The Post-Postmodernism Issue

Bleak, Shallow and Repetitive

Virtual life seems increasingly less worth living.
Virtual Suicide

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 countermovement, 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.

46 comments on the article “Bleak, Shallow and Repetitive”

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KenVallario

Real World? I'm not sure I understand the concept....he he...

i absolutely love the 1st paragraph, and i think that whole paragraph could be turned into a wonderful essay...i like the idea of the internet post-honeymoon...i like the idea of the internet culture ironically symbolizing modes of oppression...

however, my own experience with social networking, especially these later versions has been, with much surprise, that my local friendships have been enriched by them, and my immediate community has an interconnectedness that it might not otherwise have... i belong to a parents group that made it quite easy for me to arrange a playdate, it was secured by a vouching system and enabled me to participate in local socializing in a way that was less stressful than it would have been otherwise.

although, i think the problem of ignorance is one that will be, again, readily visible via our virtual world of doppelgangers, i think a case can be made for it as having a possible benefit to localized community building, as it allows us what language and social anxiety always struggled with, intimacy...you know, the whole 'letting our light shine' idea.

KenVallario

Real World? I'm not sure I understand the concept....he he...

i absolutely love the 1st paragraph, and i think that whole paragraph could be turned into a wonderful essay...i like the idea of the internet post-honeymoon...i like the idea of the internet culture ironically symbolizing modes of oppression...

however, my own experience with social networking, especially these later versions has been, with much surprise, that my local friendships have been enriched by them, and my immediate community has an interconnectedness that it might not otherwise have... i belong to a parents group that made it quite easy for me to arrange a playdate, it was secured by a vouching system and enabled me to participate in local socializing in a way that was less stressful than it would have been otherwise.

although, i think the problem of ignorance is one that will be, again, readily visible via our virtual world of doppelgangers, i think a case can be made for it as having a possible benefit to localized community building, as it allows us what language and social anxiety always struggled with, intimacy...you know, the whole 'letting our light shine' idea.

lamebook

Wow! I'm not sure what to say here. In the summer of 2004 my college roommate and I made the trek to Vancouver (from Texas) to visit the Adbusters headquarters, hoping to meet Kalle Lasn. Hugely influenced by Culture Jam (enough to get the ever-so-popular barcode tattoo), meeting him in person was, although brief, a pretty great feeling. And now, 6 years later, as one of the co-creators of Lamebook I'm both ecstatic and ... a bit stirred maybe? ... to be included in an Adbusters article. So thanks for the plug guys, and for giving me something to think about.

lamebook

Wow! I'm not sure what to say here. In the summer of 2004 my college roommate and I made the trek to Vancouver (from Texas) to visit the Adbusters headquarters, hoping to meet Kalle Lasn. Hugely influenced by Culture Jam (enough to get the ever-so-popular barcode tattoo), meeting him in person was, although brief, a pretty great feeling. And now, 6 years later, as one of the co-creators of Lamebook I'm both ecstatic and ... a bit stirred maybe? ... to be included in an Adbusters article. So thanks for the plug guys, and for giving me something to think about.

bookface

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 any facebook or virtual networking whatevers. im sure i cant be alone in this despite the style of quite a few adbusters 'what were all doing wrong' articles. theres always something to moan about, and if u get lucky, u might have moaned about something historical which now is now archived thanks to 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? is this the irony never elucidated in the above? i bet irenes just been deleted or something...

bookface

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 any facebook or virtual networking whatevers. im sure i cant be alone in this despite the style of quite a few adbusters 'what were all doing wrong' articles. theres always something to moan about, and if u get lucky, u might have moaned about something historical which now is now archived thanks to 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? is this the irony never elucidated in the above? i bet irenes just been deleted or something...

Ted

This is an awesome article. Thanks to the convenient "Share" link, I'm going to post it to Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit!

Ted

This is an awesome article. Thanks to the convenient "Share" link, I'm going to post it to Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit!

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