Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wondering as I Wander the Digital World

This digital world we live in, with all this..."social networking" (not socializing) all the time is...I'll be honest...addictively alluring, mostly; yet simultaneously wierdly repellent.

Should re-tweeting what someone I don't know tweeted, alleging what someone else I don't know (Britney Spears)said, count, as social...anything?
RT @ tferriss“The cool thing about being famous is traveling.
I've always wanted to travel across seas, like to Canada and stuff.”-
Britney Spears
Celebrity Gossip, at best, which I would otherwise be blissfully ignorant of were it not for this medium. Except for perusing my travel buddy's typical reading material for the plane once a year or so, I can usually live completely unaware of celebrity shenanigans--and I like it that way. (They *have* been featured more and more, on NPR of late, though; she grouses)

Laying this all out is wrenching. All the thinking, and interpreting and translating; writing, editing, re-editing, is absorbing and seemingly neverending. Clearly all the tweeting and social networking is wearing me out -- private summers all summer notwithstanding.

There's gotta be a better name for it. Something much shorter, like the digital tools -nay APPS cum verbs, like "Google" as in "Google(d)it." or "Tweet". Some hybrid of the term, "Social Networking" that conveys the spirit of...

the experience of instant, constant, usually non-visual or staticly visual communication with people you know--
and/or people you do not know, and/or--
people you know only in the digital realm,
24/7, 365 without boundaries, geographic, chronological or otherwise.

It's compelling, absolutely fascinating, when you think about it, yet the effects are regrettable. The Shallows is on my "to read" list (what isn't?) The author seems to affirm what I wrote here.

I guess the brains of the kids for whom online presence is de rigeur during their brain's most formative stages, have already evolved sufficiently that they have no need to get their minds around the idea of judging the diminished ability to think...deeply as good or bad; the point is moot. Who needs to think protractedly or deeply, like in the days of the Dewey Decimal System and IBM Selectrics and Encyclopedia Brittanicas when you can just Google It or Wikipedia or WikiHow it or whatever! DUH!

(One of my FB friends said "Der!"; perhaps hipper than thou... er, moi.)

Older brains that trained in the trenches of memorization-- long speeches for recitation at Christmas and Easter pageants, verb conjugations in foreign languages (pluperfect, even!)-- and researched information the old-fashioned way, for hours in warm, good-smelling libraries full of nooks and crannies and secrets-- our brains used to ponder. Now, seduced from the depths to digital social shallows, we mostly wander-- but at least we'll be able to tell our grandkids:

"Why I remember when friends were real people you actually saw face to face--right beside you, you could touch 'em--like you and Grandmommy did that time, sweetheart, remember?! Or you could use this thing we used to call a phone and hold up it to your head, and TALK through these little holes to your friend--and they could hear you and talk back--and get this--you could hear them!!"

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