Applying Motivations to a Concept
For thousands of years, it has been human nature to distance ourselves from the uncomfortable in social situations. With the advent of the internet however, people suddenly became drawn into scenarios that could be deemed disturbing or provocative through sites such as Post Secret. It no longer requires physical presence to establish strong connections with the world and it has been argued that these sorts of bonds are negative and detract from the social nature of human beings. What if there were circumstances that encouraged purely internet interactions? I believe that through research and case studies, I may have found one such circumstance.
My final project idea stems from an interest in urban studies that I have always had, more specifically relating to the homeless population. It is as apparent as ever that homelessness within New York City as well as other urban environments is a serious problem that many people tend to try and avoid. As city-dwellers, we are constantly experiencing the awkward subway encounters, or the curbside avoidance of the desperate requests for food and/or some money. What people should begin to understand through our encounters with the homeless is that there is a lot of neglect that is going on, and years of this neglect along with the experiences of what are referred to as “life crises” (death of loved ones, starvation, rejected by their families etc…) have lead to severe mental illness, such as depression. All of the emotions build up within homeless individuals, with no place to express their emotions and feelings to those who are willing to listen.
It is a common misconception that shelters or psychiatrists are always able to assist in the mental well-being of the homeless. This is where the ideas of social networking may be able to help and provide a comfortable environment for the homeless to voice their opinions and life stories. Here is an environment where people are able to blog their lives, and their are no limits on how much content of a persons life is revealed or to the stories and emotions that are expressed. More importantly, the homeless don’t have to be discourage or self confident by their appearance and those who are not in a homeless predicament only have to listen and respond. It provides a social and theraputic environment using the basic tools of text and image.
In stories I have read along with films and documentaries, there is no shortage of intriguing stories that they have to tell, and they have the ability to captivate audiences. One such example is the film “Dark Days” by Marc Singer which is an inspiring emotional roller-coaster through the lives of the homeless and their struggles for survival. The stories that these people had to tell leave you speechless and call to its audience to experiance a hurt and desperation that many could only imagine. The internet, and more specifically social networks are places that encourage people to both speak and listen in a digital environment. In considering this project their are also harsh facts that must be considered. If people are not willing to listen to the homeless while within their physical presence, maybe they would be more prone to online. A homeless social network would also serve as a place where homeless from across the country would be able to talk to one another. One of the easiest forms of help is through communication.