Back in the early 90’s I used to read William S. Burroughs books
and for a while I was quite taken with his “cut-up” method of writing. The
cut-up technique is a specialised literary form in which a text is cut up at random and
rearranged to create a new text (ref: Wikipedia). I think this was during my Surrealism
phase. Oh, it was nothing extreme – all I did was buy the odd Salvador Dalí poster, read André Breton books and watch
movies with French sub-titles. The usual University psuedo-intellectual postering.

So I thought it would be interesting to take my 10 most-visited posts of 2004 (as
listed in my previous
entry
) and produce some random cut-ups of the text. In a way I’m applying Remix Culture theory to my own
blog… well it’s a start anyway 🙂

In the interests of keeping the cut-ups brief (the top 10 posts yielded 13,300
words!), I decided to restrict them to 100 words or less.

Word’s Auto-Summarize Feature

This is something I’ve
played with before
, inspired by Jason Kottke. Here is the text of
all 10 of my most popular posts of 2004, in 100 words or less according to Microsoft
Word. See if you can spot any trends!

***start***

Most people thought I was nuts. Basically I believe that the Web should be organised
around topics, not people. I’ve read Linked by Albert-Laszlo, I’m convinced. 10 –
Personal Blogger. 100 – Social Blogger. 1000 – Community Blogger. A social publishing
tool perhaps, because I do converse with other people via my weblog.

“Weblog comments incite duels. Synchronicity for Bloggers

Especially as I not only have to convince business people, but IT people too.

People can produce information, subscribe to information they value, edit each others
information. Blogs vs Books?

I do like reading blogs, too. New Generation of Readers

***finish***

Using a Cut-Up Machine

For the next one, I firstly ran the text through the Grazulis Cut-Up
Machine
(via) –
and then used Word’s Auto-Summarize to reduce it down to less than 100 words.

***start***

parties made people see products – they multimedia and very people to multimedia.

it’s people. – kinds tools

Synchronicity Bloggers

pattern – synchronicity. Today Digital Web corps?” Synchronicity for Bloggers

People edit each others information. Information Flow is Knowledge Management.
Literary Types

people I nuts. tools.

read discussing products WebOutliner, Lifestyle Hubbie. people doing – they a blog a
blog. People world as if Web the old old. people, sheep, herding.

post entitled Knowledge Writing Book a number comments. do reading too. for book mind.
like literacy, to as generation readers content consumers books. Blogs vs Books?

***finish***

I think I like the second one better. It’s amazing how you can summarize a whole
year’s worth of weblog posts into 100 words and spot some interesting trends. For
example, I didn’t realise my literary background showed up so much in my blog writing –
but it’s apparent in these two cut-ups.

Anyone know of any other web-based cut-up machines to try? This is fun!

UPDATE: It occured to me that some readers may want to have a go at cutting up my Top 10 posts too – a la Tom Coates’ recent project with his blog posts. So I offer you the entire text of my Top 10 posts of 2004, as a Text File download (75KB). I’m not expecting anybody to bother, but it would be cool to see what others come up with.

richard macmanus

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