I swear I'm not a Luddite. I'm not moving to Florida to bitch about the government full time and I'm not in some remote shack banging this out on an ancient Underwood. However, I guess I count myself among the skeptics when it comes to the unmitigated goodness of progress. Or at least its distant cousin, trendiness.
The article rambles a little (intentionally, I think) but has lots of beautifully crafted paragraphs. Like this one:
This all began with these lingering questions: "Why are we conference attendees paying good money, traveling long distances, and sitting for hours in chairs narrower than our shoulders only to stare at our laptops? Why do we go to all that trouble and then spend the time Twittering and wall posting on the overwhelmed conference wifi? Or, more specifically, why are we so fascinated with our own 140 character banalities pouring down the stage curtain that we ignore, or worse, mob up on, the speakers that drew us there in the first place?"
Touché. Even I'm guilty of this one.Then he talks about what real time addition really is:
Email was the first electronic medium to raise my clock speed, and also my first digital distraction problem. After some "ding, you have mail," I turned off the blackberry notification buzz, added rationing to my kit bag of coping strategies, and kept on concentrating. Then RSS came along and it was like memetic crystal meth. The pursuit of novelty in super-concentrated form delivered like the office coffee service. Plus, no one had to worry about all that behind-the-counter pseudoephedrine run around. "Hey, read as much as you want, no houses were blown up in Indiana to make your brain buzz."
It was a RUSH to know all this stuff, and know it soonest; but it came like a flood. That un-read counter was HARD to keep to zero and there was always one more blog to add. Read one interesting post and be stuck with them forever. In time keeping up with my RSS reader came to be like Lucy in the chocolate factory with the conveyor belt streaming by. From my vantage point today, RSS seems quaint. The good old days. I gave it up for good last year when I finally bought an iPhone and tapped Twitter straight into the vein. Yeah, I went real time.
Now I can get a hit at every stop light. Between previews at the movies. Waiting for the next course at a restaurant. While you are talking to me on a conference call (it's your fault, be interesting). When you look down at dinner to check yours. Last thing before I go to sleep. The moment I wake up. Sitting at a bar. Walking home. While opening presents on Christmas morning (don't judge me, you did it too). In between the sentences of this paragraph.
Don't tell me you don't see yourself in those paragraphs! And did you think about why you do all this? Here's why:
I tweet into the void and listen for echoes. There it is now, that sweet sweet tweet of instant 140 char affirmation. Feels good. RT means validation. I think I'm developing a Pavlovian response to the @ symbol that borders on the sexual.
Read the whole article for a very interesting second half where he discusses real-time and the singularity.