The Follow-Through

Going to a food festival that doesn’t exist?

Say you’re doing something but then do something different?

Don’t follow through with a commitment?

This article rang true for me for many reasons and it is fascinating in how basic it seems. A concept that we anthropologists use is the “what you say vs. what you do” — because people will tell you one thing, but then, do something completely different.

There’s no reason why we should act differently in person or digitally – in fact this proves it. It’s only more of the moment, because it’s about food festivals. We all try to create an appearance of who we want others to think we are (aka the concept of the mask) vs. who we actually are.

I could go on with this down a few different routs – psychology for one – but I’ll stick with anthro, because that’s what I know. It is the main reason why anthropologists use participant observation – because if you ask people questions in a lab or office or even a coffee shop, they might tell you that, “yes, I like coffee and drink it all the time”. But when you just observe that same person, you see that they always order tea.

Digital lives are no different. We post images of perfect plates of food, which show one side of the picture – perfection, seasonality, cuteness — to use the terrible term – it’s curated. But elsewhere, the pile of dirty dishes or dirty floor tell a real story. That’s the story anthropologists are interested in. Why the dirty floor and the pristine plates and glasses?