Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Other Addiction

Check out these insane chocolates I received today for presenting to a class on sustainable community development:

I know. Insane.

Part of the reason I find it so challenging to blog lately is because I have two steadfast policies when it comes to my online persona: 1. no blogging about professional employment and 2. no in-depth blogging about my personal relationships. (Y'know--apart from quite publicly accusing my significant other of infecting me with fleas.) It's too bad that 70 per cent of my waking hours are spent at work and, as of late, the other 30 per cent are spent with the manfriend. (Who, for the record, is, and probably always was, flea-free.)

Besides, my days are relatively mundane. Here's an example:

Today was the first time that I've been back at Ryerson since the fall awards ceremony. At the eyeopener office, Carla was running late, so I chatted with the eye staff who were kicking around the office. "What year are you in? I'm guessing second?" one of the guys asked. I had to laugh--especially since I was trying to look the part of young professional. (I had thrown on a pair of black peeptoes before I left the office in an effort to look a little less student.) Carla says it's because I looked wide-eyed and bushy-tailed instead of worn down by term papers. (And it's true--my favourite part of nine to fiving is the fact that weekends and my evenings are my own.)

Half an hour later, at the front of the class, I hoped that my heels were working their magic. That it, until I realized the effect was completed negated by the fact that I stood behind a podium for the entire presentation.

The End. (Good story, hey?)

Want to read a genuinely good story?

"The modern individual, then, seeks relationships that are essentially “parasocial” — the term social scientists use to describe the one-sided relationships we have with celebrities, in which we know everything about them, but they don’t know we exist. Social networking scholar danah boyd has argued that this flow of detailed information is creating a new class of people in our lives — people we follow closely online and come to know intimately but voyeuristically, without any need for genuine interaction." Read More Here
-The Other Porn Addiction, Hal Niedzviecki, The Walrus, April 2009


  1. That article from the Walrus was a good read as the psychology of human-computer interaction has always been a topic of interest for me. I had not heard the term "parasocial" before, but it seem to be an apt description for the unhealthy celebrity worship that occurs both on and off line (People magazine -- I'm looking in your direction).

    I do, however, think it is a somewhat jaded and cynical take on the social networking (or blogging) interaction model. I've always viewed this interaction to be the modern equivalent of "pen-pals" -- communicating with people you've never (or rarely) met in person, but with whom you share common interests or funny anecdotes.

    It's true that there can be creepy abuses of the technology, but the same could be said of the telephone (think Jerky Boys) or any other medium (Bill O'Reilly -- I'm looking in your direction). I'd argue that the positive and healthy online interactions significantly outweigh the creepy, unhealthy interactions -- it's just that the creepy ones grab the headlines as they are the notable exceptions. After all -- if it bleeds, it leads.

    By the way -- print media is dead! Long live print media!

    While I agree that the term "parasocial" is useful and descriptive, I would like to offer my counter-jargon of "symbiosocial" -- a model of interaction that is mutually beneficial to both producer and consumer of content.

  2. Anonymous2:01 PM

    Check out Andrew's blog.

  3. Anonymous7:33 PM

    Chocolates from Yorkville, no less!