Monday, 15 June 2009

Crisis of Significance?

It's kind of amazing, when you think about it, how the Web has shaped our lives as a generation, how it's connecting us via YouTube and Facebook and blogs (like this one!) and Twitter, etc etc. It reminds me of something I wrote about for my Culture, Media and Everyday Life class I took last year, and for which part of the assessment was a blog:

A quote from my favourite TV show - Supernatural - got me thinking.

"You're all so connected, but you've never been more alone." (And that's right, this was said by the evil bad guy who was killing people by mimicking the voices of dead loves ones, calling people and asking them to commit suicide.)

Of course, this made me think of wonderful FACEBOOK, which I bow down and worship on an (almost) daily basis. Facebook allows us to make contact with all kinds of people we thought we'd never see or speak to again, for better or for worse; your kindergarton teacher; some girl you hooked up with in O week; your friend's mum; your cousin's girlfriend's sister's thesis supervisor; you get the point, it's kind of ridiculous. But that said, it allows me to keep in touch with my overseas cousins, as well as good friends who I've lost contact with over the years, what with changing schools and boarding school and moving out of state and uni.


It's not much of a stretch to say that we're living our lives through Facebook. Virtual reality is almost second nature. Consider Second Life, where you can buy, sell, make money, make babies, and do just about anything that you may or may not do in real life. WHERE DOES IT STOP?!

Fortunately, the WHOLE WORLD is not slave to this thing called THE INTERNET, but thanks to globalisation, they probably will be. It's all part of Mark Zuckerburg's dreams of GlOBAL DOMINATION, which he's achieving through Facebook....there's an application for that, don't you know.

But let's consider what Facebook means for our generation. Facebook truly has become a large part of our lives, fad though it may be. Is it destroying more lives that it is bringing together?

Are we more lonely than ever before, with more 'tools' at our disposal for communication?

And what of "pushing deeper into the seamless cyber-mind"? Do we know more than we ever wanted to about our friends and family?

How's this for a scary thought: where does reality stop, and the Internet begin?

Is this our future?


I've made friends through this blog I wouldn't ordinarily have been able to make. Good friends, the kind I hope I keep. Kind of like pen pals, but better. Does this - all of this *gestures at the whole Wide Web* - make us more self-absorbed and attention seeking than, say, our parents, or generation X?

And is all this - this hyperconnectivity - a good thing or a bad thing? I guess we can't know yet...



Sharanya said...

I know, it's SO scary. Especially when you look back in retrospect.

Ryan.A.Nash said...

As long as we remember where our avtar ends and our life begins, we should do fine. :) But yea, all this makes me wonder what I'd do without it.

Julia said...

I think about this a lot.
I've seen friends at college go nuts because their ex-boyfriend that they broke up with because of the distance is tagged in pictures with the girl who lives above him.
And I have so many days that I spend hours online, blogging, facebook, using tumblr (do you have a tumblr? I feel like you'd like it. Mine is only to realize that sometimes too much internet just makes me feel crappy. And disconnected and alone.

Today I went to church with my dad, since it's father's day, and the fact that a group of people came out in the real world and were sitting there together just felt really good.

The internet is great. I "know" many people via the internet who are wonderful & enrich my life (like you!) who I never would've "met" otherwise. But it cannot replace real life, real person-to-person interaction.