Thursday, August 09, 2012

There's a Crowd on My Desk

“The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices make instruments to plague us.”
-King Lear

Brilliant piece on privacy, isolation and relationships in the social media age:
You are worthy or desirable, insists the culture of today, inasmuch as you can demonstrate acceptance by others via circuits and cables (or in the case of Reality TV, as long as you can remain a contestant and avoid getting kicked off the show). Similarly, we hear it alleged: You are valid, you are real, inasmuch as you publish evidence daily — even hourly (Twitter, anyone?) — of your existence, your validity.
But there’s a paradox here, which is this: Even as we crave to abolish isolation and seize proof that we exist, the selves we wish verified may actually become less and less singular or unique, at least in the principle realm we use to verify them, the Internet. Online we are more isolated than ever, but without the soul-shaping benefits of real aloneness.
 Nice find JB, but undone slightly by the irony that you posted it on FB.  Or at the bottom of the article, the apps to share on social media are tagged as "Sharing is Caring."  Ah, the ironies of the social media age.  And I find no shortage of irony that social media shares the same initials as the Marquis' favorite pursuits.

PS: My brother Harry pulled this morsel out:
Interaction is apt to become the raison d’être of our time. We rate our technologies first by the efficiency with which they allow us to reach another person and gather data. And quick, even instant measurability of that efficiency is a chief advantage of online media. Send an e-mail, get a response. Build a website, then tabulate “unique visitors” and hits per day. Set up a Facebook page, count your friends. Despite certain pragmatic advantages afforded by these tools, they are ultimately a bane to writers, for within such a hyper-social, data-driven ethos, it appears to follow that endeavors failing to serve the ultimate utilities — i.e., connection and measurability — call for abandonment. How, if steeped in social media culture, can one still conceive of spending three to seven years writing a novel in the quiet of one’s study?

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