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Hiding in Public.

Everything hits at once.

I haven’t written a post here in a minute, because I was temporarily paralyzed by the effects of seeing the documentary We Live in Public.

Nah.  I’m lazy.  I’ve been updating my facebook, but not saying anything of any length or substance anywhere.

But really, if this movie is in a theater near you, go see it.  You will learn about the terrifying trajectory of internet visionary, Josh Harris.  You will learn about his project, “Quiet,” (if you didn’t already know), in which he invited 100 artists to live in an underground bunker with him in New York under 24-hour surveillance, at the turn of the millenium.  Then, you’ll learn about how he lived with his girlfriend on camera in their apartment for 6 months and how everything fell apart.

This brings me to my question/ statement: I’m having trouble finding a way to argue that all of this facebook/ blogging/ twitter business is not, at the root, all about ego.

I know: connection.

But it’s kind of a chicken or the egg thing, right?  Connection to satisfy ego? Recognition to gain community?  Which is it?

I’m usually a sunny optimist, but the way I keep waffling here is like looking at a Magic Eye: one minute it’s definitely clearly ego, and the next it’s undeniably community.

I know: both. But I want some irreversible decision-making.  I want some people to make some bold statements we can either love or hate.  Humor me (ego).  Start the discussion (community).

3 thoughts on “Hiding in Public.

  1. I’m not so sure that social networking in an attempt to establish community isn’t counter-productive. Maybe it’s a consequence of belonging to a ever-blogging, ever-Twittering, ever-Facebooking peer group that is constantly connected, but it seems to me that everything worth saying is said before anyone gets a chance to meet up and share it. When all of your friends (and all of your “friends”) have instant access to a virtual play-by-play of your day, dozens of pictures of your recent vacation or last Saturday’s party, and entry after entry of your opinions on the books you’re reading, the films you’re seeing, your political views and philosophical musings, what’s left to talk about once you sit down to eat dinner or have a drink?

    Conversations often become self-referential. While talking about any given subject, someone will usually offer, “I wrote a blog post about this just the other day…” but he doesn’t need to finish his sentence. Over half the people present read it, thought about it and probably commented on it, too. In their minds, the issue is closed.

    A real-life example: I am meeting a friend for a drink after work. I already know that he’s had a slow day at the office, but that his employers have asked him to come in to work tomorrow anyway. On Tuesday, he saw The Quiet Man around 9PM and “thoroughly enjoyed it.” His blog entry (posted Wednesday) expounds: it was cold, grim, and still some of the “best work that the Cohn’s have ever done.” Facebook pictures tell me he went to a masquerade party to celebrate Halloween and, from the looks of it, he’s dating someone new. All of his other followers know he is having a drink with me after work, because two hours ago he posted “Four more hours of the workweek, then off to The Wellington with @aclarkkennedy and @(someone else).” It’s not as if I’m stalking the guy–all of this information is available as soon as I log on.

    I encourage everyone to think back–when is the last time you met up with a friend who told you something you hadn’t already read at least something about online? More often than not, all of our golden words are spoken before we get a chance to physically open our mouths.

  2. This is something I was just talking with a friend about – constantly thinking about what’s happening in terms of how it would be represented as a status update or the like. It’s not even conscious. I am trying to ween myself of this habit.

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