In The Now

Computers have been trying to keep up with the people who use them for decades. With the emergence of social media, and obsession with immediacy, social media outlets are trying to keep up. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Flickr, YouTube, amongst other frequently used social media outlets are permitting it users to update frequently. By updating frequently with the immediate actions of a user (more recently, more mundane), the social media outlet is able to use these updates and data to cater to their users. The power that these outlets possess is due to the frequency and immediacy of its users.

“If Derrida (1996),  Foucault (1970, 1972) and Bowker (2005) are right in arguing that control of the archive leads to a social power, then Web 2.0 site owners are becoming quite powerful because they have the ability to pull data from their archives to produce knowledge” (Gehl 1230).

When companies and internet outlets do this,  it gives off the impression of user empowerment. Users are constantly being asked what they are doing, how they are doing, what they are interested in and they do not even realize how often they are having personal information about them acquired by these outlets. Gehl makes a good point about blogs and comment fields being “sites of immediacy” (1233). He mentions that the way in which these sites are structured is to present the most recent information first. Users are interested in “The Now”. Users want to know what has happened most recently, most up-to-date, what is current, and they want to be (or feel as if they are) the most knowledgeable. When outlets are giving users this kind of power, it encourages user activity and company or organization profitability.

Gehl, Robert W. “The Archive and the Processor: The Internal Logic of Web 2.0.” New Media & Society 13.8 (2011): 1228-1244. Web.


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