Yelling into the void

I recently gave a talk on the overuse and misuse of technology that most of us are guilty of these days. A large part of the talk was devoted to the internet and technology  (such as smartphones) that perform functionality that people don’t really need.  One of the things that I mentioned was the use of blogs and twitter to allow people to post their thoughts.  Most of the things that people post with these kinds of sites/services is usesless information, that the  (potential) readers don’t even care about.  The internet gives people this chance to “yell into the void” with the hope (or delusion) that other people will care what they are saying.

I’m also guilty of this, as the  entire point of the blog is to give me an outlet for my thoughts without having to bother real life people. For a little comic relief in my presentation I decided that in the week leadinig up to it I would create a twitter account andd attempt to post on it a least twice a day.  I created the account, but prior to the talk I really had nothing to say, and felt a little silly posting up pointless information.  Since the talk though I have actually made two “tweets”.  It’s rather funny that I, someone who openly denouced this kind of behaviour, am actually guilty of it.  Why do we do it?  And  why am I writing this now?

It’s simple, people these days have an innate need to be connected. 200 yyears ago, if you wanted to communicate with someone you would have to write a letter or (god forbid) meet them in person!  But now we have phones, IM, email, twitter, facebook and a myriad of other ways to remain connected with people, and we have gotten accoustomed to it. My girlfriends dad used to call her mobile from downstairs insstead of walking up to see her,  and I think we are all guilty of using our mobile instead of walking a couple of meters to a landline (I know there have been times i have sent someone in the next room an sms).

Is this such a bad thing though? I’m not really sure.  The problem becomes that people these days spend so much of their time reporting on their life or looking into other peoples that they don’t end up living themselves.  I’m not saying that this kind of technology should be abolished, I love technology, but I think that humanity has moved very quickly with it’s up-take of this technology.  We need to stop adopting new technology blindly and every now and then take a step back and look at what it actually gives us and whether we should really be using it.

Technology is here to stay and I think that things we continue along the same path.  20 years ago barely anyone used the internet and now almost all of us do.  In another 20 years I’d expect that the internet (and indeed all of the technology that is emerging these days) will have become so ingrained within our society that we almost won’t even noticed it.  We may even have computers implanted into our heads that keep us constantly connected and completely abstract the internet giving us total connectivity and emersion constantly.  I think this would be great.  The difference with this (and what we need to strive towards now) is using the technology that we have because we want/need to, not just because it’s there.

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