Thursday, 11 May 2017

The iPod People

I've been reading the book 'Invasion of The Body Snatchers' and I'll be damned if those pod people don't sound a lot like some Facebook friends I've known.

The passion is still there in them but, because it's all wrapped up in Facebook, it may as well not even exist.  Taken out of real-time circulation. Their shape still exists as a data trace, but the substance has been extracted. Or to be more honest, it's been dumped as excess baggage, due to space constraints. (The medium is inadequate to transmit it, you see).

After their transformation from reality to Facebook, we can still access exact replicas of our friends: see their familiar smiles and poses, their recognizable styles, hear their unique speech patterns, but it's all just a representation. Leftovers, placeholders of what and where they used to be. They still appear to exist and can be tracked through a series of snapshots - evidence always gathered after the fact, having always passed you by without a tangible trace.

A dead friend is never forgotten but a vanished Facebook friend? They may as well have never existed. One presence is bought at the expense of another, the more you pay the less there is value, in the end.  

Facebook makes you a caretaker to your avatar, reassembling you in cybernetic units made up of the snapshots, soundbites, tunes and memes: personalities reconfigured to suit a data farmer's needs. The precision of that fabrication can never be resurrected in the flesh (and its emptiness  is usually unwelcome there anyway). Each time that avatar's clarity sharpens, a part of the person it's made of vanishes into the mainframe to sustain it.

A Facebook friend's avatar always has time to chat and 'share' and laugh, even as the real person behind it becomes ever more remote: a vacancy on the street, in your flat, at the end of your phone line.

Facebook is a vessel... but what for?  Nothing that really matters, that's for sure.

No comments:

Post a Comment