There's a TikTok video doing the rounds, with associated commentary, of a college student's reaction to being surprised by a visiting girlfriend.
No part of this is surprising - the video, the metacommentary. Folks are attempting to make their names and fortunes by streaming their lives and those of their families and friends. Folks exist in a moment when Facetuning your face and body before you upload your photos and videos isn't just expected, it feels enforced. No part of that is particularly novel anymore. Livecasting, lifestreaming, quantified self, microcelebrity, parasocial relationships - everything is of a piece.
As is true whenever one of these crosses the timeline, I think about how glad I am that when I joined Facebook as an undergrad you had to connect a camera via cable to a laptop to upload photos to it, and you still had some modicum of control over whether and how folks were able to tag you in those photos.
These days, you can opt-in to wearing glasses that constantly record everything and everyone around you, but you cannot opt-out of being recorded. These days, if feels like the only way to have some control over what parts of your life end up as fodder for commentary on the internet is to make sure that none of your friends and family are prone to the temptations of virality (or participate in the Ring ecoystem).
Everything else, it too often feels, is a question of who in the space you're in is chasing clout at any given moment.
Norms change fast, and sometimes they break people in the changing.
What do we want from each other
after we have told our stories
do we want
to be healed do we want
mossy quiet stealing over our scars
do we want
the powerful unfrightening sister
who will make the pain go away
mother’s voice in the hallway
you’ve done it right
the first time darling
you will never need
to do it again.
Thunder grumbles on the horizon
I buy time with another story
a pale blister of air
cadences of dead flesh
obscure the vowels.
There Are No Honest Poems About Dead Women by Audre Lorde in Our Dead Behind Us