We're all much too intimately acquainted with spam, which has become a fact of daily life in the digital age. In fact the vast majority of email sent every day is spam. We don't see most of it because our mail services and sysadmins do such a heroic job of filtering it before it hits our inbox.
From the book overview at MIT Press:
This is a book about what spam is, how it works, and what it means. Brunton provides a cultural history that stretches from pranks on early computer networks to the construction of a global criminal infrastructure. The history of spam, Brunton shows us, is a shadow history of the Internet itself, with spam emerging as the mirror image of the online communities it targets. Brunton traces spam through three epochs: the 1970s to 1995, and the early, noncommercial computer networks that became the Internet; 1995 to 2003, with the dot-com boom, the rise of spam’s entrepreneurs, and the first efforts at regulating spam; and 2003 to the present, with the war of algorithms—spam versus anti-spam. Spam shows us how technologies, from email to search engines, are transformed by unintended consequences and adaptations, and how online communities develop and invent governance for themselves.
Hope to see you on July 13th. Happy reading!