Tuesday, November 1, 2011

When New Kills Now

Immersion Again
The perception of reality now depends upon the structure of information. . . These perceptual transformations, the new ways of experiencing that each medium creates, occur in the user regardless of the program content. This is what the paradox, "the medium is the message," means. Marshall McLuhan
Immersion in the social stream shrinks the perception of now to a tiny window focused on the approaching horizon. "What's new?" used to be a question of days or weeks. But in an information environment of pervasive connection the scope of what's new shrinks to hours, minutes or even seconds.

The average lifespan of a tweet is about one hour. News, comments and conversations fall like tiny pebbles into our Twitter feeds, G+ circles and Facebook walls, rippling in replies, comment threads and retweets for brief instants before being replaced by hundreds and thousands more. The timeframe of a "current event" has shrunk to the ever-moving real-time present, elevating timeliness over depth, brevity over substance, and frequency over quality.

This bubbling brew of endless emergence is spilling over into our perception of the physical world. Instead of introspectively appreciating experiences for their intrinsic value, immersion in the social stream moves us to experience life as a platform for social sharing. The events of our lives become shareable moments moving inch by inch down our Facebook walls until they are buried in depths where only search spiders travel.


Anonymous said...

scary indeed..... lalala i dont hear you.... i dont wanna think about this :)

Linda Rogers said...

I'd comment but your post is more than one hour old now.

Shockwave Plasma said...

This post is so yesterday

Deoridhe said...

I guess I much be just fundamentally out of touch with this whole community, even though I'm a blogger. I never got into tweeting or any of the realtime things; I'm a blog reader and often respond to things a week or more after they happen so I have time to think of things. I guess my offline life is so much about immediate stimulus-response that I try to make my offline time more responsive to my internal desire for reflection and self-direction.

The idea of being plugged in and reachable all the time terrifies me. The idea of blogging every stray thought and cup of tea bores me.

sororNishi said...

/me nods.

Botgirl Questi said...

Yeah. I admit to taking a little (a lot) of artistic license in giving voice to some of the messages of the medium. Although the stream itself is certainly focused on the new, we also get information from many other sources and hopefully take time to reflect and think independently.

Joey1058 said...

"Now" is subjective to the observer. I think Einstein wrestled with this concept a century ago. While he had abstracts to play with, contemporary society gets to experience it first hand.

A century ago, humanity still had "now", but had less observers. And was limited to the available lines of communication. We've gone from serial communications to parallel communications. This makes it seem like everything happens at once. But the individual still focuses on a single point, creating that point as "now".

Whether one line of communications is available, or one million lines of communication is available, the individual still observes a focal point. Botgirl will observe her "now" at a different time from when I observe my "now". But it is still the same "now".

I know what I just said is as clear as mud, but relativity was never my strong subject.

Botgirl Questi said...

Joey: I was thinking more of the experience of being constantly called to shift attention from whatever you're currently focused on to the possibility of some new emerging shiny things from the social stream. For instance, scanning Twitter or Facebook while having a face-to-face conversation with someone.