Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Snapshot

I like to write. So this opportunity is definitely lends to indulging that part of me - and I'm more than willing to become a guinea pig.

This is titled "snapshot" as an initial reaction to reading Stiles' post.

How do I see the world? Right now, and these days more than ever, through a computer screen. I am a screenager. And does this frighten me in that whole dystopian fantasy of a detached culture of isolation? Hell no. I see and feel connectivity. I have all your blogs, myspaces, facebooks, show listings, websites, del.icio.us bookmarks, all fed to me by harnessing aggregation technology. I do not feel out of touch behind this screen - I feel more in touch.

Some of you, with your strange attachment to physical intimacy, might feel freaked out about this vision of the future. I'm not. Quite the contrary. My identity and hunter-gatherer presence spread out on the 'net like a sweet veneer of Nutella has made a lot of my life accessible from many locations in the physical world. And I love it.

Evan, you mentioned that information is not necessarily thoughtfulness - but the fact that I have been able to make immediate use of a lot of this information--to synthesize it into something immediately useful--does that make me thoughtful? I don't think so - but it does makes me present. It makes me virtually sentient. And that, I think, is a step in the direction of being thoughtful.

4 comments:

SnrIncognito said...

(i hope that we'll expand directly upon someone's post through comments)

Thoughtfulness is a good work to dissect. When i say thoughtfulness i think i'm talking about doing exactly what we're doing; we're analyzing our environment and approaching things from multiple perspectives.

Thoughtlessness means, to me, behaving based on assumptions you've made without taking a close look at what you're assuming. For example: throwing trash on the ground is thoughtless. even if you defend it by saying "well, someone will pick it up" (which is a position that took some thought to come to) it shows that youre approaching the issue from a very ego-centric perspective, and it's the only one. You aren't thinking about other, very obvious perspectives (like how it affects anyone else).

Thoughtfulness means being able and taking the time to see things from different points of view.

Fred said...

Nico, I believe you need to modify your theory a bit. While I'll certainly agree that the wealth of online information we put out there supplements your relationships with us, I do not believe it replaces physical social relationships.

I'm sure you've seen the article I posted on my blog, about the complete loss of physical social interaction in a generation born into electronic communication. There is a generation of young people today who have replaced "real life" social relationships and "real life" friends, with an online life. I'm one of these people. I spent the later half of high school online every night, talking to people I had never met face to face, and I still am having trouble overcoming my fears and inadequacies interacting with people. My brother is becoming one of these people. He's uninterested in making friends, or getting to know his classmates, and instead spends all his free time on MySpace messaging people he's never met. I've seen these people in my anime club. Thirty-somethings who are perfectly sociable on our message boards, but show up at the meetings and sit in the corner by themselves.

I do believe an exclusive online life interferes with a physical social life which has more benefits than are at first recognized. I would much rather hang out with you in person than read your blog or send you an interesting del.icio.us bookmark. I think you may believe that your blog posts, your MySpace profile, your writing is more truly and clearly who you are than face to face interaction with you. I believe that believing this is selling yourself short. If all we knew of each other were our blog posts, we would most likely come off as unfunny, melodramatic people. I believe when you meet someone face to face, you see a myriad number of their eccentricities and quirks hit you all at once. You see all of the person at once, and it's a bit overwhelming at first, but its that rich and varied interaction where I feel I really know a person.

Evan Bacon said...

@ Fred:

I whole heartily agree with your assessment. As we get more and more "connected" we also find ourselves "disconnected." Not only with those around us, like all those myspace addicts, but also with ourselves.

When one is one The Net they can be anybody they want. If one has a difficulty making friends and introverted in The Real World, one can always be that extravert on myspace, facebook, forums, IM, and in games.

As Fred points out, there are some people who fully participate in his Anime Club forums, but then are afraid to truly be themselves in person at the physical meetings. These are the same people who have had a "girlfriend" on World Of Warcraft for over 2 years; but even if that person was in the same room as him or her, they would feel uncomfortable approaching them in fear of not being accepted.

So, while we are much more "connected" to others around us, there is a sense of "disconnection" between ourselves and others around us. We can talk to anybody at anytime for any reason over any medium. But are we truly representing ourselves as ourselves? That's a difficult call.

Aristotle claimed we humans are a political animal. We need others around us. And we need others around us face to face. No matter how nice it is to be my extraverted self over IM, on facebook, in a forum, etc; that interaction will never match the interaction between me and another person face to face. It is within the uncomfortable nature of face to face interaction that one can truly represent themselves.

Nico said...

aaaaand the ball is rolling!

I guess I should disclaim my statement about connectivity - of course, there is nothing like physical intimacy except just that. I'm not necessarily saying that what I feel in physical presence can be replaced, but I am saying that I myself require less than that of others.

I did read your article, but because of the way I lead my life and the places I ended up, I don't suffer from some of the symptoms.

Here's my 7:

1 - I do have annoying strangers in my life. There's this dude that wanders into the bar, gets drunk, and doesn't shut up about old school bands like Ratt, AC/DC, Poison, Warrant, and the list goes on... and he insists on talking to the staff, and I am not excluded. But he is a patron and so I have to deal with it.

2 - I have annoying friends from hs, I have even started bands with them. They come back to haunt me during holiday seasons.

3 - txting is only good for relaying information. When I want/need semantics, I do call. I call my friends, I text bands.

4 - I was a literature major, so understanding words is part of my way of looking at the world. Though I do like physical intimacy, I find that I tend to get sick of physical presence since I'm around people 24/7. This may be an effect of being part of the net-gen.

5 - We don't get criticized? I am used to it. My parents (who are the most harsh), cousins, relatives, fellow musicians, exes, and lit majors can criticize me. But friends? Maybe we should start.

6 - Semantics are not a problem for me, so this Outrage Machine I can see as just sensationalism. There is reality, and what people say about reality. I'm not disillusioned.

7 - the "holy shit, I built that" for me is websites, music, artwork, washing my car, writing. I don't think one needs to go far for that feeling, just having an outlet and sticking to it. But it says the internet cannot offer a "holy shit" - but I've started an LLC. So I think that only passively using the internet will deny you that feeling.

*****************

In the end, I'm not decrying being physically social - that's encouraged, too.

So, in the end - I, myself, in person, am the jar of Nutella. But my identity has been spread out in many places, all leading back to the jar. I think that's what I'm saying.

Analogies rule.