to tweet is human

One of my favorite writers to read on technology and what it does to us is Max Read (does anyone else still think about his piece for New York mag’s future issue last year, In 2029, the Internet Will Make Us Act Like Medieval Peasants, like alllll the time??), so of course when I saw his latest for Bookforum, a “psychoanalytic reading of social media and the death drive,” it warranted an immediate click. 

I’ve been wanting to find something that gets at the ever-stranger role that social media is playing during this global pandemic + literal slow-burn of an apocalypse: that is, without the ability to be really be physically present in the workplaces and social spaces where we usually telegraph the events of our lives or display our passions or even do a little virtue-signalling on what we think about all this, we’re trying to reduce and cram the multitude experience of our existence into coy little IG Stories or a good tweet. I think it flattens our sense of self and our perceptions of others; also, I think it makes The Timeline just really deadening because even the most throwaway observation feels like it has to be couched with “so we’re all going to die, but dang ha ha here is a selfie / a wry observation about croissants.” 

Read’s piece investigates this unsettling state of our social media and takes it further, with a conclusion that at first feels like just your average shit post — maybe we tweet because “we seek oblivion in discourse,” AKA, we all kinda ha ha want 2 die?? 

Anyway, you’ll devour it all and ESPECIALLY the exquisite use of a certain Paul Heyer painting that deserves some kind of meditative writeup all on its own; if anyone knows where I can get a framed print of it to remind me of how we use tech to supersede our mortality, lmk. 


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