Ch 07: Seeing Ourselves

Automated “Me”

Remember those days when people actually took out the time to write things and not just have technology do everything for them? seems like ages ago. To be honest, I miss those days. When each of us had that excitement to write down in our diaries what we had done, or put an effort on our minds of a memory we wanted to talk about. But now, that sense of effort is gone. Not only with communicating with each other, but with recording things of our very own lives. It’s ironic that will all the technology around us, it still seems to be such an effort to remember things that should be effortlessly in us already. It’s sad, but what to do?

Jill Walker Rettberg discusses the new invention of automated diaries in her article Automated Diaries. A chapter in a book highlighting the various aspects of technology and how we see ourselves, Rettberg talks about the transformation of diary entries. Real entries, which we used to write in books, indirectly provided a sense of an upcoming entry, a “call for yet another one.” But now, with multiple digital platforms to organize photos, locations and text of your day-to-day life and routine, the sense of putting in effort is almost if not completely diminished. There’s no urgency and eagerness for wanting to “share the news” (we do that in Kindergarten everyday) of talking about something disturbing or special that happened. It’s out there, for basically the whole world to see. And don’t say, I choose my followers or decide who can see my things. If it’s on a digital platform, it’s available for the world to access (if they really want to).

With the creation of Chronos, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Doppler, etc. everything from everyone is out there. And it’s strange. I used to have Instagram for a few years, but after a while, I wasn’t communicating with more than half the followers I had. I thought to myself, “And do I really want to know what’s going on their lives?” After a few days, I deleted my IG. I only connect with really close friends, people who I want to genuinely keep in touch with and whose life I want to be updated and who I want to update my life with. But surprisingly, this “urge to exhaustively document everything is now new” according to Rettberg. The want for a activity trackers, for a gamified version of life, is not new. It’s always been there, but now, there are ways of actually doing it. Use Narrative Clip to visually capture each moment of your day to supposedly “remember” every moment. So are you telling me that before all this, there was no way people could remember things that were actually worth remembering? Was it not possible before this? Some images become a studum, a picture with no meaning while some are punctums, a picture worth a thousand words. Everything has a different meaning to someone, but that feeling is timeless. Why is there a need to put it out there for us to prove it? Why is there this hunger to make everyone know what’s happening in our lives?

I personally used to be a fan of automated diaries, displaying my location, pictures, etc to my “friends” and family, but not anymore. With time, things change, mentalities changes, people change. Sit down, take out the time and enter it into a journal. It makes it more personal. All I know is that running behind an automated diary or something close to it, will definitely make the world look at your life, but in the process of capturing that moment, will you be really living it or will you miss out on it? Think about it…an automated diary shouldn’t create an automated “me.”

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