This term, coined in the past century by psychiatrist Jacques Lacan, defines the ”sharing of experiences or thoughts usually considered private, coined to suggest an opposition to ‘intimacy.’” Lacan didn’t live to see the World Wide Web, but he certainly was onto something.
We could look at the interface of the Web and, moreover, Web 2.0 as a mode of exercising extimacy with other people. A social networking profile is created and within that profile is a blending of various symbols from film, TV, art, others’ photography and so on. Contacting others and “friending” others based on similar web-surfing habits expands one’s online self and entwines within one, the interests and symbolization of another person. Moreover, when looking at the interface of the computer screen, one experiences the decentering of one’s self-image, a fragmented mirroring back of oneself occurs. Desires that are posted by other people, become one’s own desires, desires that one did not even know existed. By expanding one’s network, one comes to see oneself as projected by these other people. Again, there is an intertwining, a conjoining of self and other and in this conjoining, an extimate self is realized.
I am very torn on the value this NYU study on influence creates. On one side it is a noble cause, trying to understand what creates such an elusive power. On the other, after reading paragraphs like this I am not sure I learned something. Can numbers really represent human reality?
Men are 49 per cent more influential than women, but women are 12 per cent less susceptible to influence than men, and they exert 46 per cent more influence over men than over other women. Influence also increases with age, with people over 31 being 51 per cent better at convincing their friends than those under 18.
Single individuals are 113 per cent more influential than those in a relationship and 128 per cent more than those who define their relationship status as “it’s complicated”.
I found this article interesting, because it puts words on something that most knowledge workers experience on a daily basis (without really thinking of it as a condition or a problem). Let’s talk about decision fatigue:
We have no way of knowing how much our ancestors exercised self-control in the days before BlackBerrys and social psychologists, but it seems likely that many of them were under less ego-depleting strain. When there were fewer decisions, there was less decision fatigue. Today we feel overwhelmed because there are so many choices. Your body may have dutifully reported to work on time, but your mind can escape at any instant. A typical computer user looks at more than three dozen Web sites a day and gets fatigued by the continual decision making — whether to keep working on a project, check out TMZ, follow a link to YouTube or buy something on Amazon. [...]
“Good decision making is not a trait of the person, in the sense that it’s always there,” Baumeister says. “It’s a state that fluctuates.” His studies show that people with the best self-control are the ones who structure their lives so as to conserve willpower. They don’t schedule endless back-to-back meetings. They avoid temptations like all-you-can-eat buffets, and they establish habits that eliminate the mental effort of making choices. Instead of deciding every morning whether or not to force themselves to exercise, they set up regular appointments to work out with a friend. Instead of counting on willpower to remain robust all day, they conserve it so that it’s available for emergencies and important decisions.