Susanna Paasonen is professor of Media Studies at University of Turku, Finland. With an interest in studies of sexuality, popular culture, affect and media theory, she is most recently the author of Carnal Resonance: Affect and Online Pornography (MITP 2011) as well as co-editor of Working with Affect in Feminist Readings: Disturbing Differences (Routledge 2010) and Networked Affect (MITP 2015). Her current research topics range from theories of distraction to sexual play, network failure, monster toon porn and the uses of the tag, #NSFW.
Boredom, frustration, distraction: affective oscillations and networked media
As work, leisure and combinations thereof are increasingly organized through smart devices and online platforms, network connectivity has grown into a matter of infrastructure without which individual and collective lives no longer feel quite manageable. This talk examines the affective dynamics of ubiquitous connectivity in the framework of attention economy trading in eyeballs, clicks and shares. When browsing through social media sites, modulations in the forms, intensities and rhythms of experience move between bored disinterest and titillating moments of attention. Meanwhile, ruptures in connectivity give rise to sharp sensations of anxiety and frustration when potentials to act and sense suddenly seem inaccessible. Zooming in on the more negative range of affect, I explore them as rhythmic patterns of experience that make it possible to conceptualize our prosthetic connections with devices, the stickiness of platforms, as well as the often ambivalent role that we, as so-called users, play in all this.