Earlier this week, I had a thoroughly enjoyable day at Ian Paul’s Festival of Theology event, a day devoted to eight TED-talk style presentations, each followed by questions. If you don’t already know him, Ian Paul is the blogger at Psephizo—you really should follow his work, he has some exciting things in the pipeline. The day was very successful and there should be other such events in the future!
I gave a presentation on the subject of virtue ethics in a virtual age. Ian has just posted a version of it over on his blog. Do take a look!
The novelty of the Internet and of social media in particular lies in the extent to which our selves and communities are migrating to a realm of representations, spectacle, and simulation, virtual realms that are steadily replacing many aspects of the realities. As the French philosopher Guy Debord wrote in the 1960s, observing the direction society was heading even in his own day: ‘Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation.’
The ‘self’ on social media is primarily a represented self, an artifice or projection, constrained by the media in which it operates. You can be whoever you want on Facebook, provided you express that self in the structures that Facebook affords you. For instance, whatever self you express, that self will exist within a framework that is designed to make you scrutable to algorithms and marketable to advertisers.
Read the full piece here.