Measure for measure: Moving from narratives to timelines in social media networking

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

A variety of prose genres, from the memoir to the novel, commonly represent individual lives in terms of sequential narratives recounted by a single voice. Mapped onto the personal, this trope seems fundamental to the very structure of prose writing, capaciously bestowing an underlying, unifying sense of purpose around the numerous events and relations that constitute everyday experience. Distinct from this paradigm, cultural theorist Roberto Simanowski in "The Compelling Charm of Numbers" [1] criticizes Facebook's relatively recent addition of a personal timeline to each individual account as a kind of failed "diary in that that it doesn't describe - or record - experiences at the end of the day, week or month." This paper re-evaluates the declining use of narrativity as one of modernity's primary symbolic forms, arguing that the increased cultural interest in quantifying social and individual relations does not necessarily imply a corresponding loss in critical self-reflection, as Simanowski implies. Rather, Facebook's timeline may, instead, be considered as following broader scientific concerns for building more objective, algorithmically consistent epistemologies free from cultural bias. Refuting Simanowski's own category of "technical naturalism" to describe these new epistemologies, I will propose that social media tools like timelines can provide new frameworks for technical communicators in their study of human interaction both on and offline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2013 IEEE International Professional Communication Conference, IPCC 2013
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 9 2013
Event2013 IEEE International Professional Communication Conference, IPCC 2013 - Vancouver, BC, Canada
Duration: Jul 15 2013Jul 17 2013

Publication series

NameIEEE International Professional Communication Conference
ISSN (Print)2158-091X
ISSN (Electronic)2158-1002

Other

Other2013 IEEE International Professional Communication Conference, IPCC 2013
CountryCanada
CityVancouver, BC
Period7/15/137/17/13

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Engineering(all)

Keywords

  • Facebook
  • Linguistic algorithms
  • Narrativity
  • Social media

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