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Thursday, August 18, 2011


Can we get beyond talking about people "living online"?
Along the lines of this post from Crooked Timber, I think the metaphor has gone too far.
Yes, the modes of communication have expanded, and there things that we do that are interacting directly with software (and perhaps with others in a delayed way, such as blogging!), rather than directly with people, but we are not living online.
What does the question "are you online?" mean these days? Yes, we may be available or not to communicate via a variety of channels, but no "we" are not online. I'm still here, in this room, breathing, as usual.
Perhaps "living online" is used in the sense of "living in one's head", which is generally not though of as such a good thing to do.
I guess, as a general topic, and as a source for personal time and space and energy management, I want to limit the extent to which one says "we" are online. Things like Facebook have an almost avatar like quality to them, where a certain amount of our information is packaged and available to others even when we are not available. It sort of represents us. How this fits in is something to continue to struggle with, but I just need to remind myself at times, that I am here, and these are modes of communication. We do say that google can be like extended memory, but I just don't want to go down that path. Perhaps people of the future will have some kind of choice like this to make, but for myself, I am who I am, not changed so much, but with a few more communication and knowledge access tools.


Boaz said...

This topic ties into the topic of digital dualism, covered on the Cyborgology blog here.

Boaz said...

Or, more directly, here.