This project is an investigation into the ways we are documenting and representing ourselves through technology, ranging from self-portraits (?selfies?) taken with digital cameras and mobile phones through the merging of diaries and interpersonal communic ation in social media like Facebook, Twitter and blogs and to the highly technologically dependent self-tracking devices and lifestyles we see evidence of in health monitors, step monitors, posture monitors and productivity monitors.
In my earlier resea rch I have focused on quotidian and artistic/literary stories and self-representations, especially in social media and blogs. My current interest lies in the ways in which technology provides templates for us to see ourselves through and with, and through which we share our images of ourselves with others. Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr and other social media provide clear prompts and constraints for our personal profiles, and cultural norms are developing that I compare with norms in prior modes of self-rep resentation such as the diary, the self-portrait and the autobiography.
In addition, we are increasingly seeing technological devices and services developing that automatically gather and monior information about aspects of our life: how we use our compu ters, which websites we visit or search for, how many steps we take and how we sleep, our blood pressure or blood sugar levels, where we travel and these services produce visualisations of these aspects of our lives that in turn become representations of ourselves: new forms of self-portrait mediated through technology.
I plan to write a monograph and a series of articles examining this cultural trend, using a historical perspective relating them to earlier forms of self-representation, and then looking at the individual forms of self-representation in turn: visual, textual, social and physical. A final section of the book will be devoted to a discussion of surveillance and its relationship to self-tracking.