The Phenomenology of the Internet – Transitional Search Methods

The world of marketing is experiencing a great transition into the digital realm. It’s been digitally created and shared, but now the user can come into a new experience online. The digital self (the mental removed from the digital), already compressed for maximum download speed, can change places in digital more quickly than ever before.

The mind online is reached more easily by ads, and the distance from the monitor to the user is many times closer than that of a television. It is this distance alone that makes a difference. An active user of the Internet can easily run out of energy and be attracted to information sources that need the least input (youtube). Admist the medely of choices, it is easier for the user to have the choice made for him. On Youtube, this is done by others. On Facebook, social history is written automatically, the only imput being clicks from the user.

If we go back to the General Theory of Relativity and apply it to social space, we can see that the shape of space makes people move, and the gravity of the social shapes space. Thus, people have social gravity, and when they congregate, more people are drawn in by this social gravitational field. Sometimes people from blurred areas can experience this social gravity field and congregate on an event from different idea economies. For instance, a Linux programmer can be drawn into the same Youtube video clip as a law student and a fry cook. I consider areas of great social masses to approximate black holes. Widely adopted products are black holes of attention, with event horizons of being “keeping up with the Joneses”. The event horizon of the event can be relational in real life or in digital life. A link can be provided by a friend online, (via a blog, instant message, or e-mail). A piece of hardware can be envied and researched outside of digital space, or the digital space can be used to learn about and purchase the device.

A friend of mine who is an engineering student and electronic musician coined the the term “if I just try a little harder” syndrome to explain what is affecting the hyper-modernized individual. They try a diet, and it fails, and then they tell themselves they will try even harder. “If I were just to try a little harder” on a photo, or an essay. Of course, trying hard is a future event, or a past event. It is a self-referential event that, because of its detached reflection, can never manifest in the present moment.

Media is creating forced creativity by putting digital cameras in the hands of individuals. Forced creativity makes people increasingly digitize their lives because media takes up space, and people like to share digitized bits of their lives. By allowing consumers to upload images, a panopticon of creativity is formed.
Talent is not encouraged to develop except in small groups like Photoshop competition forums or networked groups.

The group development aspect of the net intrigues me. It is because I’ve noticed that ‘expert groups’ are forming that I decided to research one for my independent study, which I’ve titled SOAN 490 – Corporate Power and Information.

I found SEM PDX, an online society of Internet Marketers and Businesspeople who were concerned with studying and making use of social networking sites, search optimization techniques, and better ways to reach greater numbers of Internet users. In essence, they were a group of information architects and space time compressors. Everything has become a competition, or death. Those who run on breaking ice behind them. And all consumers (and producers) are holding themselves up to increasingly one dimensional standards of design. Design has become the product.

My experiment was to check out how websites advertise themselves — how companies are forcing these sorts of organic connections — how they are widening event horizions to approach guaranteed consumer purchasing habits (and thus limit their marketing costs and liabilities). Mental real estate is easily acquired and redistributed in the digital world. With real estate also untethered, space and time of the mind are what matter.


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