Seeing Ourselves Through Technology Ch. 3 Notes:

Summary: Throughout Chapter 3 the main points that reoccur continuously is everything to do with selfies; as the title of the Chapter 3 states “Serial Selfies”. Most of the chapters that we have read so far talked about the history and evolution of selfies and how they were used back then and nowadays. The biggest emphasis that the author has made throughout all the chapters has been how selfies are changing the way we see ourselves and how harmful it can be on one’s self. One major example that was used through Chapter 3 was Szucs’s portraits. Szucs’s mass amount of self-portraits began in 1996, well before Instagram. Another form of the concept self-authoring and self-expression was presented by Frank O’ Hara, who took a small amount of time out of his day to write some autobiographical poems that many compared it to micro blogging. As social media became readily available, people began making time-lapse videos, where they could see the change of their appearance overtime and post it on YouTube. One of the lasts subjects that are discussed throughout is automatic photos, which we call photo booths.

Main Idea: During the entirety of Chapter 3, Rettberg is providing examples and evidence of how self-presentation was presented before Instagram or even technology existed. Szucs, O’Hara, Lee, and Kalina were used as examples overall to show us that if the ways we structure or self-representations are technological filters that build into our software and machines, and are influenced by cultural filters.

Key Terms: 

  • Cumulative self-presentations: refers to how people attempt to present themselves to control or shape how others (called the audience) view them. It involves expressing oneself and behaving in ways that create a desired impression.
  • Time Lapse selfie: technique whereby the frequency at which film frames are captured (the frame rate) is much lower than that used to view the sequence. Time Lapse shows change overtime.
  • Serial practice: the practice of taking random photos of one’s self
  • Automatic Portraits: photographs that are taken without much preparation (photo booths)
  • Quantitatively: with regard to the quantity of something rather than its quality

Commentary: In Chapter 3 Rettberg includes information that is based on Time lapse selfies, which appears on pages 36-38. This specific section caught my interest because I feel that it is a great way for people to self reflect and to think back to how they felt on each and everyday that the photos were taken. When Rettberg incorporates the story of how Ahree Lee uploaded a time- lapse video of herself everyday for three years I was instantly intrigued. (Washburn 2006) (Pg. 36) I find it very fascinating that Lee’s video sky-rocketed in such a short period of time. It makes me wonder why so many people find it interesting to see someone else’s time-lapse video? I have come to the thought that possibly, the hundreds and thousands of people that viewed her content are captivated by the idea that someone self reflected, and they may think to themselves how they’d like to do that too. It is so amazing how selfies change over time. Everyday is so different and life is full of unexpected occurrences these selfies can possibly show what you went through and how it changed you from the beginning to end of the time-lapse video.


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