How Does The Virtual Define Us?
There might have been a time where simply taking a family photo and hanging it on your wall was enough to signify your participation and verify your being. If we use the analogy of a computer, we can no longer capture, aka download, an event to our internal processor for memory and archival purposes. Uploading is also needed to imply being and assert ourselves in the continuum. Uploading, archiving and replicating information informs and shapes our identity, but also guarantees our immortality.
If we look at the processes of branding and building a brand identity as similar to that of building and knowing our personal identities, we can see that the processes and assumptions are nearly exact. In branding, as well as constructing our identities in the virtual, it is not enough to simply list the defining characteristics of our being, we must also convince others as well. As with identity forming and brand building, it is not what you say about yourself that matters, it is what others say about you.
The notion of what others say about your brand or identity relates to the idea of a vantage point. Ron Burnett discusses how the vantage point is always shifting and affects the meaning of an image, and the same is true of our identities. The remixed advertisement (above) from a Mac campaign shows how products try to personify their brands, and then in the remixes below we can see how the vantage point of certain audiences don’t concur with the identity that Mac is trying to simultaneously project onto its end-user as well as its product.
Returning to poststructuralist theory again, Baudrillard argues that meaning and identification are only understandable in terms of how particular words or “signs” interrelate. Memes, brand messages, and our personal data, are all forms of digital information “signs” that embed meaning and identification.
- 90543041rf8.jpg (JPEG Image, 500×375 pixels) – Scaled (0%), n.d., http://img165.imageshack.us/img165/2861/90543041rf8.jpg.
- ads-get-a-mac-110706.gif (GIF Image, 400×350 pixels) – Scaled (0%), n.d., http://images.appleinsider.com/ads-get-a-mac-110706.gif.
- “AppleInsider | Apple ditches ‘Mac Guy’ in new ads”, n.d., http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/06/11/08/apple_ditches_mac_guy_in_new_ads.html.
- best-pc-vs-mac-ad-2.jpg (JPEG Image, 588×369 pixels), n.d., http://www.watchonepiecepoint.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/best-pc-vs-mac-ad-2.jpg.
- bricks-and-mortar.jpg (JPEG Image, 400×290 pixels), n.d., http://www.zippycart.com/ecommerce-news/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/bricks-and-mortar.jpg.
- eye_color.jpg (JPEG Image, 400×300 pixels), n.d., http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_8VxI65G2ra0/TKdF4e5SGpI/AAAAAAAAAss/EN7KVNvHHaI/s400/eye_color.jpg.
- “Gilles Deleuze – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia”, n.d., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilles_Deleuze.
- “Jean Baudrillard – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia”, n.d., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Baudrillard.
- Katy Perry Performs Rebecca Black’s Friday In Columbia, MD, 2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdDFFwLY8Qc&feature=youtube_gdata_player.
- Katy Perry singing Rebecca Black’s Friday, 2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sM51ANnSgsU&feature=youtube_gdata_player.
- “Meme – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia”, n.d., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme.
- “Memebase: Rage Comics, Forever Alone, Y U No Guy, Troll Face, Foul Bachelor Frog”, n.d., http://memebase.com/.
- pc_vs_mac.jpg (JPEG Image, 340×274 pixels), n.d., http://pantsinacan.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/pc_vs_mac.jpg.
- Rebecca Black – Friday – Official Music Video, 2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfVsfOSbJY0&feature=youtube_gdata_player.
- Rebecca Black – Friday (OFFICIAL PARODY VIDEO) – Monday, 2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZg7EBxbqSE&feature=youtube_gdata_player.
- Rebecca Black – Friday (Official Video) PARODY, 2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVlY3ZTrBkw&feature=youtube_gdata_player.
- Rebecca Black – Friday SPED UP 5000%, 2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANCqiTK8XVY&feature=youtube_gdata_player.
- “Search Results facebook – Memebase: Rage Comics, Forever Alone, Y U No Guy, Troll Face, Foul Bachelor Frog”, n.d., http://memebase.com/?s=facebook.
- “The Information: A History, a Theory … – James Gleick – Google Books”, n.d., http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Information.html?id=617JSFW0D2kC.
- “The Selfish Gene – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia”, n.d., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Selfish_Gene.