Partial invisibility

 You have a secret superpower: the ability to appear and disappear at will. When and where will you use this new superpower?

As a sociology student I have a tendency to view things from a sociological perspective. I associate the concept “visibility” with one’s ability to access and depart the digital world. Manuel Castells, a renowned sociological theorist from Barcelona once wrote about a network society: the distinctive feature of the modern time. The elements of the social world (i.e. people, institutions, enterprises, etc.) act as interconnected nodes that converge into a network. The existence of individual nodes are supplementary but not absolutely necessary. In other words, as individuals who are members of a network society, we have the ability to appear and disappear in the digital world. With that we achieve partial invisibility. My experience with Facebook illustrates this idea. When school started on September 9, 2013, I decided to de-activate my Facebook account. I figured I should get rid of all possible distractions so I could focus on my studies. When I re-activated my account just a few days ago, my best friend immediately messaged me saying: “You disappeared from Facebook, but I see that you’re back!” Evidently, Facebook was my only link to the social world vis-a-vis digital world. Through social media I may appear and disappear at will.



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