You know, our parents are right, it is a small world, and it continues to keep getting smaller. But where do I sit in this increasingly small world?
The world we know of today is made up of multiple media spaces that flow freely, connecting people and sharing stories. Every morning I wake up to a similar routine. I see some friends, take a short trip to Europe, talk to family members in different countries, dance at music festivals and watch the lives of others. This is all before 10 am, and I am still in bed. Life within the 21st Century doesn’t seem so hard does it?
This is only made possible with the media spaces that we live within where the technology that we use has become our window to the rest of the world, all from the comfort of our beds!
Applications such as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Bumble, Tinder and Tumblr become our gates that unlock different facets of media spaces that connect people together–all at the touch of a button, instantaneously. As noted by Doreen Massey, “Space is not fixed or a material container,” but is the “simultaneity of stories so far.”
Lets take Facebook for example, its interface is simply a never-ending feed of stories, snapshots of people lives, where we can like, comment or share. Our interaction on this interface has been reduced to these three small actions where we can interact with the stories of others or ignore them and keep scrolling. Today, I did just that, I went about my day as Facebook became a background buzz that had me checking my phone every twenty minutes to keep up-to-date with the happenings of my surroundings. The use of Facebook has become an integrated facet of my everyday life. I’m sure i’m not alone on this one.
But then I begin to think about how my ‘Facebook addiction’impacts my life, and where I stand within the world and my media space. Then i begin to realise that the stories that are shared on Facebook are stories that are hand-picked and created by individuals to convey a certain aspect of ones lives. This became true when I realised that I don’t post everything that I do within the day on Facebook, only highlights that I deem to be ‘Facebook worthy’.
Last Weekend I attended a music festival in Byron Bay; Splendour in the Grass. It was a three day festival and we decided to drive up the coast and stay in an apartment for four nights. I posted a few photos while I was up there, but each photo represented the fun and good vibes during the trip–the impression that I wanted the world to see. However, what they didn’t see was the bloodshot eyed girl who had one hour sleep before getting back on the road at 4 am Monday morning travelling back to Sydney. I created my own reality, a reality that was carefully created by myself of what I wanted you–as the voyers–to see.
This becomes a simulation where Jean Baudrillard suggests that it ‘threatens the difference between ‘true’ and ‘false,’ between ‘real’ and ‘imaginary,’ creating a hyper-reality, a world in which we live in.
Facebook is made up of multiple stories shared by people that are each hand-crafted. By selecting what facets of life we are posting, we are contributing to the hyper-real media space which dominates reality. A space where we can watch the lives of others, travel the world and choose what part of our lives become reality.
Welcome to the new reality.
Just a thought.
Baudrillard, J 1981, Simulation and Simulacra, University of Michigan Press
Massey, D 2005, For Space, SAGE Publications
Sandoz, D 2003, Simulation, Simulacra, University of Chicago <http://csmt.uchicago.edu/glossary2004/simulationsimulacrum.htm>