Social Media is Not Self-Expression | Neither Abandoning it Will Enhance our Sense of Freedom or Selfhood

Self-expression is the internalization of social authority, not the externalization of a “true identity”

[“The internet isn’t an individual pursuit, it’s something we do with each other. The internet is where people are.” That’s part of why simply abandoning it won’t enhance our sense of freedom or selfhood. But because we “do” the internet with each other as capitalist subjects, we use it to intensify the social relations familiar from capitalism, with all the asymmetries and exploitation that comes with it. We “do” it as isolated nodes, letting social-media services further suppress our sense of collectivity and possibility. The work of being online doesn’t simply fatten profits for Facebook; it also reproduces the condition that make Facebook necessary. As Lazzarato puts it, immaterial “labour produces not only commodities, but first and foremost the capital relationship.”

Exodus won’t yield freedom. The problem is not that the online self is “inauthentic” and the offline self is real; it’s that the self derived from the data processing of our digital traces doesn’t correspond with our active efforts to shape an offline/online hybrid identity for our genuine social ties. What seems necessary instead is a way to augment our sense of “transindividuality,” in which social being doesn’t come at the expense of individuality. This might be a way out of the trap of capitalist subjectivity, and the compulsive need to keep serially producing in a condition of anxiety to seem to manifest and discover the self as some transcendent thing at once unfettered by and validated through social mediation. Instead of using social media to master the social component of our own identity, we must use them to better balance the multitudes within.] Read the full article: Social Media is Not Self-Expression | THE NEW INQUIRY

Rome, Italy 2010

Rome, Italy 2010 @Styliani Giannitsi Ph o t o g r a p h y


2 thoughts on “Social Media is Not Self-Expression | Neither Abandoning it Will Enhance our Sense of Freedom or Selfhood

  1. The Internet encourages many external questions to be asked. Internally we are only able to convey online what we choose. There is no facility for our internal thoughts or insecurities. The Internet only listens to its choice of entertaining content. Social relationships are formed but lack the intricate bonding which face to face provides. The world is changing, developing. We either embrace or step aside, but we will not stop it. I personally love the Internet yet I will never let it substitute realism 🙂


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