"The explosion of the personality into multiple internet selves has opened up many people, including myself, to a lot of heartache. Self-dissipation becomes self-dissatisfaction. I spent years scattering myself into personality fragments on many different websites until I couldn't locate my whole self anywhere. These personality fragments became deeply embedded into distant servers. I felt that my persona had expanded out beyond my reach or control. The internet can contain that expanded personality, but that personality belongs to the internet and is not a part of your own body. You cannot possibly be ready to back up who you are on the internet with your own body because that internet self is not your body - its the internet's body. It takes work to accept that your personality is actually your own body. It takes language, all your senses, the repeated use of conceptual tools, teachers, rituals, failures, and some serious discipline to grow the self that is limited to your body. With any growth comes the possibility of dysfunction through dissipation. Our challenge today is to gather up those internet fragments and align them into a whole individual."
~ Kev Bewersdorf (http://extinct.ly/participants/#kev-bewersdorf)
Without new experiences we are left alone with our ideas, which themselves can be exploited. The algorithms have learned that exposure to different ideas can fuel a moral outrage that keeps us clicking, engaging, and posting. Nuance or concreteness aren’t profitable. Facts are elided and extreme versions of different ideas are presented to us to ensure that we remain emotionally engaged with a particular platform or community. Those responsible will argue that this is not the intent, but intention is not really the issue. The algorithm tests and tests and tests and finds approaches that work.
I thought about all the ways that we try to create this spectacle. It’s so much harder to document how we feel.