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The 'Aura' of Authenticity in the Age of Social Media

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Tyler Peckio

on 27 May 2014

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Transcript of The 'Aura' of Authenticity in the Age of Social Media

Nobody Likes Me
Social Media is the medium through which many relations are forged and maintained in the current age
The question quickly becomes what is gained and what is lost when this becomes the vessel through which we channel the desire for connection?
The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1936)

A short piece published first in the Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung
Short piece but has made a lasting impact on discussions about technological reproduction and how it shapes our aesthetic experience
Walter Benjamin
Benjamin points out that not all technology is used for progressive means.
can be steered towards fascist and oppressive directions
The manner in which we use these technologies is important
Their existence and the way it has altered the way in which individuals perceive the world and interact with one another cannot be undone but it can be altered towards more progressive and healthier modes of social existence
It can be used to foster and forge stronger in person bonds and not simply as a cheap replacement
Is technology to blame?
let the aura emanate from your bedroom walls...
Central to Benjamin's discussion of authenticity and what is lost by the reproducible nature of art.
two crucial elements
Uniqueness of the object or experience
a Certain degree of permanence tied with tradition and ritual
It is in a state of decay in the modern age, Benjamin argues, because of technological reproduction
The positive aspect of this loss is the increased fluidity of the artwork as it is detached from ritual and tradition
The work of art no longer absorbs the person; the person absorbs the work of art
The 'Aura'
The 'Aura' of Authenticity in the Age of Social Media
by Tyler J. Peckio
Parallels can be drawn between the ways in which a film maker edits manufactured moments together to replicate an experience and the way we construct ourselves in social media
Our digital selves are not a representation of who we are but of who we want ourselves to be
any notion of the 'authentic self' is discarded in the name of putting forward a self that we want to portray
Benjamin's discussion of the actor's experience in front of a camera also parallels to the way our digital selves manifest in the digital sphere and on the screen that we receive these portrayals.
Analogous to the Age of Social Media?
In the act of replicating a self on the internet, we are distracting ourselves from the lack of authentic social bonds with a reproduction of it.
the reproduction of social bonds through digital means lacks the 'aura of authenticity' that Benjamin describes lacking in paintings
in an effort to bring ourselves closer to one another we destroy the authentic bonds that one forms in face-to-face relations
it numbs us to the pain felt over our aloneness
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