Sunday, May 17, 2009

Go, 12! Go, future!

Went to 12.5 graduation last night, and it was fun. Got to meet some lovely parents of graduating students, and I think I might have danced a little bit with one of the dads. Hm.

Had many interesting and enjoyable conversations with grads from the first four years of the program. They remain the bright, hilarious, optimistic/skeptical people whom I knew as students, and I enjoy them even more as peers.

Quite a few conversations about Twitter/facebook/YouTube/internet-living. Many said something like: Okay, we're connected. We've all shared the freshest, most inspired, hilarious, bizarre and obscure stuff that's out there. Now what? All of us have a media channel, or two, or three, or more? What's it getting us?

Yes. Interdigiworld is frequently an echo chamber of hype, distraction, self-absorption, banality, hate, boredom, loneliness and superficiality. The screen/clicky-click interface reduces our best and richest nature as humans, no doubt. It's weak on story. It's weak on meaning.

A lot of us could stand to get away from it for a while, to sit out a few rounds and walk in the woods and connect with family and grow our own food and paint and write and hang out with Rick and watch all the Kurisawa films and start a business and go work with kids and whatever non-clickety activity that brings joy and connects us to the earth and each other. Of course. Jacques and Jerry Mander and Postman would endorse that plan, fully.

But past the good/bad judgments, I'm interested in the creative tension between what hyperinstantconnectedsharingness clearly is not providing for us and the unknown potential of what it might. Can we embrace technology in a way that is mindful and fun and expansive of what we bring to the world? What can we learn from Obama? Or Shaq?

Beyond saying yes and diving in, I think using technology thoughtfully requires the basic work of thinking about what you value, and what value you provide to the world, and asking: How can the internet bring me more of what I value? How does it bring me less of what I value? How do I use technology to bring more of who I am to world? How can it help me do my thing? How can it undermine my value to the world? And maybe most importantly, in a globally-connected world where we live everywhere at once, where are my roots?

A few people have told me that my blawg has inspired them to start one of their own and I'm glad. It's hard to over-sell the rewards of writing a hundred or so posts and putting them out there in the world. Beyond the surprising connections and conversations it sparks, keeping a blawg can deliver the same magic as keeping a journaling, but on a public stage. Treacherous and exciting!

Yet I'm blawging less these days. Just as hyperinstantconnectedsharingess gets more useful and interesting, I'm spending more time away from it. The tension is in how it simultaneously provides an opportunity to express my voice, share my perspective, tell stories and connect, and at the same time, takes me away from things that give me greater enjoyment and let me be my full freaky self. So I find myself spending less time clickety clicking and expressing my thoughts to the cyber-ether, and more time working and laughing and hanging out with real people.

On that note, I gotta get out in this gorgeous day. Take a walk, maybe read the paper on the porch.

If I come across something interesting, I'll tweet it.

Hope you're all well. Always happy to hear what's going on with you. Email



I'm Jelly said...

To wit:

"Mulitple SIDosis," a 1970 experimental film from amateur filmmaker Sid Laverents, who died recently at age 100.

A charming thing once it gets going; worth the slow opening.

I'm Jelly said...

Comment received via email:


Your post provoked me to think about how I feel about our hyperinstantconntectedsharingness. I feel like for a lot of people, that the 'net' in all of its nowness is basically like an annoying roommate with an endless knowledge of all niches. More than willing to spew to the nearest set of eyes and ears. Only the tricky thing is that these outbursts are brought on by ourselves and not this other being that would be easy to ignore. I think the way things are going, people who didn't use to be curious at all, are getting trained to be a new kind of curious, but I question how valuable this new curiosity is. Seems like there is this inner circle of information and aesthetic that is being circulated on cool hunting type blogs. I wonder what this is going to do to our collective tastes. Feels like there is a cult of sameness being formed, taking advantage of this hyperinstantconnectedsharingness. I don't understand the compulsion to get in on the sharing of this similar information game. I guess some people need it as a way of amplifying their participation and engagement with society?

I do appreciate the internet for its growing ability to connect makers with new and unexpected audiences. This is the kind of connection I feel with it. I've always liked to make things and show them to people. I see these new and free media channels as an extension of making weird flyers and posters on a college campus and then passing them out. Only now you can be as multimedia as you want. I get excited by seeing what others are making too. By finding original thinkers with original voices. I like it when this emerging connectedness spits out some inspiration and a personal viewpoint. It makes me feel good when cold technology can lead to those ends!