I can agree with a basic principle that as social networking sites become more prevalent as well as addictive, more people apparently & unfortunately appear incapable, uncommon or unwilling in the ability of online disconnect. Too much emphasis on virtuality with the web. Too much precious life is being wasted with vegging out infront of the computer screen zombified by the internet. As much as I like Adbusters mag for its design aspect, provocative graphics, activist anti-consumer stance and intelligent rants about pertinent issues in which system control is continued through the often harm of indifference or fear to challenge questionable authority, what happens when all that railing from a messenger/facilitator is criticized as contradictory & hypocritical? Can the outlet be one properly accused of harboring/catering to pretentious, pompous, elitist hipster-douchebags?
(with thanks and apologies to ADBUSTERS magazine)
by Irene Angelopoulos
Now that the thrill of our hyper-connected existence is gone, virtual life has become a depressing daily grind. We toil late into the night, unleashing an endless stream of status updates and tweets in a desperate attempt to keep ourselves relevant, desirable and in. There’s an ominous irony in FarmVille, a Facebook application that enables users to build and maintain a virtual farm. It’s more than a game: It’s an allegory. Virtual existence is feudalism for the modern age. Those who hold the information are kings and those of us toiling in the virtual fields are the servile peasantry: selling our souls for the mind-numbing comfort of an online existence. Social Networking Sites (SNSs) promise limitless, boundless friendship – a phenomenon that should make us happier than ever. But our optimism over connectivity has gradually morphed into cynicism and resentment. It turns out virtual life is less about connectivity than self-branding. SNSs entice us to divulge and update, stroking our fragile egos with filtered ads that utilize our personal information to reap huge profits, as our hundreds of “friends” perpetually rate our online popularity. Paranoid about how we’ll be perceived, we spend hour after hour trying to avoid the virtual consequences of being deemed uncool. We have more to worry about than our online acquaintances deleting us after we’re tagged in an unflattering photo. Sites like Lamebook, devoted to reposting cliché status updates and socially awkward wall exchanges, humiliate those virtual personas who are unfamiliar with the web’s mores and codes. Bleak, shallow and repetitive, virtual life seems increasingly less worth living. Users are beginning to realize that it’s not leisure, it’s work that borders on servitude. But there’s a resistance growing among those tired of their virtual subjugation. In response to the electronic world’s rising indignation, virtual suicide sites like seppukoo.com and suicidemachine.org have started a counter-movement, provoking users to kill their online selves and reclaim their real lives. These programs assist our virtual deaths by hacking into our profiles, completely annihilating our online personas and leaving no trace of our former selves behind. It’s social revolt for the online age: a mass uprising that will shatter the virtual hierarchy and restore order to our actual lives.
(FROM CRITIQUE TO CRITICISM)
Will Adbusters ever stop lamenting and complaining and actually do something? Your pessimistic TALK is uninspiring, misplaced and becoming more irrelevant by the day. You know what would be really revolutionary? Actually inspiring people, rather than reinforcing negative perceptions of reality - which are just that: perceptions. You're smart people and have the potential to be leaders, but you continue to follow boomer-style cynicism which results in a paralyzing sense of powerlessness. People stop reading Adbusters for this reason and you fail to utilize the immense power you hold as a publication speaking to sharp young minds.
This article sounds very much like a 3am blog rant. One of those over dramatic girl blog updates... huff huff just to put a balance on the 'we' word used rather quickly to seem as if this article speaks for many; I dont use any facebook or virtual networking whatevers. I'm sure I cant be alone in this despite the style of quite a few adbusters "what we're all doing wrong" articles. Theres always something to moan about and if u get lucky, u might have moaned about something historical which is now archived thanks to the good ole internet. An online article moaning about online networking doesnt seem too valid really. To be worried about an online avatar being worried about being uncool? Irony alluded to in the above or what? I bet this'll be deleted or something...
Doesn't adbusters have a facebook page? That they want people to add and read it's updates, and buy the magazine? I wouldn't be surprised if adbusters has a twitter also and a myspace... I don't understand how anyone could bash facebook or social networking websites when they use them themselves. I am not a fan of social networking as I think it is creating a generation of socially awkward individuals that can't give eye contact. However, I find it to be incredibly hypocritical for anyone to write against it when they probably use it themselves. I will bet $10 that the person who wrote this article has a facebook page. Ego stroke indeed... I am a fan of adbusters and agree with most of what is said within it's pages, just for the record.
The analysis is correct, the cause identified but the solution is wrong. This shouldn't be about people destroying their online existence but about them regaining it. Like it or not, cyberspace has become an integral part of our llife and it interacts on a daily basis with reality in society. People don't need a recipy for virtual suicide but a survival manual to make sure that SNS's don't become the new 'opium for the masses'.
— Michael Wolf