I'm a Digital Culture Dropout
I have a hard time connecting with literature about human interactions with digital technology. It’s not because I don’t understand it, and it’s not because I’m unfamiliar with it; It’s because I’ve been exposed to so much of it, and not a whole lot is really progressing the conversation.
I was once a student in the Digital Culture program. I started as freshman, and wanted learn about post-production and editing for film (I think). The faculty is brilliant, and are very passionate about their research. The intro classes were really interesting because they showed many aspects of the field that I had never seen before. But slowly I realized that the program wasn’t for me.
Like many new mediums, digital technology, especially really REALLY new mediums like social media, is difficult to talk about because it’s so consuming. Some of the best literature on technology came before the web became so ubiquitous with popular culture because it was taken in at arms-length. I feel like a lot of whats being said now is really obvious stuff that’s been said before, is based too heavily on value judgements, and quite often drenched in personal experience/perspective. I’m sure there’s a valuable conversation to be had, but I’m not sure it’s out there yet.
My experience in my previous program really slanted my own opinions on technology, and numbed me. I was uninterested in a lot of student work because it lacked critical thought, and I hated walking into the large lecture room that had tables grouped together in a feeble attempt to create a sense of community despite the several dozen laptops that sat waiting for students to engage with the web rather than each other. In classes of 30 to 80 students, I felt incredibly alienated, and it seemed like everyone used their “interests” in digital culture to avoid making eye contact and conversation with one another.
It was a weird, strained place for me, which is why I left. I still like the internet and technology and the like–I am a young adult in the 21st century after all–but if anything, Digital Culture taught me to scrutinize our reliance on technology and respect value of human interaction.