Just A Brief Update….


So, suffice to say, this weekend has been a bit overwhelming for me. I’ve spent most of it getting my final touches together for my thesis presentation at Research Days on Tuesday. This weekend was one of the first I’ve had totally off in a while so I got a lot of time to focus on these last-minute-but-very-important things. There’s never enough time for anything, is there?

Anyway, as far as my research for the field guide goes, I’m still reading through my sources and gathering information I can add onto my last post about social curation in online spaces. I think that post went into a lot of detail about my own thoughts surrounding the issue but I do want to incorporate more evidence to support my case. More, I need to look into more ideas about what a “humane” web would look like.

During our discussion in class, we talked about how to encourage personal responsibility as developing that seems to be important to the issue of social curation itself. Right now, there’s no personal accountability and nothing incentivizing us to not just “hit that like button” and move on with our lives without ever thinking more deeply on the content we are choosing to associate ourselves with/throw our “lots” in with. In my last post, I mentioned abolishing evaluative features entirely but that requires an entire paradigm shift, it seems, in interaction with the Internet and, increasingly, with the world. Our “likes” are fast becoming our votes. They don’t just validate someone’s opinion anymore; they affirm behavior and incentivize it to continue. Not to sound sensational, but I wonder when we will be “liking” our next government officials rather than strictly voting for them? We seem well on our way to that…

I’m trying to focus on how I would like to convey my concerns around this issue. I’m concerned about how it affects us culturally and seems to desensitize us but I’m also concerned about how evaluative features affect our sense of self. The experience of self is a social construct now more than ever, it seems, and I wonder about the long-term affects of that. In our discussion, I mentioned having this seemingly “innate” self of me and of my wholeness beyond the web. I think the web offers these amazing opportunities to extend ourselves and reflect upon all the different selves we can be but I also believe strongly that I am whole without the web. I can locate myself without turning on my GPS or checking out the snap map. It seems like people today, especially younger people who don’t remember a time before the web, may be less able to feel whole without that online connection and I wonder how that affects the experience of their lives in the long run.

One way I was thinking of exploring some of these issues is through making a fake social media account like a #finsta. It’s such a titillating concept and I think it gets at the heart of this issue: the you and the not you of it. To me, concerns around social curation in online spaces come down to fears about regulation of emotional experiences as well as fears about AI or computer intelligence not only replacing our presence online but controlling us through that replacement. These fears are about self and humanity disappearing into the digital abyss, swallowed up and spit out. Finstas encapsulate that idea of the hidden self, though, with all those hidden fears and anxieties. It’s kind of a subversion of a system designed to profit heavily off of the exploitation of insecurities. At least, it could be subversive.

Design was a big topic we discussed and, to be honest, I’m not sure I could design a whole system to replace the current one (tl:dr scratch that, I’m hella unsure I can’t). But, I do think I could design an account to be subversive. I would like to borrow some of the ideology from metamodernism probably to conceive of this project. Another name for this movement is post-postmodernism. It’s not really a formal movement yet but you may have heard of it if you’ve ever come across any of Shia LaBeouf’s art projects?

So, my understanding of the movement’s tenets is still a little shaky but the movement is a response to modernism and postmodernism and seems to be about re-injecting value of/belief in faith and sincerity and in all of these intangible virtues that modernism and postmodernism have rejected in favor of cold hard progress. To me, it seems this movement is about returning humanity to the people and, more, returning an appreciation for being human. Cynicism and callousness may be in vogue bit that doesn’t mean they’re the right ways to look at or conceive of the world. More, it seems that perspectives like them have not contributed to making the world or online spaces, for that matter, better.

I think it would be interesting to take metamodern perspective on the issue of social curation because I believe it may provide guidance for humane design. At least, that’s what I’m thinking about right now. It’s not a lot and I still have a lot of reading to do and conversing with my alchemist mentor, I know, I know. But, I can kind of see this project coming together? I definitely see a lot of brown paper bags over my head for the finsta…. 

Anyway, what do you think? Does anything show promise? Where are the gaps for you? Any suggestions?

Let me know!


~Till next time~

If I don’t die during Research Days

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