As the ever-growing prevalence of media in our lives continues to disrupt our notion of identity, how can we dictate who we really are in today’s world?
Joining Tracey for episode 2 of The Future of You to consider digital media’s role in our quest for identity are Andrew McLuhan - Director of The McLuhan Institute & grandson of renowned Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan - and Henry Jenkins - noted author & Professor at the University of Southern California.
In this fascinating discussion we touch on social media’s acceleration of topics in the public consciousness, how our sense of identity can be split and shared based on simultaneous experiences & fandoms, and the violence of language surrounding identity.
This episode of The Future of You covers:
- How media’s rapid pace of change is assaulting our sense of identity
- Social media’s propulsion of essential issues around race & gender
- The violent multiplicity of language surrounding identity
- Podcasting’s effect on the intimacy of radio as a platform
- Finding identity in shared, collective experiences with fandoms
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“Our identities are so constantly under assault, that it seems where we're constantly looking to understand who we are, and realising that we don't know who that is. A lot of that has to do with the scale, but mainly the speed of change these days.” - 6:00 - Andrew McLuhan
“A hashtag like Black Lives Matter assembles stories that at one time would have been locally discrete incidents, and helps people see the pattern between them. So in those ways, I think that media has accelerated what are already social tensions.” - 11:10 - Henry Jenkins
“Even the language around identity seems to be somewhat violent, like we speak of how your identity is forged. Forging a piece of iron or steel is a violent process. But then there's also forging as in a forgery, which is an interesting way to think about it too.” - 16:00 - Andrew McLuhan
“At the first commercial break, we can start to respond to a piece of media on Twitter or some other social media platform and all that apparatus has been shrunk by the emergence of the Internet. Therefore, when something becomes easier to do, more people do it.” - 25:15 - Henry Jenkins
“I think that, in the case of the earbud, the medium is the message. We have the intimacy of a voice directly in our ear, almost directly in our brain, which changes our relationship to radio.” - 37:50 - Henry Jenkins
“I don't like to have earbuds in while listening to things. I like to be more attuned to my environment, and hear the sounds going on around me. When you've got the earbuds in they are at the exclusion of everything else, and to me - kind of related to split identities - this creates split experiences.” - 41:40 - Andrew McLuhan
“Netflix and other streaming services now do premieres, debuts, and that switches the dynamic from personal consumption to a group activity, with a sense of belonging.” - 47:20 - Andrew McLuhan
“The thing to keep in mind is that our identities are always going to be developing, under assault, changing, morphing - that's just a fact of life today. The best thing I think you can do is try and be conscious about it. Know that that's happening. Ask yourself what your identity is and what it means to you.” - 53:40 - Andrew McLuhan