I Share Therefore I Am

Every single tweet we send, no matter what its overt topic, is part of an ongoing story we are telling about ourselves. Part of the addictive nature of social networks is the compulsion to stay alive in the minds of our audience.

We’ve transformed ourselves psychologically from private citizens to public figures on the stage of the social network. Pervasive self-disclosure via social networks leads us to experience less the life we live and more the story we tell.

The net-privacy we seek is the power to manage the story we tell the world about ourselves. Of course, the story we try to tell may be different than the story that’s received.

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Categories: Social Networks

3 Comments on “I Share Therefore I Am”

  1. Tuesday, 22 May 2012 at 18:54 UTC #

    Wow Botgirl, once again, you’ve said so much in so few sentences! (haha, and I will now say less in more sentences in my comment! 😛

    I think you’re right about all this, and it’s not “bad” or stupid or pathetic or shallow, for me it’s more an understanding of the nature of existence which has largely always been a mental construct.

    Trill and I were chatting over the weekend, continuing our long ramble about the developed world and the developing world, and we both felt that not just Facebook, but really the bulk of life in the developed world is an MMORPG.

    You commented recently that the reason we spend a minute or two finely crafting our FB status updates… is because we can.

    No doubt even in hunter-gatherer days, if you and I were stalking the same large animal for days, we could still “spin” each other a little, but with the advent of newspapers, televised speeches by presidents we’ve never actually met, etc, etc… it’s all manufactured information… manufactured experience… manufactured perception… manufactured reality…

    And then you, or your child, or your parent, is diagnosed with cancer, and all these ideas just seem so ridiculously self-indulgent. Yet, we are mortal beings. I don’t think the fact that it can all be taken away from us by the blink of the eye of a vengeful god, means that the insights we had in our precious few, lucid, waking moments, were somehow wrong or foolish.

    Needless to say… your graphic is both fantastic, and couldn’t be better here on I Rez, Therefore I Am!

  2. botgirlq
    Tuesday, 22 May 2012 at 19:26 UTC #

    Thanks. I agree with you that social sharing isn’t inherently bad, stupid, pathetic or shallow. The challenge is to be conscious when we’re posting (or feeling the urge to post) about the underlying thoughts and feeling fueling the desire. It’s been more than three years since I created that graphic and I still have only a limited idea of what drives me to post so relentlessly.

    I resonate with your connection between modern life and an MMORPG. I’d go even farther that humans have lived within culturally defined roles since the start.

    I agree that this kind of philosophical and artistic contemplation can seem fanciful when death, serious illness, etc. spring up. Not because the ideas were frivolous, but because we fall come crashing back down to the bottom of Maslow’s triangle where survival is all that matters.

    • Tuesday, 22 May 2012 at 20:00 UTC #

      Yes, haha, I was totally thinking of Maslow. And the idea that though we start at the bottom, and perhaps are destined to end there as well, that our few moments fluttering near the top are not foolish, but perhaps they are the definition of what it means to be human, to be a Homo sapien, a thinking human.

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