Facebook Society: Losing Ourselves in Sharing Ourselves

Facebook Society: Losing Ourselves in Sharing Ourselves

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Facebook claims that it is building a “global community.” Whether this sounds utopian, dystopian, or simply self-promotional, there is no denying that social-media platforms have altered social interaction, political life, and outlooks on the world, even for people who do not regularly use them. In this book, Roberto Simanowski takes Facebook as a starting point to investigate our social-media society—and its insidious consequences for our concept of the self.

Simanowski contends that while they are often denounced as outlets for narcissism and self-branding, social networks and the practices they cultivate in fact remake the self in their image. Sharing is the outsourcing of one’s experiences, encouraging unreflective self-narration rather than conscious self-determination. Instead of experiencing the present, we are stuck ceaselessly documenting and archiving it. We let our lives become episodic autobiographies whose real author is the algorithm lurking behind the interface. As we go about accumulating more material for the platform to arrange for us, our sense of self becomes diminished—and Facebook shapes a subject who no longer minds. Social-media companies’ relentless pursuit of personal data for advertising purposes presents users with increasingly targeted, customized information, attenuating cultural memory and fracturing collective identity. Presenting a creative, philosophically informed perspective that speaks candidly to a shared reality, Facebook Society asks us to come to terms with the networked world for our own sake and for all those with whom we share it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231182720
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 07/17/2018
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 296
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Roberto Simanowski is a German scholar of digital media and culture at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. His books include Data Love: The Seduction and Betrayal of Digital Technologies (Columbia, 2016) and Digital Humanities and Digital Media: Conversations on Politics, Culture, Aesthetics, and Literacy (2016).

Susan H. Gillespie is a noted translator from German and vice president for special global initiatives at Bard College. Her translations include numerous essays by Theodor W. Adorno, selected poems of Paul Celan, and other works of fiction, philosophy, and musicology.

Table of Contents

1. Stranger Friends
2. Automatic Autobiography
3. Digital Nation
Epilogue to the English Edition

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