Being on Instagram naturally extended this feeling. I could quickly let hundreds and then thousands of people immediately know about a new relationship, success, or experience. Others’ experience of my identity became mine to design. I felt like a god, being able to control people’s perceptions of myself in this way. Like Natasha Stagg’s protagonist in Surveys, who admits, “When I'm on a roll, I feel like I'm DJing the Internet.” It was thrilling, and it was hell.
For as long as I can remember, I have felt a hyper sense of awareness of who might be watching and what they might be thinking. There was no particular moment when I started to feel this way. Instead, working to always watch myself from an outside perspective feels like a precondition of being inside of my own mind.
“It’s this third person that’s not existed to any other generation [...] It’s in your head all the time.”
Social media—it's just the market's answer to a generation that demanded to perform, so the market said, here: Perform everything to each other, all the time, for no reason. It's prison. It's horrific. It's performer and audience melded together. What do we want more than to lie in our bed at the end of the day and just watch our life as a satisfied audience member? I know very little about anything. But what I do know is that if you can live your life without an audience, you should do it.”
The history of networked technology is, and has been from its very genesis, a history of building hot girls