Something that frustrates me is the belief that if something is stated, then so it is. Nowhere is this clearer than within the realm of human interaction, as well as social media platforms and apps. The belief that when something is shared or stated then it must be true is something that I have explored in multiple blog posts on the spread of false information through social networks and communities. In another blog I also explored my takes on perception and my general skepticism and disbelief that anyone can accurately or actually perceive another human being outside of the self (and I would argue that an assertion that you can is egoic ignorance at best).
At the same time, there is a general belief that how people perform themselves online is not an accurate portrayal of themselves. Both within and outside of social media, we have been conditioned and encouraged to believe that the performances of self that people display offline is an accurate or authentic representation of who they are. Whereas the online self is a public persona or performance to be taken with a grain of salt. However, both of these performances are in fact representations, which means that there is no version of the self, or its utterances, that should be observed without careful consideration and in depth analysis.
From this perspective, I have spent the past few years theorizing that people are just human media or characters, communicating signals and messages to be decoded by the reader or observer. But, in studying social media platforms, it would also appear that the output of human media online tends to lack much of the depth and corporeality of the offline world. While this is not a value judgment, I think that it can be argued that social media platforms create a space where the hidden messages underlying human interaction are more mystifying than meaningful.
Making Meaning of Social Media
As an English major I was always fascinated with subtext, patterns, and the hidden meanings of language and text. This fascination culminated in one of many thesis projects on the concept of paranoid reading and authors who had mastered the art of the easter egg. Through an analysis of classic game texts, I would piece together the hidden nuggets of information buried within classic literature. Similar to…