Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Are you still there?

Something that I brought up in section and was discussed in lecture this week was the idea of legacy. In the morbid sense, I slowly discovered this semester that if something bad were to befall me—how would anyone know? My online trail, or legacy, would remain entirely intact.

In my life (as in many others), most of my relationships are manifested and maintained on the internet or various networks. Email, Facebook, and voicemail are the best ways to get in touch with me. If I were to suddenly disappear or leave my normal radius of travel, not many people outside of my close personal/geographical network would be able to ascertain anything has changed. My voicemail would continue to take messages, my Facebook would receive hits, emails and texts to me would be accepted. The requisite (but malleable) grace period of response in online banter can be anywhere from one hour to one week.

What if most of my relationships only see of me through a digitized medium? (I find this more and more the case compared to others as I went to boarding school and thus, my high school chums are situated all over the world). If my physical body changes locations or planes, my digital existence still remains static.

Has something actually happened? Did something change? If you send an email but it doesn’t bounce back, does it mean it arrived and/or was read?

Due to ease and accessibility, our digital personae become more tangible and real than our bodily selves. If the digital or mediated is not affected, has anything actually happened? Terranova defines information as “signal and noise”. What is one without the other? How is information continually re-defined?

-Nick White

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