Archive for the ‘ media culture ’ Category

#disconnect


I joined Twitter at the end of January. Another excuse for the time lapse in reflective posting? Perhaps.

Similar to my venture into Facebook, this was also a long time coming. Contrary to what the majority of my friends and colleagues have to say, I personally haven’t really been won over by Twitter. I am definitely in favour of it as a tool for opening up lines of communication globally and any kind of alternative source to mainstream news media, but in terms of staying connected to my multiple selves and generating a sense of connection with my ‘followers’…it just hasn’t happened yet.

Many people prefer Twitter’s more open platform over the more relationship-focused Fbook – the fact that you can ‘follow’ people without them necessarily ‘following’ you. Many people think the technical structure of Fbook is messier and more complicated than it needs to be. In terms of information distribution, I find Twitter to be more surface-level and quantity-based, however, this isn’t to say that it doesn’t lead you to deeper levels of information, because it does indeed do that.

My lack of excitement could be because Twitter doesn’t seem to be designed for dialogue, but rather an encyclopedia stream of fast-paced communication, meant to be retweeted from one person to the next. On many levels, Twitter is a great tool but if I were to imagine it as a physical environment and atmosphere, it would be very noisy and constantly shifting. Facebook, on the other hand, is not necessarily somewhere where I would suggest to take your first date, but the visual thumbnails do spruce up the walls a bit… even if it’s all a warm disguise for the corporate building just beyond the screened facade. At least Fbook is designed for threaded conversations where ideas can emerge in between ‘friends’…but then again, perhaps it depends on who your ‘friends’ are – if all your ‘friends’ do is tend to farms and read their horoscopes, than I’d suggest you hop on over to Twitter to see what everyone else is thinking about. But be prepared for the mental shock to your networked system…

Just as I was settling into the twitterverse, a friend and fellow Postselfer suggested I might want to check out Empire Avenue — “the social stock market game!” She warned me that it could be perceived as a disturbing angle on social media, yet might be a strangely effective way to do social networking. Since I had already worked up the nerve to embrace Twitter, I thought I should join right then. Not even five minutes later I had someone asking me to connect to all of my social networks. This freaked me out so I adjusted my settings a little bit to retreat back into more of a voyeuristic role. Since I’m quite dumb when it comes to the real world stock market, I don’t anticipate becoming very savvy with this virtual one but it has been interesting to think about it through more of a philosophical lens — “Buy shares in your friends, family, favorite movie stars, musicians, businesses – anyone – and earn virtual cash for wise investments! Become a virtual millionaire!”

It’s also interesting to see someone else create a project which takes a completely different spin on the “value” of identity with/in social media…

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Facebook, how could you?

Dear Facebook,

You think you know me. You think you know what is best for me. You think you know what I want. What are you basing this on?…my activities and interests, the things I make up in my profile, the things I link to in my status? Isn’t that a bit naive of you? Did you ask me what I want, what I need? No….you just decided for yourself, didn’t you.

Why do I continue to put up with this? What people must think of me sticking it out with you…the things they must be saying behind my back.

It’s not just me, you know. People are angry…I have Friends who are angry…and they are voicing their opinions of this recent change of yours, which, I must say, seems to be having a negative affect on your community. Some are taking it quite personally. I hope you really did do your research…I hope you thought this one out….

Yes, the little things are what we miss but, if you think about it, those little things speak volumes about the level of control you are taking from the users making up your environment. What if we want to arrange the order of the information we choose to provide about ourselves – are you going to let us have that option? Some people have decided not to play your little game, opting to remove the persona that once existed on his or her profile. Is that what you want – a bunch of faceless nodes in your network that rebel against the restrictive and formulaic design?

I’m sorry to have to take this tone with you. Things had been going well… You must know that I speak out of concern….out of….

I’m sorry, I just can’t continue with this conversation until I know that you are really listening.

Are you there Facebook?

archiving with apps?

To reflect on a networked self requires a well documented networked self…

Will we archive these digital documents of our selves? Or will we post them once to share and then move on? What I like about all of the recent user-friendly applications that have emerged on the social media scene, is that they make us look back at what we’ve done and at representations of our selves, even if for some selves this means a reduced version of a digital identity. But for how long will we pause, glance, look, watch and see these formulaic creations? Is anyone interested in thinking about them….critically? Compiling a year of status updates might provide a profound realization of one’s self, yes? Are we learning about ourselves in this process? Do we have the time to even engage in this kind of behaviour? Are you growing impatient while reading this list of questions? Are you wanting to move on to another soundbite?

How fast time flies….my Selfpost spanning the past 7 months: (via Pummelvision)

processing personas

:: self-data-portrait mined from the internet ::

…created using Personas by artist Aaron Zinman >

“In a world where fortunes are sought through data-mining vast information repositories, the computer is our indispensable but far from infallible assistant. Personas demonstrates the computer’s uncanny insights and its inadvertent errors, such as the mischaracterizations caused by the inability to separate data from multiple owners of the same name.” (credits)

Dymaxion Self

November was busy. Needless to say, I am yet another apologetic blogger to use the good ol’ “sorry I haven’t posted” line… However, Postself headquarters is busting with lots of self-reflexive activity as the Fbook interface continues to provide many opportunities for dialogue and critique. For those of you who have digital profiles meshed within FB, you may want to catch up on the insightful interaction that occurs in our satellite location > http://www.facebook.com/postself < where relevant links and videos are being shared by fellow Postselfers.

