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Why Trent Reznor Can't Use Social Networks

image from www.thunderboats.org To be sure, The Social Network is about more than just social networks and Facebook; there's a much larger story. But it is ironic that the person who scored the film, Trent Reznor, can't use them. Or, at least he has given up on using social networks and media—for the moment. In a recent interview on Mashable, Reznor gave an interesting answer as to why that is.

It's not solely because he's famous either. Basically, he views Facebook as an outsider. Most of us, by now, already have accounts on the site. Therefore, we think of the social network in terms of our participation. To an extent, as users, we're able to portray ourselves in a certain way if we so wish. We might even do it unintentionally. As Reznor observes, our online identities are almost 'hyper-real versions' of ourselves. These representations of self are necessary distorted and ever so slightly exaggerated sides of our personalities. Though the expressions that are broadcasted on Facebook adhere to the bias of the medium, of the predefined ways that we're able to interact with the interface; they're still us.

In many ways, Reznor is already a hyper-real version of himself. Both because of the characteristics that his fans assign to him as a rock star and due to the way he reflects the expectations of his audience. Reznor is human; it's just that most of us don't think of him in that way. In some respects, being confronted with the notion that he's one of us dilutes our distorted perception of him. We want Reznor to be a rock star, because we're not. So he's faced with the counterintuitive notion of being himself while still maintaining who we desire him to be. Either way, someone gets disappointed. Since he can't use Facebook the way most people do; Reznor sees it from a perspective that we can't. Chances are, the younger and more digitalized you get, the more you see that these kids have never been outsiders. Maybe when their younger and see their older siblings use the sites, being told by their parents that their not old enough to use Facebook yet. Otherwise, the young and the digital will only know Facebook from within.

Furthermore, Reznor contends that he can't participate in Facebook as a civilian. Then again, can any of us anymore? Do we share what we're actually thinking? 

Here's Trent Reznor's thoughts on the matter:

"I can’t participate as a civilian because I have a level of celebrity that makes me not able to use Facebook in the way that someone who’s not a celebrity can use it. I watch people, friends of mine, and see how they portray themselves online and I find interesting that it’s kind of a hyper-real version of yourself, how you’d like to be seen, in a way. And I question the generation or two coming up who are used to engaging people in that format and wonder what the repercussions will be down the road — how human relationships will differ in an age of oversharing." (Read on.)

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