Saturday, December 18, 2010

Robert Neville, Mr. Lonely

In order to find Robert on Facebook Please search: "Robert Danger Neville" and he lives in Los Angeles.

-Please do not try and add him as a friend, his whole page is completely public and I feel it will take away from the idea if he starts adding friends. Thanks!





Robert Neville Has No Friends
When I found out that we could do a creative option for our final project I immediately got excited because I could do something that plays to my strengths and with almost no rules. This is the first time I could utilize my creative talents in a long time, science just doesn’t call for this that often. I made a Facebook page for my favorite (and most interesting) character Robert Neville. What my main focus for this was to really showcase the loneliness and frustration he feels everyday of his life. I think making a Facebook page for the only known human on the planet, which at its core is a way to meet and keep in contact with people, is a great contrast that shows how lonely life really would be if you were in his position. There is something really sad about seeing someone with a page that they update several times a day with no one to read or respond to it, ever. It is almost like an internet journal that he can keep his thoughts written down and express whatever he feels he needs to, although no one will ever read it but himself.
Some of the best parts of this project lie in the posts he makes. I really tried to make him emotional when he posts, either depressed or frustrated to the point where he sometimes loses control for a short while. Finding content from recent history that plays into the loneliness aspect of his world was probably the most fun, an example being the Akon song that Robert posted one of the days he was feeling particularly lonesome. This was a great way to integrate technology from today into his life.
After weeks of working on the page, getting pictures, updating his info, daily status updates, it has turned out great. I tried to make it a powerful idea that he is all alone, but keep it somewhat light by using some of the content of his personality to make it funny. A good example of this is when he posts on his wall about his current thoughts; he is the only one to “like” it. This makes one feel bad for him, considering he is probably devastated that no one will ever be there to “like” it, but also its humorous because “liking” you own posts is commonly regarded as a vain practice by today’s Facebook standards. I think when readers examine his profile page and see that he has no friends, yet lots of content, it hits home that he was the main character in one of the greatest novels depicting human solitude and loneliness. The goal for me was to emphasize his isolated world and I think that after reading his information and full page the readers will get that feeling and understand what he is going through.
This project was fun because it allowed me to constantly come up with new ideas to poke fun at his situation while still getting the point across. There are several not so obvious things about the profile that accent Robert’s isolation in the world and sadness that he has lost all of his family and friends. Some of these things will require looking at all the small details of the page, such as the email address he choose to use to create his account. The fact that there were obviously no computers or Facebook when the novel was written gave me the creative freedom to integrate old ideas from the novel with technology and the new ways of communicating. This being shown when Robert posted links to books he is reading on his wall and becoming a fan of things such as “weapons” and “whiskey”.
There was no need for continual revising because this was an ongoing project that I could add to content to whenever I wanted. I could be sitting in class and come up with a good idea and just go add it without changing the rest of his profile. Many of the things Robert posted were things he was thinking at that exact moment. When he gets frustrated he likes to think out loud on his wall, sometimes cussing and taking refuge in the bottle.
An idea that I keep thinking about during this project was how technology creates people who are isolated just like Neville. I used technology to show how isolated Neville is in his everyday life, but in reality technology is creating more and more isolated people every day. Today we are connected in many different ways, calling, texting, emailing, tweeting, and more. These connect us to other people in more ways than in Roberts time period, but they seem to be shallow and less meaningful when compared to face to face human interaction. Making this page for Robert really made me aware of how technology can create relationships that can sometimes have less depth than if you were to meet someone in person. For this reason things like Facebook and Twitter can be diluting to human friendships.
Robert Neville is the only human left on earth and he deals with it in many ways, sometimes becoming frustrated and sometimes drinking his sorrows away. Facebook is a program that was designed to keep people in contact and make new friends, and it is for this exact reason that we are able to understand how alone Neville feels when he is posting and updating his profile. Seeing zero friends and no comments by anyone but himself shows perfectly what he is going through. I am glad I got to do this project because I feel it gets the idea of his true sorrow and despair right to where the readers live. “Sometimes he had indulged in daydreams about finding someone. More often, though, he had tried to adjust to what he sincerely believed was the inevitable — that he was actually the only one left in the world. At least in as much of the world as he could ever hope to know (Robert Neville, I am Legend)

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