Although I’ve been consumed with many tasks, I continue to live up to my manifesto on a daily basis. In fact, I am now finding that I tend to use Fbook as a strange kind of coping mechanism that contrasts what I am faced with on my other screen. At home, I work with a double screen set-up and I often go back and forth to Fbook when confronted with difficult work, the same way I venture to the kitchen for snacks. I also continue to maintain and archive my Postself “list” of anything and everything to revisit and expand upon later. Just this past week, several topics have made the blogosphere and entered into our FB portal discussions — namely, the cartoon profile campaigns that have popped up and emotional reactions to the new FB layout changes — plenty food for thought.

Speaking of archived lists….for some time now, I’ve been wanting to post about our relationship to Facebook as a digital archive — an archived database that is connected to and integrated within all of the other networked social media applications we use, such as Flickr, Twitter, Vimeo, Youtube, Tumblr, etc. For instance, I will often find myself ‘sharing’ something just to have the link made readily available in my profile and just in case one of my friends posts something in response that triggers an idea or another resource to follow up on. Because it seems I’m on Fbook so much, I tend to search through my archived links rather than venturing over to my delicious account.

This networked language we use today may be new, but the act of archiving one’s personal life is not. The internet, however, provides a multilinear process for us to use, consisting of interconnections to different locations for self-storage. A couple of years ago there was an art exhibit developed in San Francisco called “Self Storage,” which was inspired by the historical precedent of the Dymaxion Chronofile, a system that Buckminster Fuller devised to chronicle his life. I began thinking more about Fuller a month ago while preparing a paper for a conference. Then, just like anything significant and meant to be contemplated, his name kept popping up all over the place. I think Bucky Fuller was extremely far ahead of his time, with interests and behaviours quite relevant for our current cultural moment. It has been said that his life is the most documented human life in history…

From Stanford’s R. Buckminster Fuller Archive:

The centerpiece of the collection, in many ways, is the Dymaxion Chronofile, an exhaustive journal of Fuller’s trajectory from 1920 until his death in 1983. Fuller had been collecting clippings and artifacts since he was a child. But in 1917, he began a formal chronological file which he would later call the Dymaxion Chronofile. The Chronofile was a vast scrapbook that included copies of all his incoming and outgoing correspondence, newspaper clippings, notes and sketches, and even dry cleaning bills. Initially, the Chronofile was bound into handsome leather-backed volumes. In later years, to save space and expenses, the Chronofile was simply stored in boxes. By the end of his life, this exhaustive “lab notebook” of his life’s experiment amounted to 270 linear feet.

Fuller intended for the Chronofile to be a case study of his life in context, in which his daily activities were presented in parallel with developments in technology and society. In it, he at once traced the evolution of his own thoughts, relationships, and business ventures; and documented new inventions, trends, and technologies that were emerging on the broader level.

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There’s already applications being produced that allow for FB interactions to be archived in books. Which makes me wonder how we might “selfpost” differently if we knew there was the potential of our digital identities to be preserved not only on paper but bound within a book.

* thanks to Postselfer Marianela for this Youtube clip

Who pokes and why?

I don’t get it. I had my first poke experience yesterday and am left baffled...

It was from a “non-friend” but someone whom I wouldn’t mind being a Friend. I didn’t know what else to do so I poked back. If it had been someone whom I did not want to be my Friend, I simply would have avoided it. The “poker” and myself did end up confirming our FB Friendship but I’m not so sure I like how the whole transaction was initiated…

What is the deal with virtual “poking”? What is Fbook etiquette with poking and other virtual acts of giving and receiving?

In real life, you wouldn’t go up and poke someone that you haven’t been in touch with for years, would you? I guess it might depend on the kind of relationship you once had. Now that I think about it, the above said “poker” was actually the type to “poke” in real life so I guess it wasn’t all that out of character. But, then again, that was high school. On the other hand, Facebook is a lot like high school….which was one of the reasons I avoided it for four years until I forced myself to embrace it as a space for learning and expanding my networked self. Until I am confronted with the decision of whether to attend a “real-life” high school reunion, I will allow myself to be “poked”…for the sake of an authentic Postself.

I feel like a nag…

images: top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right

Social networks are great for raising awareness about social and political causes. Since joining Fbook almost 4 months ago, I feel more knowledgeable about global and environmental concerns that may not have caught my attention (or, at least, as much of my attention) as before. This is due to certain Friends involvement with these particular causes…Friends who might be interested in the same issues as myself and/or Friends who have very different interests from my own. Some critics argue that this kind of online dialogue does nothing to actually help solve problems, yet others argue that it can lead to change…especially when directed towards organizations that are responsible for making important decisions.

Perhaps my teacher and researcher selves take over in these moments of open dialogue…sharing resources, providing links for further information, communicating the importance of attending to these issues, instigating debate to probe the ideas raised…not looking for agreement at all, just looking for some insightful chit chat. But I’m afraid that external selves who might not perceive this window of opportunity on Facebook will instead perceive me as a NAG. I don’t mean to disrupt the escapist FB posting flow – mindless sharing of retro music videos, funny pictures of cats, cute close-ups of babies, unbelievable moments of self-exposure on youtube – no, don’t get me wrong….I succumb to these pastimes just as much as everyone else. I guess that’s why I try to downplay my posts that relate to social and political issues, so it doesn’t sound like I’m lecturing….”I’m not a political activist but…” (aka – it’s ultimately up to you whether you read this or not but it is something you should know about….).

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