Claire L. Evans Suggests “Mother Nodes” are the Answer to Platform Capitalism

Drawing on Suzanne Simard’s Finding the Mother Tree, writer Claire L. Evans makes a case for reimagining the web’s central metaphor as a forest. Teasing out the famed Canadian ecologist’s findings gleaned from a life in forestry, Evans uses the symbiotic tendencies of ‘Mother’ trees, mycorrhizal fungi, and birch trees, to map alternate readings of the web. Big Tech has “privileged high-value crops—viral content, controversy, and clickbait—over a healthier ecosystem of people, opinions, and perspectives,” she writes, likening platform capitalism to clear cutting—short term profit at the ecosystem’s expense. While the diagnosis is grim, Evans ends optimistically, calling for “Mother nodes,” resilient sites of nurturing and collective memory.


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