No Subject | Documentary Idea
by John Love
(Kibbutz Revivim, Israel)
[No Subject] Documentary Idea: A personal look at the compartmentalization of society and how our modern lives have turned our friends and families, those that we know best and love most, into a commodity.
My thrill when first making long lost contact, when welcoming friends back into the fold of my daily activities, was soon overwhelmed with a sense of how little I cared for their daily activities. While many of them were posting everything from long involved accounts of their daily accolades or just something funny they found online, I found I was living a pattern of apathy and neglect. I simply scrolled past the feeds that were uninteresting until I saw or read something that appealed to my own sense of compassion or humor. The lives of people I knew for much of my own life were a glut of information to be selectively chosen as if my own taste was the internet's pinnacle of importance.
From the early days of Bulletin Board postings and fledgling years of the world wide web, message boards on AoL, to today's ubiquitous names of facebook, blogs, twitter and pinterest--the only goal of these ventures was and is to entertain. Now, much is being forfeited. While pundits broadcast about objectification of people world wide, there is a silent sinister objectification of every person of their own volition.
Mass media and social media steer our opinions; internet groups promote a sense of belonging while simultaneously reducing us to numbers and traffic statistics. Groups of people are praised and demonized --from religious affiliations through to biases by occupation and even other internet interest groups-- and vitriol and polemic speech can turn supporting, caring social media into forums of hate and defamation. The internet has at once galvanized many of us, and compartmentalized us into what we can sell, how we can profit, what will make us laugh, and all of it possible without ever physically interacting with another human being.
People have their histories, stories, opinions and identities objectified when a person's perceived worth is measured in how many electronic friends, followers and likes they have. Social media is giving people the view that their friends and family are online sources of entertainment and then the connection between these people becomes merely superficial. These people (real people we know and genuinely care for) become objects for our entertainment, a commodity-- for many, a luxury. When we become as interested in our facebook feed as we are with the tabloid headlines we have lost our connection with reality-- that we are in fact the cumulative evolution of millions of years of life on this planet. We are, literally, the latest collection of self-aware cells in the universe.
But what are millions of people choosing for themselves, essentially voting with every tap and mouse click?