It has long been agreed that imagery influences us. This is evident from the advertising world. The world of images that surrounds us everyday. I think we can safely say that we know it can have a negative or positive impact on us. It has been widely discussed that images of very thin models in advertising can encourage eating disorders particularly in young women. (see also Lauren Greenfields work “Thin”) These days imagery of men is becoming also more widely used where the visual gaze towards the opposite sex is no longer exclusive to men. Legislation has been passed to limit advertising of cigarettes and alcohol particularly making it seem social in order to limit the social damage it can cause and to discourage the use of these products or discourage them seeming to enhance our social lives. Imagery has long been used as a way to encourage the lower classes to behave as the upper classes or to aspire to this. See also my essay for Assignment 3 where I touch on the influence of advertisement. I think we can fairly establish that imagery has a strong influence over us. The reason for bringing this up is to focus in on the influence the digital self has on us. How can it influence future generations. If we take a look at the variety of self portraits on line it is infinite. Already plastic surgery, enhancing the size of breasts, reshaping our butts, changing eye colour, hair colour, face shape is becoming normal. This constant selfie that appears to be just for fun however the constant repitition of images will influence our society.
We are no longer aware of where our public and private life ends. We are trained to constantly self promote in the context of networking for our work lives however as this overlaps with our private lives which we now make public online it is hard to know where the real “self” begins. Second life as an online virutal world appeals as it allows us to create the dream world to perhaps exercise our desires of how we would like to live or express ourselves artistically. It is in effect another mask However it is also another example of the semio capitalist system. We can create our own Avatar and appear as we wish similar to our selves, the opposite of ourselves perhaps stronger, prettier. It is an extension of digitally editing our selfies and showing our goods online. We can live in a digital world where we are as we desire to be. Why would we want to live in the real world perhaps the next generation will barely socialise at all. We may have a solution to the growing world population if we all lived digital lives real relationships would be unnecessary. This may seem a tad dramatic or exaggerated. But for those of you old enough If I had said twenty years ago we would all be going around with hand held computers where by using internet to chat to friends seen through the same computer or that finding love online through dating sites would become the norm, would you have believed me?
In a world where we learn more words from a machine than our mother how has this changed us. We learn most of our vocabulary from Televisions, phones, computers.
Originally we thought the web would open up a world a revolutionary world has it done this, has it adjusted social wrongs and made us happier people or have we become entranced by it. Perhaps this digital era will run its course and the future generations will learn to control it the time we spend digital and separate it from the personal. Already many tech companies encourage their own employees to enjoy time also away from the computer. This should be already part of most school curriculums teaching children how to separate the digital from the real. How to use the digital for positive experiences but to differentiate their digital self from the real self.
Franco “Bifo” Berardi Precarious Rhapsody
Ritzer G. And Jurgenson, (2010) ‘production, consumption, prosumption: The Nature of capitalism in the age of the digital “prosumer” , Journal of consumer culture.