The Culture of Connectivity: Defining “You”

“I know it’s hard to understand/ I am with you, and I know how it is.” Ben Lerner chooses these poetic words written by Walt Whitman to end his novel 10:04. Whitman’s words call upon “you,” which we know to be a collective group of people present and future. Lerner seems to use these words, but changes his address to a different “you,” perhaps calling upon his specific readers who are put in, at times, an uncomfortable position distinguishing the difference between fiction and non-fiction. This unidentified and sometimes misleading “you” was brought up once again in Jose Van Dijck’s article, “The Culture of Connectivity.” In 2005, “you” was named the person of the year by Time Magazine. The power of connection and collaboration begins with the individual especially during the dominant social media era that we are all apart of. While connecting these three parts from our readings, I found myself wondering….what defines “you”? How how this definition changed depending on the different forms of media that it is serving? Are we all as individual humans falling for the manipulation of our personal desire, victims of millions of algorithms and profitable markets, or is it still possible that we are as powerful and socially connected as we think?

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