Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism

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“Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism,” in The New Atlantis. Via my good friends at MetaFilter.

For centuries, the rich and the powerful documented their existence and their status through painted portraits…

Today, our self-portraits are democratic and digital; they are crafted from pixels rather than paints. On social networking websites like MySpace and Facebook, our modern self-portraits feature background music, carefully manipulated photographs, stream-of-consciousness musings, and lists of our hobbies and friends. They are interactive, inviting viewers not merely to look at, but also to respond to, the life portrayed online. We create them to find friendship, love, and that ambiguous modern thing called connection. Like painters constantly retouching their work, we alter, update, and tweak our online self-portraits; but as digital objects they are far more ephemeral than oil on canvas. Vital statistics, glimpses of bare flesh, lists of favorite bands and favorite poems all clamor for our attention—and it is the timeless human desire for attention that emerges as the dominant theme of these vast virtual galleries.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 25, 2007 at 12:29 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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