Saturday, October 25, 2008

statement of interest

My father, an Iranian physician practicing here in Canada, was among the first generation of his patriarchal line to have left Iran. His father, a humble grocer, was the first in five generations to move from the family home. My father traces these changes to the invention of air travel, the telephone, and before that the paving of roads; in short, improved technologies of communication, that bring long distances closer, have a significant impact on the social and spatial organisation of bodies. As I perceive it, digital communication in the form of image and audio media, transcommunicative handheld devices, and most notably, the internet have changed the way we organise socially, spatially, and in psyche.
Social networking websites have become an important tool in the social interactions of its users. My interest is in discovering exactly what impact these media have on our social behaviours. Is the place of the World Wide Web an adequate landscape for establishing and maintaining social circles? How does the heightened ability to present the self in the second life of the internet, through profile pages, photoblogs, and online diaries, factor into the perception of one’s real world and presentation of self? Producers and consumers of culture are coming closer together, regardless of spatial distance, and mingling in the ether(net), forming neo-tribes of similar interests. Much of my observations are as a result of my use of such social networking websites as Facebook, coupled with an engagement in various social scenes. I believe that if this shift in communicative agency is a sign of things to come, people the world over may be able to better subvert the institutional forces imposed on them. Therefore I consider this phenomenon worthy of further investigation.

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