A Cyborgologist On What Facebook and Google Glass Really Mean

jurgensonThis week the Mindful Cyborgs podcast interviewed Nathan Jurgenson, the co-founder of the site Cyborgology, co-founder of the Theorizing the Web conference, a contributing editor at The New Inquiry and a sociology graduate student at the University of Maryland.

There’s a full transcript on Technoccult, or you can listen to or download the audio from Soundcloud or iTunes.

Here are some excerpts:

If you’ve taken a lot of photos, if you’re a photographer and you spend a lot of time with the camera in your hand or up your eye. You develop the thing that is called the “camera eye,” that is even when the camera is not at your eye you start to see the world through the logic of the camera mechanism. You see the world as a potential photo with a framing, lighting, the depth of field and so forth. And that’s called the camera eye and I think social media, especially Facebook, has given us the sort of documentary vision or the Facebook eye where you see the world as a potential Facebook post or tweet or Instagram photo.

That is you see the present as always this potential future past, this sort of nostalgic view of the present. I don’t think it takes us out of the moment. Some people say that, that you’re not experiencing life in the moment because you’re worried about posting it on Facebook. I think that’s just a different experience of the moment. But it’s worth debating whether that’s a better experience or worse experience.

What Eric Schmidt was getting at when he was talking about how using a smartphone is emasculating and you need to have this Google Glass that is somehow more masculine or something like that. It was really, I thought, offensive. And I think the correct reading of that was that the smartphone, now, everybody has a smartphone. How can you look like you’re a rich, powerful man if you have this thing that everybody has?

Well, there’s Google Glass now and again reinforces how what a cellphone used to do. When people see you wearing the Google Glass will say oh, well, you’re an important rich, powerful man. It’s really I think sad in sort of an offensive way to market that product. They’ve done a terrible job marketing Google Glass I think.

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  • Ted Heistman

    I think technology has the capability of eventually causing people to transcend time and space. Its already happening, but I see it intensifying. Ubiquitous computing ephemeralization and so forth.

  • echar

    How can you look like you’re a rich, powerful man if you have this thing that everybody has?

    People who think they need things to be more than have issues imo. The map is not the way, the image is not the human. Heck, if we listen to BuzzCoastin’s continuous message, a smartphone (technology) makes us less than.

    I can say from experience as a person who has went without transportation that I have learned more from walking miles in bitter environments, than if I had sat comfortably in a controlled environment. At the very least it gave me character and some good stories.

    • Craig Bickford

      I am so glad I had no money to pay for the ridiculous 30 data fees for my smart phone last year, and have subsequently not reinstated the phone into service. It was becoming a new addiction. Now if I could just stop playing internet spaceship games (which are serious business btw) and reading posts on Disinfo.com I would be on the path back to humanity. One of those things is probably not going to happen.

      • echar

        Playing spaceship games and reading disinfo.com trumps being a sucker any day. I’d wake and bake everyday, eat sugary cereal, and watch cartoons in my underwear If I could get away with it. Alas… woe is me… nail me to the tree of woe… etc…

  • BuzzCoastin

    interesting that Cyborgs are wondering if they will become Cyborgs
    yet they
    eat fake pill food, work in digital salt mines or worse, live in toxic environments,
    and ordered about by Cyborg cops
    but still they wonder

    there must be an app for that