The Digital Self

After seeing the Black mirror episode about the digital self living on after death through a computer generated collection of online data of that person (tweets, fb posts, pictures, any material we’ve uploaded online) and recreating that person, made me think about how harmful this digital environment can be if we get too absorbed. Of course, I myself use all these social media tools and I cannot deny that I’ve been sucked into this Facebook world so deeply that I would even call it an illness, but I truly believe that it deserves less importance and one needs to take care with the things one posts, especially when these media objects are never a true representation and always an idealised ‘slice’ of truth about us.

I am not so much of a status person, as I have never understood why wants to post about what they ate or saw that particular day, but rather a photo uploader and a music/video sharer. That is why I’ve decided to focus on the importance of photography as it is the key element of facebook. Images that are determined by the number of ‘likes’ ‘comments’ and ‘shares’ are the new cultural capital and make people feel that their existence is confirmed in a world where being noticed is not as easy as it used to be. The uploading of self-shot, weird angled, mirror-reflected photos of oneself are seen to be more popular between women- ever since the rise of the smartphone and apps like Instagram that give the option of filters to make the image look more pretty, and therefore less like oneself. When did it start to be ‘okay’ to post five pictures of oneself a day without being called a narcissist? Also, do we really have nothing more entertaining to do with our lives than care about our digital online virtual self which could be deleted and lost within five seconds if called for?

Photography in all its tradition form should be more respected. I think it is great that photography became so cheap and accessible to everyone giving us the opportunity to document our loved ones, holidays – those ‘Kodak moments’, which made photography so popular, yet we need to go back to photographing those rarefied, valuable moments, that will trigger emotions within us  when we look through all those folders we have on our hard disc in ten years time.

This is where I think everyone needs a little bit of Zygmunt Bauman and Liquid Modernity in their life (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Liquid-Modernity-Zygmunt-Bauman/dp/0745624103) as I could not agree more with his statement that ‘On a planet criss-crossed by ‘information highways’ nothing that happens in any part of the planet can actually, stay in an intellectual ‘outside’. ). He refers to a condition in which the subject is under constant translation and mutation, unable to occupy a form of lasting permanence, and thus, of lasting meaning. The result is that our Western world is thrown into a state of continuous renewal. With this urge of constantly moving forward we are emerged into a world whose values have been lost.

And as Stiegler puts it, perhaps rather harshly: ‘‘a society of disposability destroys motivation in all its forms.’

Rant over.