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This thesis addresses how our personal dynamic technologies—from laptops and smartphones to email and social media accounts — shape our perceptions of the world. It puts the digitized interaction, as engagements with our technologies, at the center of this investigation, and frames the world we live in as a Dynamic Media Society. In this society, our interactions become authoring forces of value, with economic, cultural, and social implications.
Part I investigates the value of the digitized interaction as a new type of commodity from the standpoint of the user as consumer. Just as accumulation of wealth and consumption of their favorite brands offer consumers validation, the digitized interaction becomes an indicator of self-worth and identity. Facebook likes, endorsements on LinkedIn, and a high number of followers on Twitter can be seen as valuable commodities, informing the users' understanding of their role and place in the world.
In Part II, I examine the user as producer of such interactions. From this perspective, the technologies of production in a Dynamic Media Society can be seen as an infrastructure of reproduction composed of the producer and predictive computer modeling software. Hence, the creation of value in society can be articulated through a negotiation between the producer of data and the restructuring abilities of algorithmic systems of surveillance.
*My particular interest in new media is instigated by a public outcry of aversion — as seen in the New York Times, late-night talk shows, and a host of pop-scholarship — to the growing ubiquity of personal technologies. I believe this aversion is important, as it is a symptom of a drastic and revolutionary transition in our communication and information infrastructures. But the validity of these concerns needs to be critically examined. My generation, due to its privileged perspective straddling a before and after viewpoint, has a responsibility to reflect on what constant connectivity is actually changing.
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