The book, “Seeing Ourselves Through Technology,” by Jill Walker Rettberg has four different chapters. Each chapter has different headlines explaining various topics. In my English class, we were to be assigned reading only Chapter 1. Chapter 1 has three different headlines with its examples and history of each way mortals self-represent themselves. The first headline explains the main idea of the book, thus being, the three different types of self-representation: written, visual, and quantitative. The following headlines share the history from where it all started, along with the comparison with how we represent ourselves now with new technology. The last headline shares how some mortals react to the unique, updated ways people express themselves to the public.
There are so many pieces of Chapter 1 in the book, “Seeing Ourselves Through Technology,” by Jill Walker Rettberg that I could talk about, I will only speak about the big ones that stood out for me and gave me food for thought on this post. The others I will be placing them under my, Making Connections Post.
Jill Walker towards the beginning of Chapter 1 she compares how we use digital technology to show ourselves, unlike Parmigianino, a Mannerist Artist meaning, “a sixteenth-century style of art and design characterized by artificially, elegance and sensuous distortion of the human figure, (Tate. “Mannerist-Art Term.” Tate, Tate, http://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/m/mannerist. Definition of Mannerist) used a convex mirror to see himself to paint a self-portrait, in 1524 using oil paints, to paint on the hollow inside half of a wooden ball to mimic the shape if the mirror he copied his reflection. (Rettberg, Jill Walker. Seeing Ourselves Through Technology: How We Use Selfies, Blogs, and Wearable Devices to See and Shape Ourselves. Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. Parmigianino self-portrait description) Way back in the day, human beings had to be creative. Nothing was handed to them, the way most things are given to us today.
The last piece of Chapter 1 shares NPR reporter, Scott Simm’s tweet about his mother’s final days of life. His tweet post tugged at my heart. I find it astonishing even in those phases of people’s lives someone has a negative outlook. For the most part, there were supporters, but there, unfortunately, discussion, “whether this was insensitive, or whether it invaded his mother’s privacy, or whether Simm could fully be present.” (Rettberg, Jill Walker. Seeing Ourselves Through Technology: How We Use Selfies, Blogs, and Wearable Devices to See and Shape Ourselves. Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.) From what I understand from written self-representation I think this was an example of using social media as a personal diary. I believe it is perfectly fine.
Comparing Self-Representations from the 1500’s to now 2018, technology and the way the world views each other and oneself has changed tremendously, along with how we represent ourselves to the world. Self-representations in writing didn’t become public until Augustine’s Confessions written in 397-8CE first autobiography was recognized. But even then it was rare to write about oneself. Now in 2018 people use the internet and social media to share one’s thoughts and also use a diary to handwrite feelings and internal reflections.
Quantitative self-representation is keeping track of numbers that are important to us. Regardless not everyone has a watch or app on their phones to track numbers we tend to find a way to make it work. For example, people in prison keep track of the time they have been locked up by making tally marks on walls. When Benjamin Franklin was alive, he used a diary, as farmers do nowadays to keep track of their crops.
Visual Representations is a hard way for people some people to express themselves. Like it says in Rettberg, Jill Walker. Seeing Ourselves Through Technology: How We Use Selfies, Blogs, and Wearable Devices to See and Shape Ourselves. Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. “we’ve been taught to hide; to be ashamed of overly rouged cheeks.” When we post on social media a visual of ourselves, some people like to be mean, or we have insecurities due to the fear of being judged.