Social media has changed the way we live our lives. It has replaced the way we communicate between one another and even where we get our news from. What’s even more remarkable is that it happened so fast, that people hardly realised just how much it had affected their lives. There are many positive and negative aspects associated to such a highly technological world within social media due to its complexity and yet, we have only just scratched the surface. Naturally, its fair to saytechnological advancements have made communications far more accessible by people around the globe on both a personal and professional level.
However, some people feel that social media sites such as Facebook (Facebook, 2017) are replacing the need of face to face interaction. Furthermore, online interactions may become a substitute for human contact itself. Social media can encourage a user to post things through it’s false impression of reality. With both positive and negatives in mind, we have to remember that social media will continue to grow, encompassing more of our lives and capturing our identities and it will be down to us as a society to whether we remain in control of technology or let technology control us. This concept of false unification can be seen predominately in Guy Debord’s theory of the Spectacle, with reference to ‘Separation Perfected’ and ‘The Commodity of the Spectacle’ in his book “Society and the Spectacle” (Debord, 1967).
Essentially the Spectacle operates as a non-human third-party presence, a controller of our social interactions which we automatically allow as we believe we our building relations with other people but realistically this mechanism is our only relation. The spectacle today however, has changed into a variety of other formats. It can be found on every screen you see; from the advertisements you see downtown to the pop up adds on your internet browser. The spectacle has now merged with our reality, feeding us continuous fragments of commodifiable information through both image and text which we now take in a lot quicker. At this moment, “over 40% of the world’s population uses the internet” (InnovationVisual.com, 2018) with a total of “1.37 billion daily active users on Facebook” (Newsroom.fb.
com, 2018) and it now seems increasingly difficult to escape this ever adapting presence that has become so much apart of our lives, that we can now no longer live without it. This dissertation will look more into Guy Debord’s theory of the Spectacle and how new technologies have changed this theory over time whilst also considering how a difference of medium can alter the amount of information we take in. To do this I will be analyzing various texts discussing the development of Debord’s concept of the spectacle whilst searching case studies on both the positives and negatives of being a highly digital civilization.