My previous post was about the unruliness that is released in the freedom of the internet without risk or hidden transcripts. When the candour and necessity for social politeness is supposedly dropped, the hidden transcripts come out behind the mask of the internet.
However, I believe in our personal lives beyond the political sphere it is often the opposite. When I was reading Calvino’s “Adventures of a Photographer”, I couldn’t help but also relate it to today’s obsession with social media. The main character, Antonio, begins with a passion for philosophy and events removed from his own experience until everyone’s lives were moving but his was staying the same. His view of photographs and images were that they were the only place all the fleeting perfections were saved. It made the point that it is impossible to represent a faithful diary of life because we chose what to photograph, and what to share, and we are never recording every minute, every aspect of our lives, so there is no way to show an accurate portrayal of our lives, especially on social media. Our lives on social media are alternate realities of ourselves (our public transcripts), and show only what we want other people to see. We use social media to put up the fronts of our lives that expose only what we take a picture of or post on Facebook. Technology has put cameras in our hands and pockets and we often feel the need to record our lives, but usually only the good things, or the best things. This takes us out of the moment and we actually lose what we crave by trying to attain it (spontaneity, reality, accurate representation). An example in the story is when he was trying to take a photo of Bice playing tennis. Taking a picture of her playing tennis was never a good enough photo, and the only way to get a good photo was over exaggerating movements, making it inauthentic for the illusion of authenticity. The snapshot will never be as real as the true thing, and the “transcripts” we portray on the internet through social media are our public transcripts, our perfectly curated lives giving the illusion of a certain life that may or may not be true.
In some ways, social media and the internet reveals our hidden transcripts when people feel safe saying anything with a screen separating us from that online space (which can also be a useful tool for unruly politics), and other times, it is used to perpetuate the public transcript and control it in a way that suits us. This version of public and hidden transcripts differs from Scott’s (and from my last post), because power and authority is not involved in this version, but in a way it still relates to Calvino’s photographer, where “to believe that the snapshot is more true than the proposed portrait is a prejudice”.