The social screen

Image: just an act of florid self-expression…

Musing on Instagram, Adrian Chan has a great insight about the nature of “the social screen”:

The image, as an act of expression, inherits from the medium. The social screen has three modes: mirror, surface, and window. In its mirror mode, we see our image. In its surface mode, we can “consume” content rendered onscreen. In its window mode, what’s onscreen disappears and we see others and communicate with or to them.

To screen or not to screen


While the Calvin & Hobbes cartoon that cried “verbing weirds language” made a startement both wry and true, there are times when we can legitimately make the case for a new verb.

I’m not thinking of an unwanted and uninvited new word like “medalled”. That awkward verb will be said over and over this summer during London 2012, and I will feel a little pang of loss for our language every time. “Medalled” serves no new purpose – the nature of winning medals in sporting events has not changed noticeably – but it has manage to settle itself in to the vocabulary of our journalists and commentators almost unchallenged.

Let he who is without a web shadow cast the first stone

Don't inhale, don't explete: Obama jobs demand spotless web shadows from applicants

Image: Photoshopping Obama into Rasta colours might not be a plus point if you’re applying for a job at the White House…

According to The Economist, applicants for jobs in the new Obama adminstration are undergoing rigorous background checks, including submitting “a history of their activities on the Internet, including copies of any emails which might embarrass Mr Obama, links to social networking pages, blogs, and the usernames or “handles” under which any of them were written”.

So knowing what your web shadow looks like is going to be a must there then…

This may have been an election campaign that played to the social meida grandstand, but old rules of politics and the media are still very much in play.

If we’re to be optimistic, the Economist has a bit of wishful thinking:

Perhaps, when dirt on almost everybody becomes readily available, politics will lose its hypocritical, moralistic tone.

You’d hope so…