Kimberly Cox

Mining Emotions: What Makes Us So Invincible?

In 21st Century Culture, Millennial Generation on November 17, 2014 at 1:30 AM

This article was posted exactly 4 years ago, October 2010. It’s worth revisiting….

Originally posted by Remittance Girl here , we are asking what is happening to us today due to a mass media and technological revolution.

Why is it disturbing to see the wife of a trapped miner waiting for her husband to come up in the rescue pod? Because instead of being able to privately experience the horror and emotion, she must experience it publicly. Worse, she is under a microscope with reporters commenting on whether or not her reaction is appropriate. Filming her every move, we then, as an audience, consume it and the effective desensitization remains arguably indicative of a serious shift in our cultural and social AND personal interactions.

Noticing how social interactions and boundaries are not just erased, but realizing how they are being re-shaped as I write this blog post, is the subject of what will be an ongoing discussion. Think about the massive changes that have happened in how we live our day to day lives. How we share information and experience being human has undergone a dramatic shift. We, as individuals and as communities, are expected and encouraged to bare our souls over the internet, on reality television, thru social networks, and more, in a manner that may be unprecedented in human evolution. There is no respect for privacy anymore but at the same time, we sit in front of a screen in private viewing another person’s public exposure.

This emotional voyeurism has taken the place of experiencing emotions, further distancing us from the most natural element of humanity. With so many platforms for distribution and easy-to-use devices for user-generated content, it’s like a virus has infected all of us to such a degree that many of us find it disturbing. But it is hard to identify WHY or WHAT it is that disturbs us, so we do not know how to communicate it and thus, many remain silent.

Is it the fault of the media for producing it or the fault of the public for consuming it?

Very few people recognize how the law of unintended consequences works across the course of human history and most importantly, how we are NOT immune. Often, our technology far advances our tactical ability and as a result, it takes years for cultures to either catch up or recover from the profound effects. Compare today with the age following Gutenberg’s printing press and the introduction of moveable type to Europeans in the 15th and 16th Centuries. Think about all of the changes that occurred due to the spread of information: The Christian Reformation, Scientific Revolution…

Now consider the Information Age of Media and Technology, for all its good but unintended consequences. It is a valid hypothesis to argue that we DO underestimate how our own brain functions are being effected:

Discovered in the early 1990s, Mirror Neurons are revolutionizing the way Neuroscientists understand human neurophysiology and brain function. This could do for Neuropsychology what DNA did for Biology. It also explains why Remittance Girl poses a valid argument towards how this dynamic in media technology today may be damaging us. Most certainly, we spend more time in front of a screen than in a social setting or among a group of people. We experience human emotion more frequently via television, photographs, social networks, mobile devices and the internet as opposed to being physically present.


Cash for Robert W Service On The Dawson Trail

In 21st Century Culture on May 16, 2014 at 9:02 PM

Poppy and Pop-Pop




In TWITTER CULTURE on December 7, 2009 at 8:06 AM

Remember Old Twitter? I do.

December 4, 2011

*** UPDATE ***

If you will note the date of this post, you’ll see how the topic was active in November of 2009. Since then, we continue to see and experience the evolution of social media and online networking. By the same token, we are actively learning how the hashtag works and its various uses — whether consciously, or whether by chance, rapidly developed by users of social networks — Hashtaggers are pioneering how its application enables writers, journalists, scholars, artists, and others with an ability for exploring and sharing their work. The impetus for this blog post was the hypothesis for why the mechanics of a hashtag function to create new forms shaping the digital landscape.  Observing its nature over these past 24 months, evidence confirming my theory  holds strongly enough to warrant a follow-up to this article. Hashtaggers instinctively pioneering the form and function of communications online, specifically on social networks like Twitter and Tumblr, are providing the genesis for the productive application of this new technology. Therefore, it remains paramount for those of us studying and researching the hashtag, to record how it is changing and evolving, providing credit where credit is due, what works and what does not, why a user heralds an effective hashtag or how a user manipulates one.  

If you are interested in participating in the follow-up article, let me know by proving a comment in the comments section. As before, I will post a number of questions for people to answer, including the original survey used for the piece below. I look forward to hearing from some of the original participants and from those who find this phenomena as fascinating as many of us do.

— Kimberly Cox, New York City

Copyright 2009 – 2011, All Rights Reserved



November 7, 2009

Hashtag games are played on Twitter every day, around the clock and all over the world. There are always at least one or two “Trending” (the Twitter system tracks the most frequently discussed topics using key word algorithms that search the system and isolate the most frequently entered words and phrases) and at all times, users will see a few people they are following engaged in a game.

Interesting to note how one subjective experience parallels the experiences of other users. Specifically, those who filled out the survey all together shared similarities in the approach to understanding and explaining the function of Twitter. Many thanks to those generous individuals (you know who you are) who participated.

I learn “by doing” on Twitter and that involves observation and trial by error. Fellow users provide the most valuable resource for education by actively demonstrating the etiquette, function and various utilities. Direct and indirect association with Twitter’s diverse population of users yields the individual’s education. The method practiced by many allows for the freedom of independent exploration. The flexibility encourages all users to sample a very large variety of machinations. Subjective experience then determines the user’s ensuing activity and also, role in a community.

The ecosystem of Twitter depends on the hashtag much in the same way the Chesapeake Bay and Hudson River depend on their watersheds and marsh lands. The rainwater and topographical run-off would otherwise go unfiltered and  overwhelm. Instead, the watershed and marsh balance the distribution of rainwater and run-off evenly. The hashtag, in turn, filters the Twitter feed, distributing a collective order across the system.

[ image deleted so i don’t get sued ]



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