Fake authenticity

So wrote Blaise Pascal in Thoughts in the mid-1600s. The words are now, of course, difficult to read without thinking of the situation that has been created by social media.

Rarely has it been possible for so many of us, to this degree, to fine-tune the public image of ourselves. Twitter and Facebook offer opportunities to reach our fellow human beings into their lives. Suddenly, we can share in the Aftonbladet chronicler’s immediate emotional reactions: how her tears ran down her cheeks when it became clear that the Sweden Democrats had got into the Swedish Riksdag, or The Express writer's tears of joy when AIK made it to the semifinals in ice hockey’s top division. Not to mention the possibilities of Twitter feeds in following the North African revolutions, which were even said to have been organised through social media.

Therefore, one wonders to what extent that Pascal quote is relevant to social media...

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