Much like the shift from oral communication to written text, digital text opens the door to many new possibilities. One of them being virtual interaction. The idea of being individual strictly in new media is something that Manovich disagrees with. When a group of people goes to see a movie, even though the movie is fixed and unchanging, each person leaves the theater taking something away from it based on their own life experiences.
The Virtual Stroller
Manovich uses the example of a French “stroller” walking through crowded urban spaces and making small connections with many people, one at a time and then never speaking to them again. This goes hand in hand with a good majority of person to person virtual interactions on the internet. You can see this concept in action on social media sites and even video games. If you go to the comment section of popular posts you will see people talking about the post. There are thousands and interactions between people that will probably never interact again.
In competitive videogames, like “Call of Duty”, you are matched with a group of people for the match. In between rounds you trash talk the enemy team and try to encourage people on your team. These interactions are very fun and can be very intense, but after the game you’ll never speak to those people again. It is interesting to think about because without the internet virtual interactions like that could never happen. Some people, like myself, are happy with these small interactions that never seem to go anywhere. You meet a lot of different people in a short period of time.
Featured image by: Anna Dziubinska