The ability of both people and organizations to leverage big data in new ways has rendered the traditional ethical frameworks for dealing with issues of privacy and commodification ineffective and archaic. The leveraging of such data raises new questions related to the power generated for businesses through the big data divide—the gap separating those who have access to big data and those who do not. Although the ethical issues related to big data have historical roots in commodification, we have the opportunity to embrace a new ethical framework for this age. Rather than focusing on privacy issues, big data can be better understood through the issue of power discrepancies created by the big data gap. One ethical aspect of this shift is seeking more emancipatory and affirmative uses of big data.
The “selfie,” a photograph taken of and by the same person, is a surprisingly malleable genre. Selfies can be taken of one person or of groups, at different angles, in different environments. The photographer-subject can be clothed, intending to showcase their OOTD (“outfit of the day”) or nude, aiming to entice romantic partners. The filters offered by popular platforms like Instagram can make a selfie appear as if it was taken forty years ago. The image geotagging feature of most cell phone cameras even allow users and viewers to use selfies to track the subjects’ daily whereabouts. There are also “selfie” offshoots: “belfies” are of photographer-subjects’ derrieres and the primary subject of “lelfies” are legs. In recent years, the selfie has become something more than a means to capture a look or moment; selfies, in all their forms, have been deployed for a variety of creative and critical purposes.
This forum takes up the hows and whys of selfie creation and circulation, paying special attention to the ways selfies act as a means of asserting agency in a variety of different contexts. Our hope is to combine perspectives on gender, sexuality, and surveillance as well as historical selfie precursors and the use of selfies in the classroom into one concentrated, scholarly forum. In our minds, the benefit of this forum over a scholarly article is that it can showcase the many ways the purposes and functions of selfies clash and create new configurations of creativity and power.
In this chapter we explore the possibility of meeting one’s self through time travel as a metaphor of the digital footprint one leaves through his or her use of social media. Nietzsche says that one is always a different person. Whether or not we accept that in a literal, ontological sense, we can all agree that we as adults tend to think about the world differently than we did when we were children. Now, thanks to sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger, many of the thoughts and feelings of our former selves are easily captured and stored indefinitely on the Internet, which allows us to go back and glimpse versions of our former selves. Do these resources allow me to go back and experience myself, not as myself but as Other?
For philosopher Gilles Deleuze, the experience of the Other is an expression of a virtual possible world which allows one to see another side to the events that she lives. Learning, for Deleuze, requires a shock, and our encounters with Others can potentially offer just such a shock. In order to truly learn, though, we must not imitate the Other, but instead enter an assemblage with Other, bringing together two possible ways of expressing the world. Along with Deleuze, we explore the concept of Other through several existentialist philosophers.
In addition to examples of the Doctor meeting other versions of himself, this type of assemblage and learning is demonstrated by The Girl Who Waited. The Girl meets Amy, an earlier version of herself. In her own past she refused to help herself be rescued by the Doctor and Rory, but through the creation of an assemblage of Amy and The Girl and the shock of this meeting, The Girl becomes worthy of the events happening and makes the ethical decision to help rescue Amy.
Though we often think that we each become wiser as we age, a Deleuzian perspective on the Self as Other allows us to ask the question: what might we learn through confronting our younger selves as Other, either through time travel or social media?