Future of What or, Abstractions of Self in an Online Oblivion

Image of Unwounds studio album Future of White, a black and white modernist affair with cubist illustrated building and stark blacn and white background

Unwound’s studio album Future of What, a modernist affair with cubist illustrated building and stark black and white background

Just finished a vinylcast on #ds106radio of Unwound’s 1995 album Future of What while I came up with an idea for a possible talk at OER24 in Cork. I’m going regardless, and tomorrow is the deadline so I might be remiss, but I would love to be able to present something semi-intelligible at my very favorite conference. I’m not sure this is it, but it is the beginning of something for sure…

This presentation will be a meditation on the changing nature of one’s online self when corporate social media has all but colonized the web. The moment wherein social media companies rise to the level of geopolitical powerhouses with seemingly limitless resources viz-a-viz billions and billions of individualized data points has arrived. The question many are struggling with in the aftermath is whether resistance is futile and assimilation into the pod-cast-people inevitable. 

All of this is further complicated by the rise of the machines in the form of artificial intelligence hype at the precise moment when social media diaspora and online existential crises are at peak levels not only for higher education, but for any soul interested in being social online in 2024.

The digital storytelling course ds106 is taking all these questions head-on during the Spring 2024 semester, across three universities and an open contingent, the attempt to usurp the pervading sense of powerlessness underlined by a dreadful seriousness with a healthy, sustained dose of  playful collegiality wherein we learn to interrogate the tools being used to access and exploit the immense pools of data collected over the previous twenty years of the social media free-for-all. The future of what is what this session will be.

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