Friday, March 27, 2009

Broadcasting, not living

Via Sullivan’s blog yesterday I was directed to a post by Nicholas Carr, in which he talks about Jean Baudrillard’s simulacra and simulation obsession and how he accurately spoke of an era in which “we broadcast our lives instead of live them.”

Money quote:

The fact that Baudrillard could so clearly describe the twitterification phenomenon ten years before it became a phenomenon reveals that the phrase “new media,” when used to describe the exchange of digital messages over the Internet, is a coinage of the fabulist. What we see today is not discontinuity but continuity. Mass media reaches its natural end-state when we broadcast our lives rather than live them.

The age of Twitter is upon us and that’s bad news for productivity. That’s bad news for constituents that want their elected officials to do their job instead of posting snarky prattle about an opponent’s speech in congress or something of the sort.

But it’s not just the productivity of politicians that is concerning, it is everyone’s productivity. Twittering is nearly identical to updating the status on one’s facebook page. When I had facebook, I could sign on and view my friends with updated statuses. I could see from the list of friends that some were working, some were exercising, and others were pissed about the outcome of some game last night. You see what I am getting at? This information is completely useless; it corroborates Carr’s point.

What could John McCain politicians have done during President Barack Obama’s non-SOTU address if they weren’t concerned about appearing to be hip by using Twitter? What could you have done instead of constantly letting us know where you were? 


Travis Wicklund said...

Thank you for the book suggestion.

So far so good.

It is nice to sit and read in park worthy weather.

Christopher said...

part of the deal with broadcasting our lives instead of living them, I think, is how obsessed people (the broadcasters and the broadcasted to...and most people are both) can be with minutiae. It's like old-school AIM status messages times a million. Remember how passive-aggressive those things could be?