Digital Dualism is old? Now we experience an Augmented Reality?

I really enjoyed reading the article IRL Fetish by Nathan Jurgenson as it made me think critically about the online world, specifically social media, and how it is influencing our behaviour. My classmates Harmony, Amy, Jillian, Andrew and Genna also made connections to this article and raise similar questions to me on how we can find balance in our lives and how we cannot discredit the power of the online world as it has great potential to savour moments and create positive change.

Photo Credit: winnifredxoxo via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: winnifredxoxo via Compfight cc

So for my selected reading this week, I decided to delve deeper into how social media is influencing our lives and chose another reading by Jurgenson called Digital Dualism versus Augmented Reality. With the increased use of social media every day in our lives it has caused us to classify between being present in the digital world (online) and the physical world (offline), this can be referred to as digital dualism. But is this idea outdated?

Nathan Jurgenson thinks it is, he argues that although digital dualists see “the digital world is ‘virtual’ and the physical world ‘real’” (2011) they are not separate, they are mashed. Our online and offline lives are so intertwined we aren’t creating a second person in the virtual world, but rather living out our lives in the both the virtual and physical worlds and they both influence each other. A more proper term would be White’s term of visitors and residents. Although some of us see the internet as a collection of tools and don’t leave a trace and others see at as a collection of places and are still present even when they log off, there is no “second self.” The digital world directly influences our physical world and our physical world directly influences the digital world.

Jurgenson purposes an “alternative of view that states that our reality is both technological and organic, both digital and physical, all at once” (2011). Our reality is not a digital dualism, but rather an augmented reality. We are past the point of separating our digital self and our physical self. Digital dualism is old news. We are now living in “one reality, one that is augmented by atoms and bits. And our selves are not separated across these two spheres as some dualistic “first” and “second” self, but is instead an augmented self” (Jugenson, 2011).

He concludes his post by raising a critical question about our lives being influenced by social media in this augmented reality.

Is a reality augmented by digitality a good thing?

There are many opposing viewpoints on this question and to some degree I think it is a good thing, but then in another I think we need to really look at this critically.

During the first week of class, we were shared two videos that encompass this idea of an augmented reality.

The first video was Photos Every Day.


In this video I see people being so obsessed with taking photos and showcasing the lives they want to show. They edit, filter, retake, and delete until they have the perfect photo.

This video gives me a bit of a bad taste in my mouth and my answer to the question “Is a reality augmented by digitality a good thing?” would be NO.

But then, in the video FaceTime Every Day, I get a totally different feeling.

My answer to the question “Is a reality augmented by digitality a good thing?” would be YES.

I believe Turkle has summed up my viewpoint at this time about our augmented reality in her recent article, Stop Googling, Let’s Talk. She says, “it is not about giving up our phones but about using them with greater intention” (Turkle, 2015). We always talk about purpose and authenticity when we educate. Maybe we should think about this with our phones and social media. What is our purpose? Is it really necessary to check it now or is it just filling a void? Are generally using your phone for authentic purposeful reasons or just to be on it and connect? Sometimes I think we confuse meaningful/purposeful connections with just going on to connect… But I could be wrong.

References:

N Jurgenson. (2011, February 24). Digital Dualism versus Augmented Reality. Retrieved from http://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/2011/02/24/digital-dualism-versus-augmented-reality/

S Turkle. (2015, September 26). Stop Googling, Let’s Talk. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/27/opinion/sunday/stop-googling-lets-talk.html?_r=2

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