Connectedness in the 21st Century

It’s hard to talk about centuries these days. Time scales are so much shorter than they used to be. I remember when a meal meant sitting an unreasonable three minutes while your mom fried up an egg. You were lucky if she had the good sense to multitask that shit with some bread in the toaster, lest you wait another two minutes for your sustenance. These days, it feels like I can’t sneeze without hearing someone’s phone light up with likes and retweets, socializing the quality and magnitude of the event in real-time. And sometimes, it’s like a nasty fart that no one wants to claim. You can hear the ripples of dissatisfaction propagate away from the event’s unfortunate epicenter. Let us pray that GPS never becomes that accurate.

As we navigate the schizophrenic seas of intersecting social graphs, we’re challenged at every tack with emergent behaviors even the early adopters have barely heard of. And we can’t hold our breath to see what the twitterati says. We must react in the here and now. If I need to wait 30sec to count how many retweets I get and use that as a control on what I say next, I have lost sight of the goal and lost myself. It would be impossible to pilot a vehicle with that sort of feedback response. A thought experiment:

“uh oh, i think that car in front of us is veering out of control”

+1

“wtf does that even mea… oh god, we’ve crashed and the car is on fire. so much blood!!1!!11!!!one”

If we’re to survive to the end of this decade, let alone to the 22nd century, we need to remind ourselves that the here-and-now is at least as important as the somewhere-else-and-now. And it might even be more important than what your phone might have you believe. So, try to focus on your humanity and let technology do what it does best – offer suggestions, not demands.

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