Together-Alone in Digital ”Humanities” ?

Manovich emphasizes the fact that ‘the disappearance of division between surface and deep data hasn’t come yet’. One of his main points to refute this argument is that ‘‘we need to be careful of reading communications over social networks and digital footprints as ‘authentic.’

Peoples’ posts, tweets, uploaded photographs, comments, and other types of online participation are not transparent windows into their selves; instead, they are usually carefully curated and systematically managed. That led our tutorial to a fruitful discussion about how selective construction of our digital identity is and how conscious we are about it when we are using social networks. Are Digital Humanities anthropocentric after all? Or they are reflecting the loss of the human identity to the threat of singularity?

The digital connectivity and the global, cost-effective communications and collaborations are undoubtedly useful. However, by processing our discussions so far and by visiting the National Library of Scotland, I came across with Sherry’s Turkle book, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other where she explores this new type of loneliness that computers create and their influence in our everyday actual relationships. She believes that the virtual world has invaded harshly and abruptly into our familial and cultural lives, as we are expected to be constantly contactable (76). The boundaries between work and leisure fuse and the category of ‘real’ becomes questionable as it starts to get displaced by virtual settings which offer security and escape. With adults, adolescents, kids and toddlers exposed highly on technology and ‘approximately two billion people now tapping into the Internet and about five billion people using mobile phones’ (Greengard 17). I couldn’t help but wonder is digital isolation the next pathogenesis of our postmodern world as alienation was in the 20th century? Here is another video by Shimi Cohen  that was created as his Final Project at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design.Influenced by these opinions , he reinfornces the stated above argument through animation.

The Innovation of Lonelliness

This leads us to the hack and yack long-lasting debate in the field of DH. Koh, considers herself a Profhacker. Although they are not clearly binary opposites, what roughly happens is that the yack side feels reluctant to use digital tools and stresses the importance of thinking critically about them and the hack emphasizes their benefits for research. On the one hand, the web is time-efficient and provides innumerable size of corpora that you can store and explore. It works perfectly for Moretti’s ‘distant reading’ and world-wide projects, on the other hand, it fragments the  traditional nature of the book and deceives our perception of reading and research ( idea for the thickness of the e-book we are reading, in n-gram we have no access to the corpus etc.)

All things considered, the future of DH and thus, our daily lives is yet to be determined by the ways we experiment with the digital and allow the tools  to replace our  emotions and our social nature.

Works Listed:

My cover:  It was chosen to portray our dehumanization in this digital era.

Cover:  Glen Braddy.Together- Alone. 2006, 13 Oct. 2013.

Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together: Why we expect More from technology and less from each other? USA: Perseus Book Group, 2011. p.76-80 (for more info. see also her TEDx talk and the related article)

Manovich, Lev. Trending: the Promises and Challenges of Big Social Data.In Debates in the Digital Humanities. M. Gold (Ed.) Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012. Pp. 460-475. PDF

Shimi Cohen. The Innovation of being Lonely. 2013, 13 Oct. 2013. Web

Greengard, Samuel. Living in a Digital World, Communications of the ACM. 54:1 (2011): p17. EBSCO. Web

Koh, Adeleine. More Hack, Less Yack? Modularity, Theory and Habitus in Digital Humanities. Adeleine, Koh. 2012. 13 Oct. 2013.Web





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