Photo © Nick Wilson 2011
Articles such as 'The Long Tail' and 'Why the Future Doesn't Need Us' are regarded as landmarks of Wired magazine's long history of trailblazing articles and this month's cover story, rather worryingly titled 'Your Life Torn Open: Sharing is a Trap' further adds to that canon. Wired has something of an uncanny ability to distill our collective consciousness into something succinct and readable and Andrew Keen's article is a perfect example.
Keen's story is at times a scary, dystopian vision of social networking, comparing the loss of privacy that comes with our Facebook profiles to Josef K's nightmare in Kafka's 'The Trial'. At other times however, he sees the social media boom as relvelatory, claiming these times we are living in are akin to the Renaissance or other 'game changing' eras in the history of man:
"While social media," he writes "for all its superhuman ability to see through walls, might not quite guarantee immortality, its impact is certainly of immense historical significance, equal, in its own way, to the early industrial revolution."
More relevant perhaps, and more timely certainly, is a quote he pulls from Katie Roiphe who states that "Facebook is the novel we are all writing" and I would like to extend that by claiming it's not only 'the novel we're all writing' but also the film we are all making and the photos we're all taking.
Wired's cover story could not be more timely.
As "The Social Network" presses for Oscar glory in a couple of days, cinemas host the slightly creepy "Catfish", making viewers rush to set their Facebook profiles to private and the furore over Michael Wolf's World Press Photo Winning images continues to rage, it seems the impact of our socially media-ized society is beginning to feel it's way into our cultural discourse.
We can only imagine that this will only become the way of the future for filmmakers and photographers; projects that are directly integrated with the way we live our lives: no doubt we will begin to see a plethora of projects that contain nothing more than movies of our mornings and exhibitions of our afternoons.
Keen observes this current 'tipping point' as a time when our "data-driven 'links' economy is being replaced by Facebook's people-powered 'likes'."
In the world of the visual arts only time will tell how many of these types of projects continue to make it beyond the realm which they were created for and into the box office and onto the photo contest podium but for now it's a great indicator of where the film business and the world of the image maker are heading and - at least - a must read article.
Guardian: Why The Social Network Should Win
DVAfoto on Michael Wolf
Thursday, February 24, 2011