You’ll Never Be Alone Again

What follows is an excerpt from an email exchange that I had with my friend Rob, who shares a similar interest in the perverse intersection of technology and social relations. As Rob correctly observes,

One of the big questions that web 2.0 fails to answer is, who wants to be so connected and why? Why are our blackberries always on? Are we complicit in our own hijacking of sociality? We seem to be–no one is forcing us to sign up to Facebook or Twitter. I think web 2.0 will remain alive only until people interrogate their own assumptions about what they’re getting from this new type of social interaction.

Some argue this is the next step in social interaction, but is it a step forward or backward? Will my facebook or LinkedIN profile supplant my CV or resume?

Our facebook profiles are our CVs, and twitter is but one more means for shameless self-promotion. What else do our friend lists, status updates, and funwalls say about us besides: “This is how fucking awesome I am, this is how many friends I have, here is all the fun shit I’m doing right now, and these are all my cool interests and hobbies.” Or, put otherwise, “My life is the fucking zeitgeist.”

We would do well to recall the sociological notions of the ‘best presentation of self’ and the dramatalogical construction of identity. Thinking critically, all of this self-promotion and “outing” of ourselves is merely a smokescreen for a generation that is profoundly insecure and, by way of compensation, needs to be constantly linked in.

As Debord would say, we’re running hard to keep up with the devalued signs of life. The postmodernists are right when they say that we should dispense with any notions of authenticity, cause the genuine article is a fucking relic. Not only is nothing ‘authentic’ anymore, but the word has now become meaningless. Just try to define it.

As far as I’m concerned, all we can do is save ourselves, one or two loved ones, and a pet. Leave the masses to their Facebook-powered social orgy. Seek whatever blend of freedom keeps you sane. Update your status, but do so with irony.

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~ by Sean Best on March 25, 2008.

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