Monday, February 17, 2014
Each individual's social media stream is as unique and as fleeting as a snowflake. But although every timeline displays a different mix of content, they all have the same psychological impact. The most consequential effect isn’t related to what we’re doing on social networks, but rather what being on social networks is doing to us. So, how does being continuously connected modify our consciousness? Never mind, you'll forget this question in 30 seconds.
We share the impossible desire to cram the infinite digital universe into the finite boundaries of our time and attention. We are all fucking addicts, but what we crave does not live online. Social media is a teeming petri dish; a kaleidoscopic global virus vector infinitely constructing and deconstructing pop culture; a hamster wheel and a merry-go-round; a nonstop carnival ride spinning us around in endless circles going nowhere fast. Our tweets are tiny pebbles skipping across an endless stream passing instantly beyond the visible horizon into oblivion. The only narrative is in our minds.
Although it feels like our sense of self is created within, it's filtered through the reflecting chamber of the social network. Although it seems as if we don't need to have a virtual body, continual connection to shared social network spaces creates a phantom form grounded in a kinesthetic sense of place. Since personal identity is a mix of self conception and social construction, when our social network moves from hundreds of people in the physical world to thousands in the virtual, it changes self-perception and self-projection. Our brain can not distinguish between physical and virtual. No matter what time it is where you live in the atomic world, it's always Twitter o'clock.