I’ve spent the majority of my day dissolving myself in layers upon layers of technical writing, business plans, copy edits, consultations, proposals, and articles, anything I could use for some concrete writing examples, and you know what I’ve discovered? That joke I have about living the majority of my life behind non-disclosure agreements is more true than I considered. I don’t think of documents as isolated work, but as it turns out, maybe I should.
Almost all of the design work I’ve done, the packaging, the clever promotions, even the press releases, are locked. Weeks of my life seem to have been swallowed up in what might be considered completely invisible work. Only the trashier articles are freely my copyright – the ghost-written fetish tartlet interviews, the essays on how the McCarthy Era is to blame for Japan’s end-of-the-bell-curve pornography industry – very little I would be comfortable shopping to prospective employers. ‘Course, I don’t show them here, either, for very similar reasons. (It’s the rare page that even carries my real name.)
Which brings me, (if sideways), to something Juan and I were discussing the other day, the self-referential use of digital cameras that’s begun to quietly permeate our culture. People will go dancing, bring a camera, take a picture, show it to everyone, pass the camera around, keep dancing, keep taking pictures, keep pausing to look at them. Micro documentation, preserving a moment while living it. Especially odd considering that these pictures don’t usually go anywhere and are rarely looked at again. They’re hard-drive space.
What I think is interesting is how people are beginning to tailor the way they act in public for things like photos they know will inevitably end up on-line. I have articles I sign with a pen name, which I thought was almost shallow of me, but apparently I’m not as self-conscious as I thought. I overheard a woman on the bus talking on her cell-phone the other day, passionately discussing how she only wears make-up if she knows there will be “technology types” at a party. She felt “liberated” that she was going to a “hippy house” where no one would have cameras.
Spaz.Mike had a nice little essay on post-scarcity that I feel relates, about how the web is bringing around the death of celebrity, a topic we hash out together with some regularity, and I’d like to take that a little farther and say that it’s taking what’s left and spreading it thin, sure, but it’s spreading it over us. Our personal narratives have become individual expression painted entirely by collective context. We have begun wearing the behaviour of miniature celebrities, even when we’re not aware of it. Our journals are quietly expanding their borders, leaking out into full scale multimedia presentations that saturate our real life social interactions, as if our constant connection to the network is warping us from observers into the content itself. We The Public learning to manage Being Public.
Me, I like it. What about you?
edit: speaking of celebrity vs. real people – Go vote for Mike as That 1 Guy! He’s almost at number one!