Taking Stock of Self-Expression and the Net

by phil on Tuesday Jan 25, 2005 5:17 PM

Self-expression in the modern PC and Internet world is amazing. I have so many little avenues where I can throw my thoughts, feelings, and art. I feel like the PC/Internet is a membrane that constantly surrounds me, collecting all my output and either storing it or publishing it.

Here's a list of the multimedia pores that catch my expressions..

  • Folders where I can create new text documents and cluster a brainstorm together
  • An existing text document to chart my progress during the week
  • A folder where I save my favorite links
  • A StumbleUpon toolbar where I can thumbs-up, thumbs-down sites
  • This blog you are reading right now
  • An AIM bot (Mindsay) that I can immediately key in my thoughts via chat.
  • I have a digital camera in case I want to take photos. Plus, I have a website to throw in my art work
  • Adobe Photoshop if I want to play with art
  • A SoundCard with a phono jack so I can make a song

Yes, this is a bit overboard. But even basic users of the Internet are signing up for all sorts of services, such as Xanga (blogging), Del.icio.us (bookmarking), and flickr (photos), to present themselves to the world.

The Internet has become so pervasive and perfunctory that in many communities it's assumed you have an Internet connection. With that point breached, the Internet, instead of being this place you step into infrequently to accomplish a task, is an enveloping medium. Instead of being an auxiliary medium, it is the medium of existence. In a medium of existence, life-metaphors emerge, such that living occurs in the medium. In the case of this example, because the Internet is so enveloping, it is the place where people get their soapbox and establish themselves. "I have arrived, hear me out." The Internet is the public sphere where your actions matter.

TV used to be a medium of existence, and at times it still is. Although TV is not as interactive and enveloping as the Internet, the same life-metaphors creep into language. "Honey, turn on the TV, something's going on." While 9/11 really happened out on Manhattan island, for the majority of the world, it happened in the TV space.

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