Vol. 14 No. 1 (2023): MEDIA EDUCATION – Studi, ricerche e buone pratiche

Digitization of empathy: vital subsumption and digitization of the person

Vincenzo Auriemma
Università degli Studi di Salerno

Published 2023-01-30


  • Digital Social Work,
  • Empathy,
  • Twitch,
  • OnlyFans,
  • Social Emotions


The objective of this article is to highlight the role of new technologies, emphasizing how the high level of technologization allows for a twofold analysis: a) we note how interactions are mediated mostly by a screen; as a result, emotions undergo transformations, ranging from an attenuation of empathy to the fetishism of it. (b) the passive use of these technologies, combined with the lack of critical analysis on the part of most of its users, allows a vital subsumption within an “other-world” (far from the world of life), virtual but superimposed on the real. Hence a distorted use of the “world”, manifested in the worst expression of empathy, on platforms that are used as work, Twitch and OnlyFans. Indeed, some users are live every day and viewers have their control with donations. Juxtaposing these two visions might allow for a reinterpretation of what Terranova pointed out, namely that the dazzle of internet freedom, or the internet of life, was followed by the bitter discovery; however, it is no longer the dazzle of internet freedom that is frightening, but the lack of adequate media literacy that allows users the acceptance that the new mission of the internet of life has assumed.