Violet was screaming, “Look at us! You don’t have the feed! You are the feed! Your feed! Your being eaten!”
In the novel Feed by M.T. Anderson, media plays a huge role due to its integration into the human body. By getting rid of external technology, the internal construction of the human brain becomes a media playground with the “feed” constantly probing and advising the user. It’s often hard to disguise between personal thoughts and the feed, because there often are none. There is just the feed!
Feed takes place in a futuristic dystopian society in which everyone had “the feed”. The feed is a micro-chip that is imbedded in the brain, “feeding” the user any information they want or would want to know. Everything is available with in a blink of an eye…literally. No remote, no phone, no TV needed. So, in having the feed you basically have a built-in mind computer. As such, you are frequently bombarded with advertisements, commercials, TV shows, social updates, and the news.
Part of the book describes, when accessing the feed, the user seems to dazing off, leaving behind a blank expression. Another response happens involuntary when the user looks at products, merchandise, or thinks of something they want. The feed is the brain, and it allows direct media access from corporations to their target consumers. All the time.
In this case, the feed is the media, and it’s an intimate part of you. Not only does the feed facilitate your desires, but it also allows corporations to have a literal voice in your head in the form of Nina your personal shopper.
She works much like an algorithm. Every sensory detail helps Nina construct a personal profile that better aids “the feed” to distribute information to you, while also assisting corporations to distribute products that you might want and ultimately buy.
“All you must do is want something, and there’s a chance it will be yours.” But, the primary job of the feed is to serve as a distraction. It become evident towards the end of the book that reality is not so great as the feed perceives it to be. The Earth is dying, and the environmental conditions are gradually causing physical degradations to its inhabitants. Viruses, lesions, even hair balding is happening. Slowly, the people are being consumed by the dire conditions that they have ignored , and even embraced. They are being eaten alive, but its all up to the feed to make sure they don’t realize it.
Anderson, Mathew. Feed. Candlewick Press, 2002.