Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Nostalgia for the Ephemeral in the Age of Urgent Now (2/3)

Douglas Rushkoff argues that digital technology and perpetual connectivity have created a kind of "Present Shock" in which we experience "a diminishment of everything that isn’t happening right now — and the onslaught of everything that supposedly is."

Urgent, interruptive nowness is partnered with over-whelming permanence. Social media has ushered in the Age of Now (which you're missing out on by reading this btw), but the record of the moment still lasts forever.

For. Ev. Errr.

And that moment has been indexed, and it's very searchable.

There was, at first, promise of a kind of freedom on the web — before social technologies boosted our limited exposure. Back in those more naive times, we shared more openly, as if our posts sinking into the depths of whatever-we-called-it-before-Timeline was sufficient to erase them. We hid behind handles like they were codenames and shared peer-to-peer. No Google search string was sufficient to find you if you didn't want to be found. Anonymity was part of the game on "the net" and it was fun.

If you came through that in my generation, you grew up into what we have now. Facebook monitors your web surfing so it can sell you the shoes you were thinking of buying. Employers will dig up your bong-filled college photos on MySpace and pass you over for a job while the NSA sifts through your old Hotmail account to keep America free from terrorism.

It's been kind of a rough coming-of-age.

Given that, I can understand this counter-intuitive desire for impermanence. When SnapChat creators Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy were on Colbert (where I apparently get all my information), one of the things they mentioned was this ephemerality.

1 comment:

Axldemic said...

You could do worse than get all your information from Stephen T. Colbert.