Francesco Zenati: Social Media and the Cleanse

Albert Gallatin statue outside of US Treasury Building

In this study, I will look at the intimate impact of social media on the psyches of two people/friends. These individuals will not serve as representations of trends, but rather as case studies that might provide some knowledge as to what frustrations are emerging in tandem with the growth of social media: especially instagram.

The study was meant to be an full visual investigation, of the social media celebrity of one person in particular, but such a study has proven problematic because of preexisting social dynamics – relationships falling apart – and anxieties about exposure and brand dilution – internet celebrities losing their enigmatic allure.

I had some doubts about the possibility of completing this project in June and was considering entirely changing the subject of my project. The doubts were that I would paint a reductive picture and that I wouldn’t have the resources to entirely understand the dynamics at the heart of social media use. However, I still believe this project is doable less as a biography or strictly documentarian approach and more as a reflection.

It has become obvious to me as I approach the last few weeks of my time here in Venice that this experience has served as a sort of cleanse. I quit using social media (except Facebook) before leaving New York for Venice. Rather than cloud my understanding of social media dynamics, it has clarified the frustration in overuse of the medium. This project will shift to meditate on the dynamics of social media in the context of bucolic routine.