The Eternal Debate

3 thoughts on “The Eternal Debate”

  1. “You’ve got two options when you find out you’re under surveillance. One is hide, and the other is perform. We pick perform.”

    This generally serves as my appraisal of activity on Facebook. And yet, I wonder just how conscious people are of their performative inclinations. Sure, if they post the most attractive selfie or announce a positive life-changing event, then it’s probably safe to assume that a certain amount of someone’s internal PR department is working on overdrive to get the greatest amount of media coverage possible. But what of your Facebook user reposting articles or merely liking a friend’s comment? For that matter, what of the individual (such as myself) given to just scrolling for a few minutes before leaving Facebook? In other words, the range of engagement and participation on social networks fascinates me more than almost anything else. If Facebook is ultimately a performance space, then I can’t help but also imagining the full crew (i.e., users and followers) attending to the set design, rigging, lighting, and prop placement helping to bring the entire production to life. In other words, network platforms like Facebook seem to operate as a locus for not just social life, but weaving together all aspects of what sustains a community (while also being exploited by corporate advertisers). It is if the performance stage is necessary–indeed, why is Facebook ultimately so popular? Do we long for, even need, opportunities to project what amounts a fictive and idealized self under the guise of striving for a greater connection with others? And, also, do we need to sustain such platforms, such stages–whether we’re the stars or not–in order to feel like we’re part of a coherent community and society?

    1. I think we do I’m afraid. As people are born and raised in the era of digital ubiquity the low cost option is usually a favored pick. Low in emotional cost, through reduced emotional investment afforded by mediated layers. There is less at stake here when reaching out. The many pauses enabled that allow for the improvement of the intellectual and embodied self before the mouth or eye is finally opened is of high value. The improvement of the self’s related relationships is valued here too.

      This is driven by the pursuit of ephemeral touch at faster speeds to remind others you are there, and still cool. Still relevant. We have become comfortable in the soft, cozy, warmth of the downy comforter that is the digital media connection. Not many enjoy standing out in the cold.

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