Thought-provoking short article about how social networks like Twitter and Facebook are really a way in which power controls us. Everyone sort of knows this in the back of their minds, but most people do not really care. Entertain us because boredom is the worst. Wish I read more Foucault in college. But if I did, I'm sure I'd be much more afraid of living in this society.
Social media tends to be understood as a kind of freedom to express ourselves in a new way; interactivity liberates us from one-way communication and affords us the opportunity to speak and participate. But this “freedom” can function as a kind of compulsion, as part of what Baudrillard et. al. called the “fun morality.” Foucault insisted that power is both decentralized (not a matter of some authority telling you what you must do) and productive (it allows more things to have a kind of social being, not fewer; creates more data, not less). In an interview in Power/Knowledge, he says, “What makes power hold good, what makes it accepted, is simply the fact that it doesn’t only weigh on us as a force that says no, but that it traverses and produces things, it induces pleasure, forms knowledge, produces discourse.” Various modern technologies have brought about what he calls “a new economy of power” that allows “the effects of power to circulate in a manner at once continuous, uninterrupted, adapted, and ‘individualized’ throughout the entire social body.” In other words, there is no way to sneak around power because we are basically bathing in it, breathing it in and out at all times.