Search results for digital dualism

There’s a song on the 1997 Chemical Brothers album Dig Your Own Hole that reminds one of your authors of driving far too fast with a too-close friend through a flat summer nowhere on a teenage afternoon (windows down, volume up). It’s called “Where Do I Begin,” and the lyric that fades out repeating as digital sounds swell asks: Where do I start? Where do I begin?*

Where do we start, or begin–and also, where do we stop? What and where is the dividing line between “you” and “not you,” and how can you tell? This is the first of a series of posts in which we will try to answer these sorts of questions by developing a theory of subjectivity specific to life within augmented reality.

As a thought experiment, consider the following: Your hand is a part of “you,” but what if you had a prosthetic hand? Are your tattoos, piercings, braces, implants, or other modifications part of “you”? What about your Twitter feed, or your Facebook profile? If the words that come from your mouth in face-to-face conversation (or from your hands, if you sign) are “yours,” are the words you put on your Facebook profile equally yours? Does holding a smartphone in your hand change the nature of what you understand to be possible, or the nature of “you” yourself? Theorists such as Donna Haraway, N. Katherine Hayles, Bruno Latour, and others have asked similar questions with regard to a range of different technologies. Here, however, we want to think specifically about what it means to be a subject in an age of mobile computing and increasingly ubiquitous access to digital information. more...

For a novelist, the route to publication is frequently strange and even more frequently frustrating. For me, one of those frustrations has been really frustrating because I get the distinct sense that I shouldn’t even feel that way.


Mary Chayko’s digitally well-connected class

One of the aspects of techno-social life that I’ll be looking at closely in my forthcoming book Superconnected: The Internet and Techno-Social Life is the reality of the online experience. To explore this issue in the classroom, I invited Nathan Jurgenson of this blog to tweet “live” with my “Mediated Communication in Society” class, billing him as a special guest speaker tweeter! Here I describe what I did, why I did it, how I did it — and what happened, much of it unexpected, as a result. more...

Cyborgology launched two years ago today [see the first post], and we have a little birthday party post today. Below you will find lists of the most popular articles generated over the past twelve months since our first birthday. But first, we’d like to let each Cyborgology Editor highlight one post they wrote in the past twelve months, and say a little something about that post, where it went after being published, and a little about blogging itself.  more...

The theory and policy of Internet connectivity has not kept pace with the increasing diversity of network access. The full variety of access points, social practices, and meaning created by networked individuals has not been critically engaged by most authors.  Jenna Burrell’s new book Invisible Users: Youth in the Internet Cafe’s of Urban Ghana is the start of a major corrective in the social sciences’ treatment of the Internet. For “nonelite urban youth” the internet café provides an opportunity to extend one’s social network outside of the zongo (colloquial term for slum) that they grew up in, and gain access to resources and contacts they would otherwise never acquire. A majority of Burrell’s work takes place in these cafés but we are also treated to a discussion of global ewaste streams, international consortiums on the “information society” and the collective reputation and shared meaning of Ghanaians  on the Internet. Burrell provides a broad, but at times penetratingly deep look at the Internet from the margins.  more...

The video above is a “funny” take on the role of Twitter in our everyday lives from this past summer (I think). I know, who cares about celebrities and nothing is less funny than explaining why something is funny. But because the video isn’t really that funny to begin with, we’ve nothing to lose by quickly hitting on some of the points it makes. Humor is a decent barometer for shared cultural understanding for just about everything, indeed, often a better measure than the op-eds and blog posts we usually discuss in the quasi-academic-blogosphere. Those who made this video themselves are trying to tap into mainstream frustrations with smartphones and social media and their increasingly central role in many of our lives. So let’s look at the three main themes being poked at here, and I’m going to do my best to keep this short by linking out to where I’ve made these arguments before.


40% of Twitter users who log in on a regular basis never tweet

Going viral was crippling

cyberpunk romanticisation of the ‘virtual’ plays a cultural role in propping up [digital dualism]

Drones will make traditional fences as obsolete as gunpowder & cannons made city walls

For the poor, there will be cyberspace

Percentage of folks living on a Native American reservation who have internet access: 10

Also, I find it important to make sure someone is real before meeting them, so hopefully you have a FB. This way you know that I am a real person and I know you are as well

“Gangnam Style” signals the emergence of irony in South Korea

The Enterprise crew was driving a misfiring IBM PC in the service of a quasi-neoliberal agenda

Data’s positronic brain doesn’t have Wi-Fi

here’s the order of what was important in my life: 1- Facebook 2- Myself 3- Food / Shelter 4- My gf 5- Family

Desired Skills: Klout Score of 35 or higher

Follow Nathan on Twitter: @nathanjurgenson


we may risk, in being so concentrated in demolishing digital dualism, overestimating just how enmeshed the digital and analogue are

I’ve lost remaining tolerance of people who talk about Facebook as if it’s all trivia. Mine is full of death & pain. As well as the mundane

Just had lovely dinner for a friend’s birthday, met interesting people, had a perfect night. No one took any photos. What a waste of time

If there’s anything Americans love more than expensive outdoor recreation equipment, bacon, and wars of choice, it’s innovation

Google is acting like a court, deciding what content it keeps up and what it pulls  — all without the sort of democratic accountability or transparency we have come to expect

how do we build and teach a new form of civics that takes advantage of what seems to work best offline and online?

If TED took a turn to leftist (or any) critique, Žižek, the professor of “toilets and ideology,” would be the keynote speaker

Ten, 20 years from now, the legacy of [Facebook] should be, we have connected everyone in the world

Becoming yourself is largely a matter of becoming someone who is paid attention to

Human self-awareness is multiplying itself onto an altogether new plane

If the internet ideal inspired the protest movements of the past year, it’s little wonder they’re struggling

Instagram is the new go-to platform for saying “I live a full life and here is photographic proof”

technological autonomy may be the single most important problem ever to face our species and the planet as a whole

Facebook’s basic material is the paradox of identity, the principle of self-presentation that can be undone by others

an uncritical embrace of automation, for all the efficiency that it offers, is just a prelude to dystopia

Analog stuff is popular online

Follow Nathan on Twitter: @nathanjurgenson


I’ve recently been auditing a course with Jason Farman on “Space, Place, and Identity in the Digital Age” and he assigned a piece that was so profoundly relevant to this blog that I had to post about it immediately.

Lev Manovich’s 2006 article “The poetics of augmented space” published in Visual Communication (which he had apparently been working on since 2002 [edit: the article was actually first published in 2002]) is the earliest that I am aware of anyone using the term “augmented reality” in the broader sociological context of social interaction that flows between digital and physical (as opposed to the more limited computer science definition that describes it as merely the overlaying of digital information on the physical environment). more...

I’ve been thinking on and off since mid-summer about a hole I’ve identified in our collective theorizing of augmented reality. To illustrate it, imagine the following conversation:

Digital Dualist: ‘Online’ and ‘offline’ are two distinct, separate worlds!
Me: That’s not true. ‘Online’ and ‘offline’ are part of the same augmented reality.
Digital Dualist: Are you saying that ‘online’ and ‘offline’ are the same thing?
Me: No, of course not. Atoms and bits have different properties, but both are still part of the same world.
Digital Dualist: So ‘online’ and ‘offline’ are different, but not different worlds?
Me: Correct.
Digital Dualist: But if they’re not different worlds, then what kind of different thing are they?

I don’t know about you, but this is where I get stuck.