Blog 8 – 3/8/19

I chose I Love Alaska this week because I didn’t find anything else really appealing. This is a story told of an AOL user #711391o.

“On August 4, 2006, AOL accidentally published a text file on its website containing three months’ worth of search keywords submitted by over 650,000 users.”

This piece would not have been an existing idea, circulated piece, or as a film without the Internet. As the fractional search history of an AOL user, is narrated over images of Alaskan glacial paintings, each entry unlocks a hole upon an overwhelming portrait of oddness. The user seems to have a faint grasp of search methods, and blunt need for guidance, user #711391’s search bar becomes a priest, therapist, prophet. A user log of three months gives us the following perceptions into their life:

“Don’t cut your hair before a big event,” “People are not the same in person as they are on the Internet,” and? “I thought I could handle an affair but I couldn’t.” 

As we watch I Love Alaska, we come to learn that each search history establishes a secondary archive of the self. The continuous process of the inner life is now accessed through keywords. We cannot assume to know what the life of this user is truly like, but the unlimited isolation of being trapped in our own skin has seldom been fabricated in fewer words than,

“Why can’t I sleep since I had a hysterectomy?”

I had trouble finding something that truly hit home this week, but this story makes you think about how secure our information truly is on the internet.