Jan 6, 2011

From Clubs to Affinity: The Decentralization of Art on The Internet


Recreational internet users of the 1990’s emphasis on a multiplicity (or negation) of selves was converted to the heightened construction of one’s Facebook profile information, for instance. Web 2.0 social networks like Myspace commanded users to make avatars from their birth-given identities, to self-design their personalities through tagged pictures and comment threads, profiles and quizzes. The online creation of new selves was not over, but this time they would bear the same birth names as their creators. Compared to the previous decade’s belief in identity made through imagination, social networks appealed to their user’s peer-fostered egos by providing publicly visible friends lists and peer displays of communication to indicate real life popularity. As a result, many users came to believe each event in their lives actually had two authenticating factors: the moment an event occurred in real-time and the moment it was recognized through a digital photograph by a vast audience of peers online. The oft-used net saying “pictures or it didn’t happen” isn’t just a come-on for proof, but exemplifies Web 2.0’s externalization of reality from the eye of the beholder to the informational reciprocation of peers.

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