Seeing Ourselves Through Technology: Chapter 2 Notes


This article talked a lot about the filters that are used throughout social media, and how the effect our daily lives. There are 2 main types of filters: technological and cultural. Technological filters allow us to express ourselves in certain ways, but not in others. For example, when we post pictures on social media, some we can post with a filter and some we cannot post with a filter. Some social media sites like Twitter limit our word count on a post. We don’t really think of these as filters, but we are using them almost everyday! Cultural filters are just as important. Cultural filters would include the rules that guide us to making choices. These change over time and are different in different cultures. One example the author gave was about a parent putting together a baby book. Things we include would be baby’s first smile, first tooth, first time crawling, first steps, etc. Things we would leave out would be baby screaming, the endless nights of trying to get baby to go back to sleep, baby with spit up all over the onesie he/she has been wearing for only an hour, etc. We are using filters like these everyday, and we probably don’t consider them filters!

One last thing she talked about that I found interesting was how picture filters have altered how we look at the world. Apply filters to photos allows us to become unfamiliar of the world we live in. Instagram’s filters make our selfies and pictures of our everyday lives look different, but the filter itself is used so often that instead of making us unfamiliar of the photo, it makes it become more clichรฉ. This is something I had never thought about, probably because I don’t edit my photos much, but it really made me wonder.

Main Idea & Key Terms

The main idea of this article was to tell us about the filters there are throughout society. There are technological and cultural filters, genres to filters, and ways that these filter cause us “defamiliarize” ourselves. There are many different types of filters, but this article focused mainly on the filters we can use through technology.

Filter: Removal of unwanted content or impurities.

Terministic Screens:ย The terms in our language through which our understanding of the world is filtered.

Ethnography: The scientific description of the customs of individual peoples and cultures.

Defamiliarization: A theory or technique in which an artistic or literary work presents familiar objects or situations in unfamiliar ways prolonging the perceptive process.

Shirley cards: Images of a pale skinned women with dark hair against a white background.

Technological determinism: The belief that technology drives cultural change.


Throughout the article, the author talked about all different types of filters. She started by talking about literal filters: a coffee filter, a piece of felt or paper that filters out dust and dirt, a cigarette filter stops some of the harmful substances from getting into the smokers lungs, and even a screen filtering out different colors. She also talked about real life filters: word counts, boosting the colors, adding borders, or even blurring the image. But one thing she didn’t talk much about are the filters we put on ourselves. I know I’ve said this a couple times now, but it is so important to realize this. We are filtering ourselves everyday, by deciding what to wear, how to act, how to do our hair, etc. But think about this, how many times a day do we filter ourselves? Do you think we have used filters too much, and we have now changed who we are completely? It isn’t something we think about everyday, but it should be. We shouldn’t have to change who we are just so people think that we are nicer people, or happier people. We shouldn’t be afraid to be who we are. So, stop filtering yourself so much that you are completely changing who you are! Be you, and I promise it will change your life.

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