Tuesday, January 14, 2014

now this is what actual cultural criticism looks like

Think of it this way: The Internet itself isn’t evil, but what is Facebook if not a thing that relies on us incessantly sharing and documenting our lives and comparing them to others’ in perpetuity? The companies and platforms that, for many of us, comprise our experience of the web, have built structures that play to human emotion and desire with ruthless efficiency. Like any phenomenon, you can use these things against the grain, but by and large, we are embroiled in systems meant to extract something from us, whether that is time, feeling, data, or money—and not being able to shake the feeling you should be photographing this moment or checking your phone is part of that.

Is technology inherently alienating or disconnecting? Well, no—it isn’t inherently anything, but our current exposure to digital technology is shaped and purposed by a set of large companies who have gotten really good at exploiting human sentiment. Oversimplifying the discourse to say that it is “technology” in general that it is blame for our alienation—rather than the networks and entities who are dominating those tools—is only hurting, rather than helping the situation.

- Navneet Alang