I’ve recently been invited to a few “no-twitter through your status update” groups on Facebook by a dear friend, who’s been getting increasingly frustrated by my use of the twitter app integrating on Facebook.
The complaint is that my updates on Facebook are drowning out the updates from his other friends on Facebook.
Given that I have very different circles of friends, and acquaintances, as well as tweeple(twitter friends) I know online, and that I engage with random conversations with any one of potentially 1k+ different people, it’s entirely possible to anyone listening in on my twitter stream to find it all a bit overwhelming, compared to the the average status updates of a user on Facebook.
I guess if I were using just Facebook, and were being so pro-active, and engaging with people through Facebook, I would just as quickly fill up other people’s status updates with my activity. The problem, whilst seemingly connected to my twitter profile and facebook status updates being linked and connected, goes significantly deeper. It is what lies at the source of my quest for the “ultimate tool”. For a way of broadcasting information and talking with others that I know, in an ever increasing “intimate” and “direct” manner, through all the electronic mediums that are popping up all over the place, providing increasingly more valuable content to engage and interact with. Of course, it’s only a matter of time, before my attention gets completely saturated by it all, and then I have to start making a choice to wean myself off of all the potentially wonderful sources of electronic goodness, or die being sucked in by it all.
The problem is that right now I have to pay attention to the medium through which I communicate, as well as to whom I’m communicating to. It’s a double effort.. When really, what I want to do is focus on the people I want to talk with, and get the message across to just those who are interested. I don’t want to have to figure out who’s on which tool, and who I have to include or avoid where, for each topic of conversation.
For me, the solution lies within understanding the Social Graph, that lies at the heart of our virtual and physical lives. Finding tools to piece together the fragmented pieces of our lives, as we start to create a semblance of wholeness and completeness, through being able to express ourselves freely, find like minded souls, and share adventures, and ideas, with friends the world over.
The internet is not simply for “connecting” people, it’s creating an infrastructure of sorts.. A communication gateway, that will eventually allow, or give access to anyone who wants to speak with anyone. For now, cost, access to people’s details, and the choice to remain public or private play a large part in how available people are to each other. But slowly, as more and more people start using tools and technologies like Twitter, and Facebook, and LinkedIn, and other tools that “connect” people together, and show each other in different lights, the more increasingly challenging it’s going to get to stay disconnected from everyone else.
Even in the most remote regions of the world, cell phone penetration means that you can reach pretty much anyone, anywhere, as long as you know that access code, and phone number, and have the means to fund the connection..
Soon that will change.. Soon everyone will be able to connect to anyone.. Unless they choose to not communicate with certain people.
For now, the gatekeepers are clearly helped, with the failings of integration of these communication mediums, and our fragmented social graphs, but as we start to put the pieces together, we’ll start to get ever more access to the people we meet, or the folks that they meet…
It’s entirely possible, that we, as a generation have become the most enabled citizens of the world, with voices, and messages that can be amplified to any part of the world.
“We will leave a digital legacy behind us that will be larger than any previous generation” according to Benjamin Ellis
[source http://redcatco.com/blog/communication/we-are-amplified/ as at 28 Nov 2008]
I have a feeling he could be right. It may not happen straight away, it might take us some time for us to learn to sing like a choir, in harmony with one another, but give it enough time, and once we figure out how to sing in tune with each other, we most definitely will be able to amplify each others voices..
For me, the biggest challenge facing us, is the disparate nature of technology and the web as it stands. I believe the solution is going to emerge when we stop putting technology first, and start looking at, and then solving the human needs that exist. Only then, can we truly be able to pull together the “solutions” that will make a difference. For I still remember, in the late 80’s and early 90’s how as part of our studies, we had to cite examples of how people were “afraid” that computers and technology would take away their jobs, and make them redundant, and unnecessary.
That may be the case in more mechanical processes, but unfortunately, most people, especially those working with information, and services, will probably agree that now we’re spending more time with these tools than ever before. Instead of being liberated, and having more spare time for ourselves, we end up wanting to consume ever more, and ever more, until perhaps it’s consumed us, or we have nothing left..
The only way to change that is to start with our daily habits, and look at ways of getting more focussed, more disciplined, and starting to cut out the things that are irrelevant and invaluable.. How? I don’t know. But I know that it’s something that will require us as a society to start relying upon each other and supporting each other in new and different ways. Because fundamentally, I believe there to be real power in synergy, and real untapped potential in the space that exists when two or more people come together.
Perhaps that’s why it’s generally taken teams of two’s and three’s to create the great powerhouses of technology that exist in our world today. I look forward to seeing, these systems, software, and machines of old start to crumble, and be recycled into a world that finds ever more efficient, synergistic and meaningful ways of getting things done, with a clear desire to bring the basic essentials of life to everyone, and then be able to choose one’s life path, not be thrust into it through necessity of our most basic human needs, of food, clothing, shelter, family, and community.
Now it feels like we have to pick up the fragmented pieces of our 20th century society, and start to figure out how, together, we can map out a new, uncharted social graph, that ultimately will connect all the dots, and create a new picture for all that choose to be in it.
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