"First, I believe it's well past time to move beyond thesis/antithesis questions like, "Is social media empowering, or is it disempowering?" even when they wind up in faux-synthetic proclamations like, "It's a bit of each!"
Second, I think it's time to actively resist the ideology that history, particularly technological history, is always an onward and upward affair. Right now, we live in a time where people suggest that the best solution for historically underrepresented women to get political power is to go online, yet the most visible women online endure sexist bullying on a daily basis. Until we come to grips with the fact that history--particularly media-enabled history-- is made of multiple moments that occur in complex spatial configurations that can and should be documented and studied, we need to stop with the wholesale power of representation talk.
Third, and in keeping with the above, I think we need to start thinking about social media less in terms of objects and artifacts (be they text, video, or advertisements) and more in terms of intersecting spaces of experience, consumption, and creation. I think we need to really speak to one another about how we experience these spaces, and how we see them intersecting with our ideas about privacy, publicity, individuality, community, excitement, boredom, frustration, stupidity, and so forth. I think we need to figure out how to make room for the fact that one person's shit is another person's treasure, but that's not the same as advocating for a moral relativism about what transpires in these spaces. Too tired to think much more about it now. More as I work through" ---Theresa Senft lj user="tsenft"
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