Social Media Participation

by Beauchamp Art

Much as the user may absent themselves from the online overload, their resistance against the tide of information is not a lack of action, it is to feel the swelling maelstrom and for a moment dwell, before the conscious struggle reasserts itself, or they “lie silently and let time wash over us in the stillness of non-life,” accepting their insignificance; the disappearance and disruption of the self. Becoming “a virtual corpse” [Braidotti, 2013: 135-136] in the ebb and flow. Participation is presumed constant until proven otherwise. The absence of interaction does not entail a desistance of action, the audience, are involved involuntarily, through inaction, through choosing to not look, share, appearing uninvolved. Turning a blind eye is a participatory action and is not passive. Ignorance is acceptance.

As users participate in social media, uploading more pictures of themselves, a great digital portrait of them is built up; simultaneously altering the perception of oneself, and how the user understands their external, online appearance, directly informs their internal narrative, their personality. Upon commercialising this socially inclusive act, the omnipotent machine may overlook what is missing from the overload of superficial meta-data used to means of predicting future behaviour and potential preferences based on established ones, with no guarantee of accuracy. The overlooked information may be the most significant piece of data. As the empty locket around the neck of a grandmother who loves all her family equally may say more about that individual and their relationships than any data-set. Absence is action.

Braidotti, Rosi. (2013) The Posthuman. Polity Press. Cambridge. UK.