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.


July 1, 2008 - Posted by | web 2.0 |


  1. Thanks @m1k3y. I have bought the book, I will review it asap.

    Comment by xgibson | July 2, 2008 | Reply

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