“Seeing Ourselves Through Technology” Notes


Rettberg compares modern day social media and other technologies to the convex mirror used by Parmigianino to paint himself, in that they both can distort the way we view ourselves. Self-representation is an important part of the way we live and always has been. Self-representation through text, most commonly seen in the form of autobiographies, didn’t become very popular until the last century or two after the literacy rate and availability of writing resources became widely available. Protestantism can be largely credited for the increase in people viewing themselves through their relationship with God. Cameras caused a metamorphosis of people’s ability to use self-representation, presenting the opportunity for more creative pieces. Analysis of the self has become more prominent in recent years as well through things like GPS and activity trackers. Smart phones allowed people to not only study their appearance before recording it, but also if they were dissatisfied with the result there is little to no penalty for deleting the record and trying again. Society tries to discipline young women, who through the use of smart phones and selfies, are some of the biggest stars of modern times. All forms of self-representation can act as not only a statement, but an entire conversation.


Main Idea:

Technological growth has allowed for the evolution of self-representation in our culture.

Key Terms:

Self-Representation: The act of presenting yourself or the way you perceive yourself.

Autobiography: A summarization of someone’s life/experiences written by themselves.

Confessions: The first recorded autobiography, written by Augustine.

Literacy: One’s ability to read, speak, and understand a language.

Selfie: A photograph you take of yourself, usually with a smart phone camera.


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