Acting on Facebook
I'm in a transmedia piece right now. The project integrates film (to appear as webisodes on the Internet), social media and live theatre.
So far the process has been challenging and utterly fascinating. One of the ideas we have been exploring is Facebook as a performance space. Social media is all about doing, right? In order to assert your presence on the Internet, you have to follow through on an action. Each time you "post", "like", "comment", "tag", "check in", "update" etc, you are building your online character. You are performing.
The characters we have developed for this piece are all online now. They all have their own Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts. Some of them have blogs. They are all connected to one another online, even if they don't necessarily know each other well in their "real" lives.
As we launch into our beta mode for how this world we are creating is actually going to function, we have been working hard to generate online content for our characters. The more we post things online, comment on one another's statuses and begin connecting our characters to people in the real world, the greater presence they have. The real-er they become.
Does this give them more power?
Does my character have more power than I do online because she is more active?
Already, she has begun to disrupt my life. I will be on my computer answering emails and suddenly my character's facebook profile will start blowing up. Immediately I feel the need to leave my own world and transition into my character's world because I do not want to relinquish any power she may have by being unresponsive. Not responding means deciding that she isn't there - something that I want to fight against.
Cue onset of dissociative identity disorder.
That's the thing about the Internet. You can truly be more than one person at the same time. I can be signed into multiple email accounts and have a chat session between myself and the character that I am playing.
This project has made me think about the limits of the physical body and what happens when you are released from that.
Obviously there is a lot more to say on this subject, but for now I would just like to ask the following:
Do you ever wish you didn't have to censor yourself so much online? If you could create a character online to perform through, who would they be?
More to come...
image from astoriedcareer.com