Hyper-information

Haven't been giving this site enough love as of late...since about mid July I've been kinda hooked on the Facebook / Twitter scene. Not that I'm posting that much really (I don't even own a twitter account) but I have noticed I get more info about what's happening with people I know through these sites. But those sites definitely feel like socializing in a bar, whereas this site feels a little more like home.

Funny thing is this post will soon be visible on Facebook anyway as it pulls it in through RSS...

I could see myself being more engaged in social networking sites except I feel like I already spend too much time online. And I also have this nagging feeling that where now it feels like we still have a choice whether or not we have to participate in online networks, in the future I can see it being pretty much full blown social pressure. Kinda like how if you don't own a cell phone now you are almost off the grid. So I'm kinda biding my time until that pressure ratchets up (I think it already has), and I'll be involved anyways whether I like it or not.

Also I've noticed the average length of text messages I'm receiving from people has increased. I think it could be more reliance on text messaging to send greater amounts of information and also just that more people I know have smart phones and can type faster. Me, I'm still trying to tap 3 times to get the letter "z". Again, biding my time till the inevitable purchase of a smart phone.

I heard somewhere that younger kids have anxiety when they AREN'T able to access online networks. This should be surprising, but isn't really. I feel like the more you engage with lots of people online, the more touching human interactions can occur and then when you take that away of course you feel disconnected / detached without it. And you start worrying that you are left of the loop, that you don't know what your friends are up to, that they'll think you are ignoring them, people might be worrying what happened to me, etc..

This seems like a recipe for addiction / dependency. I already know that my online habits have a tendency to get fidgety and compulsive - I check my email over and over or check the same website over and over - so tapping myself into a broader information stream could be pretty overkill. The Iranian election was the first time I've ever been glued to a twitter feed, constantly refreshing it and sifting through it for real information...and that was *incredibly* draining. I think I did that for about a week or two weeks straight and had no mental energy left to do much else. Rumors, speculation, truth, lies - it was all coming at once at 1000 tweets a second.

Too bad the proposal Eric and I wrote didn't get accepted. It was conceived as an absurd joke but it feels more relevant every day.

I wonder if other people know this feeling I'm talking about, the drain of spending too much mental energy filtering through a wealth of raw data. It's completely different than trying to cram for a test or studying a wealth of knowledge for some purpose or goal. It's more like a million people trying to tell you something at once and feeling an incredible compulsion and urgency to decipher it all. Afterward you wonder if the information you've learned is even that important and if it could have waited till tomorrow.

No time to think about that though, I've gotta check bbc.com...

3_leet (not verified) says:

I check this site almost daily for updates, but ironically found out about this post via Facebook. I think social networking sites are good for keeping tabs on people that you don't see/talk to much, but aren't necessarily good for forming intimate relationships. You're right, it's like being in the bar, versus this site or email is like sitting on the curb talking outside the bar.

As one of the three remaining people under 30 who doesn't carry a cell phone regularly, I do get into trouble with being unreachable. I've also had people send text messages to my land line...

Eventually I suspect there will be a backlash to this technology a la the bike punk movement... Kids in school will pass notes only using paper. People will call each other and agree to meet in person at a certain time, and when they get to the meeting place, and the other person isn't there... they'll just wait!

zirafa says:

If a text message reaches a landline, does it make a sound? Ha.

That's a hilarious thought about kids passing paper notes...like the teachers would be so clueless, constantly confiscating cell phones and checking for text messages but not noticing bits of paper.

Kinda reminds me of that passage from Blink where one poor military general outwits the other highly funded/tech-supported general by using lighthouses to communicate through morse code. We get so used to doing something a certain way we forget there are other / simpler ways to accomplish the same goal.

Maybe in the future there will be a "slow living" movement akin to the "slow food" movement?

xbeethovenx (not verified) says:

...and we'll STILL be listening to records!