Get ready for the rich and heady aroma of slow-cooked academic writing!
While reading the New Media and Society article on imagined audiences, I realized that at some point our individual privacy and publicity became inverted. In the past our lives were private spaces by default and only when we exerted special effort could we project some sense of our selves to a broader audience. With the ubiquitous presence of social media in one form or another, automatic face-tagging in photos uploaded to major social media platforms, manual tagging by well-intentioned friends and acquaintances, etc, etc; the work is to make a space private now rather than to broadcast the self into a public space.
We’ve developed a set of additional senses with these social networking solutions, prosthetic knowledge about the world around us and how other agents in our social environment move and behave within it, but we haven’t keenly developed social etiquette for when, and why, we access this prosthetic knowledge of one another. Additionally, we haven’t made clear when it’s acceptable to include other individuals in this extended social environment. With such wide adoption of technology that forces inclusion in a digital social environment, we have to be constantly and keenly aware of our outwards behavior. This, for some, can be exhausting. I know I think so. We have very little precedent to reflect on to find acceptable behavior for these developments, besides juvenile ‘reality’ programming where the role models are unrelatable celebrities acting poorly for large sums of money.
Worhol’s prediction that each of us gets fifteen minutes of fame seems to have come true, though perhaps not in the way he had imagined. Instead of having the whole world watching for fifteen minutes of fame, we’ve built a system where we can each take fifteen minutes of time daily from an audience that finds us interesting. Whether we grab that time through misbehavior or productive content creation is entirely up to us, but I think I’d like to know how to force fifteen minutes of absolute privacy when we need it more.