Alex Gibson

Art, Collaboration & Social Media

We Are What We Want


“We are what we want, in cyberspace” ~Zizek 1998

Popular, commercial online social networks today are designed around the user. They are usercentric. The entire interface has become a digital face. The most popular social networks are completely focused on the individual user (Myspace, YouTube and Facebook). Great hours are spent adjusting profile information, changing status, tweaking settings and uploading, tagging and sharing various forms of self reflecting media. The whole program operates as a kind of fantasy mirror and a place to play dress-ups. It is a theatrical space in which we are all actors representing our various fantasies about ourselves. This doubling of self is a narcissistic act, but what is curious is the growing desire to do this en-mass. It is as if we are not content to act out our fantasies alone, in our studies and bedrooms but we must also share our experiments with identity with potentially millions of Others. Is it because we like to imagine ourselves being popular? Is this a kind of faux celebrity, or a Warholian 15 minutes? I suggest that it is much deeper. It is an example of a shift in consciousness from rigid definitions of self to more fluid ways of being and acting. These acts are not confined to cyberspace, although perhaps they may have been developed there. Or perhaps, they are acts in which we may have always engaged, but only now are we being drawn to them as the hypermodern social world becomes unavoidably visible, in cyberspace.

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July 1, 2008 Posted by | web 2.0 | | 2 Comments

Social Media En Masse

“In a staggering show of how quickly broadband services are spreading in Asia, China this year overtook the United States as the largest fixed subscriber market [of Internet broadband services], according to a new report… from Dittberner Inc.” ~Michael Dinan

We are living in a new millennium. The first decade of the 21st century will be remembered for its rapid uptake of Social Media en masse. After the collapse of the NASDAQ around 2002, it seemed as though the mid-90’s fad of the Internet had died once and for all. However, since then a remarkable resurrection has taken place. Among the web services that achieved this are Google, Blogspot, Amazon, Wikipedia, Second Life, YouTube, MySpace, Facebook and more recently Twitter. The network has reformed, rerouted and reproduced through a series of new strategies. Industrial tactics based on broadcast media such as one way databases and over speculated advertising banners had not succeeded. Now web pages are not just broadcasting their messages, they are seeking the user to add their voice to them. User generated content, social networking, rating systems, private messages and profile-centric home pages have come together to create the so-called ‘Web 2.0‘ and this coupled with smarter pull advertising are capitalising the Internet in a new model of economy with social production as its engine.

July 1, 2008 Posted by | web 2.0 | , | 2 Comments

Hello world!

Welcome to my blog.

This is an experiment in looking at WordPress as a blog platform. I must say, so far it is pretty good. Normally I am a Drupal person… I like to tinker. But maybe having some out-of-the-box solution will allow me to focus more on my ideas and less on the structure in which I present them.

July 1, 2008 Posted by | misc | Leave a comment