RECLAIMING ‘THE EXPERIENCE’: SOCIAL MEDIA, THE ‘METAVERSE’, AND EXTRACTIVE IMAGINARIES OF EXPERIENTIAL ENHANCEMENT
Keywords:social media, experience, habituation, phenomenology, critique
AbstractThe ‘experience’ – and how social media guide, frame, appropriate, and exploit it – is the topic of this paper. In this theoretical-methodological intervention, I start from a close reading and a digital technography of Mark Zuckerberg’s presentation of the idea of the ‘Metaverse’ (in which the term ‘experience’ is repeated more than 60 times) to argue that a critical-phenomenological disposition is urgent for unpacking the struggle for ‘the experience’, and for examining how certain platform-centric ideals of ‘the experiential’ become incorporated and habituated in everyday life. The growing interest in platform capitalism and data colonialism foregrounds how human experience is central not only to social media’s rhetoric but also to their business models, which favor continuous exposure and repeated movements so as to harvest human experience and the data footprints it generates. The central argument of this paper is that the colonialist inclinations of mainstream social media are manifested not only in their data-driven operation, but also in how they manage to normatively configure the conceptions and imaginaries of human experience that are available to us. I focus, in particular, on the conceptions of ‘active experience’ and ‘embodied experience’. A critical phenomenology of mediation, I argue, would address and unpack how those extractive framings become habituated, naturalised, and taken-for-granted, and offer a less ‘platform-centric’ vocabulary for examining the incorporation of certain power dynamics into everyday lived experience.
How to Cite
Lupinacci, L. (2023). RECLAIMING ‘THE EXPERIENCE’: SOCIAL MEDIA, THE ‘METAVERSE’, AND EXTRACTIVE IMAGINARIES OF EXPERIENTIAL ENHANCEMENT. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2022. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2022i0.13045