For this final project, I would like to blend performance art, technology, comedy and social issues in order to examine online anonymity, digital feelings, and my generation’s almost unrivaled ability to not only be offended by the slightest things, but seek out things to be offended by, in a highly ambitious multimedia effort that will involve Reddit.com, The Familiar, the The Laborers Who Keep Dick Pics and Beheadings Out of Your Facebook Feed reading, “Every Breath You Take” by The Police, and selected readings from the “Big Data” portion of the class.
The crux of this project will be the comparison between The Familiar and Reddit.com, and my plan so far is to create a Reddit account, solely for the purpose of this project, and “troll” subreddits by posing as a “social justice warrior” and pretending to be offended by anything and everything. I will look for relevant Reddit posts and comment on them suggesting that children and animals are in danger. I will accuse people of casual racism and homophobia, anything that will provoke a reaction. I will absolutely refrain from personal attacks and violating Reddit’s terms of service, though I do think being banned from a subreddit would be an interesting development for the project so I may attempt to do that. After a few days of this, I will collect the most interesting exchanges and discuss them in a full-length (~1 hour long) podcast that will be a light and comedic, yet highly informative tableau of my generation’s behavior online.
I have a full external microphone setup, as well as the ability to edit audio files in Garage Band and I feel I have not only the technical ability, but the intellectual capacity to create a really interesting program that will discuss Redditor’s unrivaled ability to take sarcasm at face value and get offended by anything. My dialogue about online dialogue will create a kind of interesting dynamic as I exploit the concept of online anonymity in order to press people’s buttons, exploit the “online SJW” persona and relate it to The Familiar’s portrayal of social networking. People will be offended by the fact that I’m offended, and will take advantage of their anonymity in order to agree with me or (more likely) shoot me down at the same time that I take advantage of my anonymity in order to provoke their responses. It will be a series of dialogues between two anonymous people and I’ll use these interactions for the podcast to discuss whether or not these people are actually taking the bait, why they might feel like they do, the most effective ways to provoke a response online, and how this (false) concept of “anonymity” shared by both of us affects our behavior.
Further, I’ll take this anonymity and deconstruct it using the “Big Data” readings in order to show how no one is really anonymous. I know that Elliot Rogers, the UC Santa Barbara shooter, had his Reddit posts found and exposed after his death and that these posts used to further drag him through the mud (not that he didn’t deserve it) after it was found that he had been active on Men’s Rights and Bodybuilding subreddits, actively expressing his anti-woman attitudes that presumably led to the shootings. I will ponder what would happen if my Reddit posts were to be public knowledge, and how that might affect the rest of my life.