Boal talks about the Second Degree: Image Theater in his text, Theater of the Oppressed, where the audience is allowed to interact with the performers, and change the scene into something better. (343). Now taking this and applying it to the Shirkly reading, this effect can be applied to a larger scale. With barriers breaking down all around us, mainly communication and technology barrier, we can faster as a group perform a role in an image theater. In chapter four of Here Comes Everybody, Shirkly’s book, he talks about how social media is breaking boundaries, but we must be careful and make sure we know how we are addressing the public, “The distinction between broadcast and communications, which is to say between one-to-many and one-to-one tools, used to be so clear that we could distinguish between a personal and impersonal message just by the type of medium used.” (87).
Even if conventional methods of communication and media are breaking down, we are still numb to who we are talking to, we cannot differentiate between small interpersonal groups, and a larger audience when all our thoughts are broadcasted across social media. From Mcluhan’s, The Gadget Lover: Narcissus as Narcosis, we can draw comparisons to how we view social media now, we don’t see it as a way to break grouping barriers. Social Media to most people is just an everyday tool that we now can’t live without, we have become numb to it. It is so ingrained into our lives that is now a part of us, and with it becoming part of us we drown it out. (70).
With Social Media beginning to become to us, does it truly break grouping boundaries? While our messages are being processed by a large audience, maybe even against our will, does that mean our messages have less effect? If our messages mean less as a whole, do we then need to reformulate our hypothesis about our grouping boundaries being lessened, and look at alternate ways to truly group together? Shirky brings up an interesting point about the nature of small time writers on the internet, “The fact that people are all talking to one another in these small clusters also explains why bloggers with a dozen readers don’t have a small audience: they don’t have an audience at all, they just have friends.” (89).