Digital pebbles

Clarke Mulder Purdie on PR, media and other random topics

On the internet, does anyone, like, care who you are?

Posted by Helen on January 28, 2009

Freud does Twitter

Freud does Twitter

The BBC is showing a number of shows on Darwin to celebrate the 150th anniversary of The Origin of the Species. The ever-brilliant David Attenborough is hosting a programme on the tree of life, and the Open University and the Guardian seem to be getting in on the act with poster giveaways of the mighty tree itself.

The idea of illustrating the evolution of life got me thinking about illustrating the evolution of social networking technology – would it be a similar shape to the tree of life, with an ordered progression; or more like the London Underground tube map (strands of lurid, angular spaghetti designed to put the wind up tourists)? And then I started thinking about how social networking ties in with some of those concepts you always hear discussed by the tame psychologist de jour on BBC documentaries – the notion that the twentieth century was the Century of the Self, when Freud and Jung roamed free and everyone was egocentric and possibly harbouring some quiet thoughts about their mothers. So now that we’re egomaniacs, the logical progression is to share our delusions of grandeur with the world, and conveniently enough, the nice people at YouTube, MySpace and Facebook are only too happy to aid and abet the process. To steal Carrie Bradshaw’s favourite (and possibly only) format, here’s my hypothetical question: are we evolving into a species of exhibitionists?

Perhaps the evolution of our obsession with public display has mated with the internet’s gift of anonymity. Wikipedia has a rather bizarre article (I know! Who’d have thought it) titled ‘on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog’, which sums up the whole anonymity debate in typical Wikipedia fashion (one of the best things about Wikipedia is the convoluted language born of attempts to discuss topics like X-Men comics, Craigslist and Britney Spears with a suitably academic veneer). And so the logical progression continued, breeding incidents like LonelyGirl15 and Fake Steve Jobs, until we get to my second Carrie Bradshawism of the day: in an era of anonymous exhibitionists, how do you pin down the value of a tweet?

Answers to be sent to my anonymous Twitter page please.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: