The new Facebook has arrived.
Some students have capitalized on the additional photographic opportunities offered by albums; others just don’t care.
As for me, all I can think about is how it relates to porn. Let me explain.
Everywhere I Facebook-turn, I see something to the effect of “View More Photos of Joe” on the bottom frame of Joe’s standard Facebook picture — a link to photos that were either “tagged” by Joe, in a “photo-album” of his own or tagged by others in their own albums.
I, myself, have already tagged 21 photos of myself (how narcissistic) to counter the negative effect of two terrible photos tagged by an old friend — before I realized you can simply “remove tag.” (How clever Mark Zuckerberg is!)
These photos — both mine and hypothetical Joe’s — must not only be carefully chosen, but carefully framed. Sure, every flattering picture has equal right to surface on your album, but what if you took the photograph yourself in the bathroom mirror? What if you are making that hateful mirror-face that I see you make into the window of Au Bon Pain while you pass by, checking yourself out?
Are you presented alone in your photograph, or with friends? Is there an action, or merely a pose? The consensus seems to classify the ideal picture as one with friends, with whom you are actually doing something (emphasizing: “I am neither a loner nor lazy”).
Is the photograph actually a good, intriguing photograph, or merely an identification shot? I think that ID photographs might be past their prime. After all, 42 photographs do more than just identify you.
Furthermore, said hypothetical 42 pictures usually break down into two general types: photographs that are flattering, and so they stay posted, regardless of whether they’re from freshman year, high school (… hell, why not middle school?), and photographs that change according to your most recent digital-picture-taking session (i.e. the currently pervasive “I look slutty in my Halloween costume” photograph). Each shot gives new insight to how you fit into your natural habitat.
I can’t help but associate this multiplicity of ways to frame and see ourselves in a moment (in our own vanity) with the multiplicity of pornography.
Rarely do we (I/you … if you don’t want to be counted, don’t count yourself) see pornography as one linear narrative. Pornographic films and pictures — through the different ways we acquire them — are constantly linked with each other and multiplied: One porn video appears as a thumbnail on different sites of a Web ring. A video is spliced into a series of pictures, or becomes one part of a listing of many videos.
Here, we hit jackpot: the pornucopia of linking.
But visual questions must be asked of collections of photographs such as Facebook albums and porn Web sites: In an experience that is pimped to you by a person who selects the route from photograph A to photograph Z, how does each photograph bring something new to the collection, while representing the same subject? In other words, how on earth is it acceptable to allow people to see 50 pictures of your face — in different situations — in a single collection of photographs? To find the answer, we must look to the Facebook’s successful and less subtle counterpart: pornography.
For me, the key intrigue in the success of pornography is the perspective by which we enter: How is the sex scene framed, and where am I positioned, in relation to whatever combination of girls and boys are having sex? Theoretically, porn should like to place the viewer in a first-person angle: looking at the object of your sexual desire, having sex or performing some sexual act with and on you. If you’ve ever seen this kind of porn, usually shot from behind or by the person-who-would-be-you holding a camera, it is utterly appalling and completely unsuccessful.
The more logical, easier way to film two people having sex would be a third-person angle: You get to see the most amount of flesh bouncing around the frame, as well as the full action in the picture, and the degeneracy of the act it conveys.
Let’s think about this for a moment: Third person viewing of sex would mean that you are positioned in the room, watching — a voyeur, perhaps a member of a gang-bang. In fact, many such videos show five or six random guys hanging around, either waiting for his turn or simply watching. Others, still, show multiple groups committing sexual acts, contextualizing the singular act the camera focuses on into an orgy situation.
Now think about your Facebook pictures. Are you the object of the camera? Are you trying to find the best way to showcase your “assets” or your desirability by way of the number of people metaphorically “waiting for their turn” with you? I find that each album is like each Facebook member’s own way of creating their own clothed porn site. Furthermore, “tagging” your friends’ names brings a compulsive browser to your friend’s porn sites, and a porn ring is thus created.
Welcome to the new Facebook.
S. Zelda Roland will accept your friendship after you poke her.