The Internet has made us all famous to the people who like us. As Harvard fellow Danah Boyd emphasized in her keynote speech at SXSWi this week, social media has turned the notion of public and private completely on its axis, leaving us in a "completely messy" state of online identity.
Filmmaker Michel Gondry is no stranger to the powers of viral online viewership. And after inexplicably speaking solo on SXSWi's "crossover" panel, he gave SF Weekly his insights on this brave new world of insta-fame we're all slouching towards.
SF Weekly: How has the Internet affected your creative process?
Michel Gondry: The problem with the Internet is that one irrelevant or mean comment can be taken out of context. Everything gets scrutinized and multiplied -- It's like an evolution mechanism where a species is very small and suddenly there's a change of climate.
The Internet is like that -- It had a completely unexpected effect. Now everybody can say what they think and sometimes the most random element loops and kicks back to itself, becoming hugely prominent.
Do you think the Internet takes the notion of being famous and completely blows it away? Because now anybody can have a huge following.
It changes the dynamic. There is another type of celebrity; the guy or girl who uses blogs and they have millions of hits.
What do you think of the notion of privacy online?
Sometimes it's gross.
Gross in what way?
It's hard to talk about. People will say stuff like one guy asked for an autograph and then I had a few drinks and misbehaved and he displayed all that -- calling me a dick online. But that same person, asked me for my autograph.
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