Saturday, October 29, 2011

Craving Cyborgs in the Social Stream

It would be interesting to hear what your feelings are in respect to how you felt from both a cognitive and physical point of view when you decided to park your self onto the shoulder of the virtual speedway and just observe instead of participating in the race? My strong sense is that you felt all of the classic signs of what an addict feels in the early to middle stages of withdrawal, given your previous involvement in the social media racing series. If that is true, the question is, how strong is the need and/or urge to get off the shoulder and race along the virtual speedway again? From comment by Splash Kidd
Quitting the social stream felt like kicking an addictive substance. For the first few days, hardly ten minutes went by without an urge to connect. Although the frequency has subsided over time, I still notice my mind often turning away from what I'm doing with the desire to enter the virtual world of the Stream.

For the past couple of years I've spent so much time in the Stream that it has become deeply intertwined into my experience of life. I am both deeply integrated into it and extended through it. Although I have no hardware embedded in my body, I am functionally a cyborg. So when I disconnected myself from the virtual world, I also cut myself off from the part of me that lives there. I lost the extensions of my senses that span the globe in an instant and feel the real-time pulse of its digital heartbeat.

I'm just beginning to gather enough awareness to dig into what I've lost and gained through my years of immersion. Stay tuned.


Vanessa Blaylock said...

"Although I have no hardware embedded in my body, I am functionally a cyborg."

Interesting point... cinema has been anticipating the hardware cyborg for ages... meanwhile we've all become software cyborgs.

Although I'd argue that even shoes & glasses make us cyborgs. We became "enhanced humans" when Eve & Adam donned that first artificial skin, the fig leaf.

Anonymous said...

For myself, I feel no particular compulsion towards social media. I use it a lot... usually, but when I don't I don't miss it either. I don't feel any compulsion, or addiction. When I'm not using it (from either choice or circumstance) I don't miss it.

Botgirl Questi said...

Vaneeesa: I agree with you that humans have been married to technology since the start.

Tateru: Show off! :) For me, the addiction is more about the information stream than the social interaction. But there's also an almost unrelated compulsion to keep "performing" in front of an audience. The social stream is the perfect storm tying those two dimensions together.

Anonymous said...

Hi Botgirl,

I've greatly appreciated both your insightful approach and sensitivity in the way you view both the positive and negative aspects of social media and virtual reality since I started following you on twitter. You’re blending into your postings and articles a very tactful sense of humor has left me in laughing and/or nodding my head in agreement on many different occasions.

All of us today who utilize technology for both work and pleasure have to constantly be aware of the "fine balance" that exists between our "carbon" selves and our "virtual" selves. Our genetic make-up as individuals however, until just very recently is more or less associated with the natural environment and the rhythm's of nature. Technology today isn’t any where close to being associated with the natural rhythms of nature that makes up or genetic history.

We all are more or less astronauts in regards to the revolution that is taking place with technology today; the key is for all of us to find a way to balance the use of technology in our lives. Not to find a balance will lead to disaster both as individuals and as society.

I'm not a car racing fan, but your last post that I commented on made me thinking about the recent Indy Car driver, Dan Wheldon, who was killed in Las Vegas Nevada this month. Computer technology, like car racing, can be very seductive and highly addictive at high speeds, but at what point does pushing one self to go faster and faster ultimately result in a very tragic outcome?

Don't burn out Botgirl, the world needs insightful "cyborgs" like you; keep working on that “fine balance”!

Botgirl Questi said...

Splash Kid: Thanks. We love the speed, but few of us want to crash and burn. Since our ability to push technology forward far outpaces our biologically ability to adapt to it, it makes sense to pay careful attention to the unintended consequences of our full-blown embrace of technologically-driven change.