In the March/April 2014 issue of Industry I look at some of the effects that social media has on our social lives. Truth and Consequences: How to find a balance between honing a productive social media identity, and attention-hungry cyber lurking
Social media does alter our experience of ourselves as social beings, especially when it replaces part or all of our social life. Sometimes I use it mostly logistically, i.e. to see what’s going on with friends in town. But occasionally it gets more distant, going into browsing, as when I check out the page of someone I just met, wondering if they’re doing the same. I feel sudden self-conscious doing this. Usually people aren’t up on the latest privacy snafu of facebook’s, and so even if you’re not friends you can just watch people as they live. Right there online. Or at least, get a flavor of their life, leaving room for doubt, obviously.
Self-consciousness is something I used to think I outgrew in my 20s, but its reemergence in the context of my online persona is fitting, as I’m literally allowing people to spectate at me, to know about, instead of know. Can we help creating a strange publicized hybrids of ourselves? One day maybe we’ll all know what celebrities must feel like, even down to having your (not to mention other people’s) livelihood depend solely on your online popularity.
From the article:
I’ve never really thought of myself as a private person. Ask me a question, the more personal the better. I’ve always erred on the side of too much information. Over the years, though, I’ve learned that many times people prefer to be lied to sweetly, to be let down gently than told the ugly truth. I’m more discerning now about what I share, not only to preserve my privacy but also, the mystery. This goes against the tide of social media and on-line dating–realms in which we are compelled to give more and more information and about ourselves to a more general audience.
Read more here: Truth and Consequences
the fucking mystery, right?
After writing this I realized that now, when I share something with someone in person, or even on the phone in a one-on-one conversation, it feels very intimate. It’s only in contrast to social media, where everything feels flatter and less risky in a real way. But that’s kind of cool as an unexpected outcome.