Sociologist Erving Goffman believed that all human interaction was a theatrical performance. In his most famous book The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Goffman called his analysis the study of “Dramaturgy.”
Dramaturgical analysis is the idea that we present an edited version of our selves when we meet others in person.
All the internet’s a stage
The internet, of course, adds a new layer of complexity to Goffman’s perspective.
If social media is edited real life, then our dramaturgical action is the physical extension of it. We are no less authentic online than we are in person.
Goffman’s theory builds on American sociologist Charles Cooley’s ‘The Looking Glass Self’ theory. In 1902, he contextualized the individual:
“I imagine your mind, and especially what your mind thinks about my mind, and what your mind thinks about what my mind thinks about your mind.”
We take the word processor for granted but fifty years ago it didn’t even exist. That is, until Evelyn Berezin came along and produced the first standalone word processing machine. She previously had made the world’s first bank and airline system software.
She called her machine the Data Secretary, thinking that the new technology would eradicate the role of the human secretary.
The machine itself stood 40 inches high and contained thirteen semiconductor chips that Berezin patented. Unlike machines of past this one could delete, cut, copy, and paste — features we find ubiquitous today.
Berezin thrived in a man’s world, crushing all stereotypes that came her way. She felt compelled to lead the way in computer technology. Author and blogger Gwyn Headley sums it up perfectly:
“Without Ms. Berezin, there would be no Bill Gates, no Steve Jobs, no internet, no word processors, no spreadsheets; nothing that remotely connects business with the 21st century.”
Renowned graphic communicator George Lois takes us on a tour of his apartment. Located in Greenwich Village, what he calls “the best part of Manhattan,” the apartment is full of art. Even the chairs.
[clickToTweet tweet=”‘I have chairs all over the house that I don’t let anybody sit in. ‘Don’t sit in that chair!’ But it’s a chair. No, it’s not. It’s a work of art.”” quote=”‘I have chairs all over the house that I don’t let anybody sit in. ‘Don’t sit in that chair!’ But it’s a chair. No, it’s not. It’s a work of art.””]
Lois may be most recognized for creating the iconic “I Want My MTV” slogan. But he also designed 92 Esquire covers. He also spearheaded the 1960s Creative Revolution that shaped modern day advertising. Some even think he inspired the attitude of irreverence in Don Draper from Mad Men.
Take it from George Lois: “You have to have the good eye.” There is no doubt the man had a knack for aesthetics.
Blair Small is an entrepreneur, musician, and photographer based out of New York City. He’s also one of my best friends so I’m happy to feature him as the first guest on this blog.
Who are you and what do you do?
I am Blair Small. I’m a personal trainer, a wedding photographer and a musician, in no particular order. I like to take the “Rennaissance man” approach to my life, and pursue multiple crafts at the same time. I don’t consider any of these things jobs, and for that I’m grateful.
What are you currently working on?
Having my own personal training business has given me the freedom and time to pursue 2 other passions – music and photography. The inherent need I feel to create is fulfilled here. I write music on the the name Georgica, and just released a 7-song EP.
Making music that I’m proud of is what I live for. Wedding photography is a relatively new part of my life. My good friend is an amazing and really successful wedding photographer, and has been training me for the last year to be his associate shooter. Having the opportunity to be under such great and constant tutelage has been unbelievable.
How would you rate your photography skills so far?
Shooting weddings is not easy. It’s probably the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. I was sort of thrown into the fire and given a lot of responsibility from the beginning. At first everything was moving 1000 miles per hour, but as I get more comfortable, things seem to slow down and fall into place. I see improvement every wedding.
“Composing a great photograph is a skill that everyone should have.”
Where do you like to work?
I produce all my music in my apartment, which isn’t ideal, but with today’s software and equipment is very doable. Believe it or not, I often write using my iPads virtual instruments on the train. As far as photography goes. The lesson I’ve learned is shoot everything everywhere. There is never a bad place or opportunity to take a good photograph.
What motivates you?
Improving my craft is what motivates me. Creating something great is what I live my life for.
What was your earliest ambition?
My earliest ambition was being good at basketball. I remember 6th grade tryouts, all I wanted to do was shoot a 3 pointer, because prior to that, we didn’t play on courts with three-point lines.
What’s one work hack you use that others may find helpful?
With music, there will be times when you don’t have inspiration, or can’t seem to write anything. Don’t force it. Even if it takes a year, that will pass, and you will get into an amazing zone at some point. With photography, you must fail to succeed. Learn from your mistakes. Work to perfect your craft.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about working or life so far?
I know I’ve been lucky, but…
“if you ever have the chance or opportunity to work for yourself, take the risk and do it. You will NEVER EVER regret it.”