The tweet is the new photograph

I am reading Susan Sontag’s seminal book On Photography from 1977. It’s interesting reading the book in an age where the act of photographing the world has exploded beyond what Sontag could have imagined – even though her critique of everyday photography takes the mass proliferation of the acquired image as its starting point.

I am struck how social media in general, but especially the tweet or WhatsApp, Instagram or Snapchat message, have directly replaced the role of the photograph in everyday life. As you read the following, replace ‘photograph’ with ‘tweet’ (etc.).

“A photograph is not just the result of an encounter between an event and a photographer; picture-taking is an event in itself, and one with ever more peremptory rights—to interfere with, to invade, or to ignore whatever is going on. Our very sense of situation is now articulated by the camera’s interventions. The omnipresence of cameras persuasively suggests that time consists of interesting events, events worth photographing. This, in turn, makes it easy to feel that any event, once underway, and whatever its moral character, should be allowed to complete itself—so that something else can be brought into the world, the photograph. After the event has ended, the picture will still exist, conferring on the event a kind of immortality (and importance) it would never otherwise have enjoyed.” (P. 11)

The act of social mediation, in its various forms, is ‘one with ever more peremptory rights’… Positively, the act of acquisition is an intervention that, with critical decisiveness, demonstrates the learning agency afforded by social media.

Advertisements

About amiddlet50

Educational developer working in academic innovation in higher education in the UK
This entry was posted in Digital Placemaking, Literacies and intelligence, Possibilities, social media for learning and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s