I Tweet, Therefore I Am

July 5, 2010

After a chat with some folks a few days ago, the conversation ended with the new version of “goodbye” which is “lets keep in touch, are you on Facebook?”

Feeling adventurous, I [rep]lied, “no.”

Facebook/Narcissism

I liked the graphic, despite it not being particularly clever.

My comment was returned with a look so horrified I thought I’d accidentally said “sorry, I’ll be dead tomorrow.” This, of course, got me thinking: is the self-obsessive collaborative web nothing more than a form of collective death-denial?

We’ve grown to identify Web 2.0 as the “collaborative web,” but what are we really collaborating on, but a war against self-denial, or more bluntly, death? Perhaps if we all clump together as much banal, utterly useless data about ourselves, we’ll be too big for death to swallow. The antithesis of self-obsession is essentially self-denial, and what is death but the ultimate form of self-denial? If we don’t accept death, one day we’ll perhaps evolve into pure energy composed of tweets, pokes, and emoticons.

Gizmo Duck

You know, I was going to include an image of Scrooge McDuck swimming in a pool of money as a metaphor for our decadent hoarding of information, but Gizmoduck is just so much cooler.

The Information Age has shown some disturbing trends as of late, notably, an almost obsessive fear of deletion. More and more online web features stress the ready availability of the past to the point that it may as well be the present. Twitter feeds keep a running log of all of our past “present status,” Gmail encourages users to archive as an alternative to deletion, and the internet wayback machine obsessively archives pages, thus serving as an electronic version of its namesake. We have the space, why not just save everything?

I’ve heard the arguments for security, posterity, historical record, and all the like, but I’m not convinced. According to my own Scrooge McDuck Theory of History, no matter how much we obsessively hoard and accumulate data, we’ll only be later obsessed with what we couldn’t, wouldn’t, or didn’t save. Douglas Coupland made the argument that the over-informed age has made spirituality and philosophy concerns of the past. I’m expecting this next generation to have a serious case of death-denial.

It sounds morbid, but should there be a Facebook status for “deceased?”

You go ahead, Webby dear. We quad-zillionaires have our own ideas of fun.”
-Scrooge McDuck

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