of who voted for what are hard to erase. What is easy to erase is the tweets from the votings this week and that is what I will be doing now.

This experiment has been incredibly productive. The experimental approach has exposed new angles on choice, democracy, power, privacy and submission I don’t think I would ever have seen otherwise.
My conclusion is that I would rather have other people chose between good alternatives than myself be responsible for making choices between bad alternatives. And I like my followers.

tisdag 2 juni 2015

Preliminary results 2

Update in the voting procedure in the experiment

Sunday the 31/5 evening:
Clothes question. Business, causal or dressed up for Monday at work. The more fancy dressed alternative wins with 18 votes over the causal (14), while the business version only gets 5 votes. There is a clear gender bias in the votes – men prefer elegant, feminine clothes (dresses?). I think I need to make a gender analysis later on.

Sunday the 31/5 evening:
Exercise question: Twitter sends me out exercising again Monday morning with 9 votes against 8. (Saturday evening, Sunday morning and Monday morning)

Monday morning 1/6, 09:25 and evening around 17:00:
Weight question. It is time to step this up and give some twitter some real influence. I ask how much weight I should lose.  The turnout is worse than ever before (4, 3, 4 votes for the highest, middle and lowest option). Also, I get several protests. About weight as a measure, about the purpose of losing weight, about the possibility to lose weight. People are not happy and some refuse to answer. Instead of doing a second round straight away, I decided to wait until the evening when more people are online and redo the whole hour.
Now I carefully point out that weightloss is unproblematic for me and that the reason is purely aesthetic.  It doesn’t make people more comfortable. The vote ends with (6, 9, 6 votes for the highest, middle and lowest option). Again there seems to be a gender difference where men prefer the lower weight.
Just how controversial and difficult people think it is to tell a woman what she should weigh became obvious at the next question.

Monday evening 1/6:
Dating question. An overwhelming majority (26 votes) vote for a more free course of action as compared to a more conservative behaviour (8 votes).  It is apparently much less taboo to have public opinions of people’s sex-life than about their weight!

Monday evening 1/6:
Clothes question.  How I dress is apparently something twitter really likes to vote on. This time they went for one of the two causal options (17 votes) while the other casual got 12 votes and the dress got 14 votes.

On Monday I started to feel really self-conscious and uncomfortable. More so about the dating-question than about the weight-question, but the controversy and the low participation in the weight-matter was making me uncertain. I decided to not give any details about my private life other than those absolutely necessary for making the next vote. While this might be a narcissistic project, it certainly doesn’t have to be an exhibitionistic one.

I have also had a lot of thoughts about the power of agenda-holder in democracy. I am determining the questions and the alternative and I feel that I have the power over my life. In order for democracy to be effective, it needs to influence both the questions and the alternative given.  Unless this is taken into account, different forms of direct democracy are doomed to be toothless.