Monday, May 4, 2009

Microsaturation

Call it microsaturation. From the outset, let me say that I don’t twitter. I don’t follow you, and you don’t follow me, and we’re both probably better for that. Perhaps you are a friend on Facebook, and that makes it somewhat simpler for me to communicate with you. Perhaps this simplicity stems from the fact that I may be perpetually lazy, or perhaps I like the distance inherent in the digital world, or perhaps I genuinely am too busy to pick up the phone.

Whatever the case, for me, social networking has already reached the point of what I will term microsaturation. It’s not as if there isn’t value in sites like Facebook, MySpace, or twitter, and perhaps there is also value in being able to “digg” something. But what seems clear is that yet again there is also the capacity to merely explore the edges of whatever exchange is actually being related.

Consider, for instance, the regularity of arts related postings, as friends suggest that they have uploaded a new group of works on flickr or a related site. This should compel viewers to take note but, crowded in amongst the Susan Boyle videos or the clips of classic 80s camp, it is altogether too easy to simply be missed, for that moment to pass. And then, artist, what do you do? Do you re-send the post, becoming informative, courteous, and, heaven forbid slightly desperate all in precisely the same moment? Or, instead, do you merely assume that the original post has been read and is merely being digested?

One some level I genuinely believe that digital communications seem to both enhance and blunt our experiences at precisely the same moment. Without engaging in the historical discussions of the dehumanizing experiences of email, I do have some reticence regarding an unwavering commitment to the pull of social networking. At some point, it is as if the specific requirements of each site, and of each experience, results in experience itself becoming edited, blunted, pre-digested, like one hundred and sixty word haiku distilled to their most basic, yet most predictably sound-bite worthy utterances.

So, as I try to parse my words to fit a predetermined format, I wonder if these limitations are beneficial, detrimental or both. And yes, I know, this is far too many words, but for what, I don’t know.

1 comment:

Jessica Torrant said...

I enjoyed reading your thought provoking post. As an artist using many of these social networking sites, I feel like I've been absorbed by the microsaturation you describe (great term, by the way). On the one hand, it allows me to share my work with so many more people than I could ever fit into a gallery which makes the art making/showing experience more inclusive. On the other hand, I'm one of so many fish in the sea online. Will anyone be able to really connect to my work by clicking on a link and looking for less than a minute like they would standing in front of it? Probably not. One thing is for sure, too much twittering/blogging/facebooking/etc will drive you insane! I try to spend most of my time painting and only allow a minimal daily dose of this wild new techy world that I depend on.

Enough rambling from me. You said it all, and very well I might add.