Thursday, April 10, 2008

placed and displaced

The abundance of social media groups, applications, and devices, and the immediacy of information giving and getting these days reflects what I think is THE quandary of living a post-millennial life: we're at once more fragmented and more connected than ever before.
I have friends who don't even own cell phones, others with extremely wary views of all the applications and groups one can sign on for, and those who can't walk two steps without recording the moment on their cell phone/blackberry/ibook. I commute with crowds of people, elbow to elbow, on about-to-burst Muni trains where no one talks to one another, let alone hear one another (9 out of 10 commuters wearing their ipod). I can't help but think of that Lily Tomlin quote of years back from her "Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe" show: "We're all in this ourselves."
Cold comfort, I suppose, but there's a clear choice in all of this: focus on the downside of the equation or the connection. The old quality over quantity test applies. If the link-up is quality(what are you saying? is the information helpful to someone? or are you adding a new dimension to the definition of spam?) value is retained...a tall order, but a challenge perhaps worth taking.

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