David Banks, writing in The Society Pages, talks about the rise of “notorious learning:"
Notorious learning is the conspicuous consumption of information. It requires admitting ignorance of an important fact, so that the act of learning/consuming may be celebrated. It is always emphatic but can range from righteous anger to child-like glee. The individual instances of notorious learning can take many forms: A notorious learner can be grateful that her mind was blown by the semiotic insights of some anonymous Breaking Bad gif set maker or she can give a “signal boost” to an egregiously under-reported story of police brutality. In both instances the notorious learner wants to not just share the information, but share something about the perceived scarcity of the information….
Perhaps, in an attention economy, we not only have to be very selective about what we spend time on but also flaunt just how much information we’re accumulating. If attention is precious and scarce, then aren’t we flaunting a kind of wealth when we show just how many things we paid attention to?
Regardless of whether one buys the econometric metaphors (I’m actually pretty suspicious of their neoliberal implications) I think we can all agree that this thing I’m calling notorious learning is performative.