Digital Event

[ABSTRACT] The Digital Age: Photoshopped Selves?

Abstract accepted for Ecclesia and Ethics II


“If Christianity is really true, then it involves the whole man, including his intellect and creativeness. Christianity is not just “dogmatically” true or “doctrinally” true. Rather, it is true to what is there, true in the whole area of the whole man in all of life.”

(Francis A. Schaeffer, Art and the Bible, Ch. 1)

“I share, therefore I am.” – Sherry Turkle, psychologist and MIT professor of Social Studies of Science and Technology.

The term ‘Digital Age’ has been increasingly used over the past few years, and some of the most recent statistics (September 2013) show that the largest social network (Facebook) averages 1.19 billion monthly active users.[1] Common belief is that first impressions are made within about three seconds, drawing on appearance, body language, and mannerisms, and that these first encounters are largely impossible to reverse in future.

Increasingly first contact is being made online, and Turkle refers to the ‘second self’ or ‘photoshopped self’ that we produce online – a deliberately created self in which we share only those things that make us look good (or part of the crowd). In an image-focused world, critique has been made of the airbrushed culture in magazines for years, but the digital brings this capability to every user, encouraging us to alter our ‘digital skin’ in both our published images and in what we share or don’t share online. Genesis 1: 27 says “So God created human beings in his own image”: (how) has the digital pushed us towards projecting perfection, and is it causing dis-satisfaction with who we are created to be?