Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Drowning in the Dubious Digital Domain

The Third Wave, according to futurist Alvin Toffler, is the Information Age. This has succeeded the Agricultural and Industrial ages. We moved from farming to manufacturing to informing. News is uploaded almost instantaneously with Social Media 2.0, and reputations are varnished or tarnished with relative ease.

Content is still king! Whether you own a blog, website, Facebook or Twitter account your audience is drawn towards newness. Fresh is vital as fast. Print news has suffered from the microwave-ready, fast-food convenience, paint-by-numbers, approach to reporting. Anyone with Internet or Wi-Fi access can play quasi-journalist or pseudo-commentator and attempt to ‘go viral’. The more sleazy, nefarious and notorious the news is, the larger your captive audience. Lace it with clever or deceptive headings, and the legions will home in onto the potential prey. The ‘magic words’ still apply and intensify when you combine them with celebrity names. Shout 'caught on camera' and 'exposed' and the lurkers and voyeurs will have a field day (and night). The city doesn't  sleep... 

It would be interesting to note if a new charismatic guru were to descend from the mountains with his digital tablet with new messages from the cosmos. In the past, leaders would be burdened with stone tablets with laser-etched wisdom. Today, everything is compact including the way the message is contained and presented.

Why do we communicate in code, messages edited to the point of acronym? LOL. LMAO. LMFAO. ROTF. Has these added to clarity of thinking, or density of confusion? Many challenge the need to write in full over text messages (SMS), yet if there is clarity of thought why do they resort to multiple text messages. Unfortunately, many miss the point and fail to communicate effectively. In some ways we have become soft; in other ways, we have gone hard. HTFU.

Are we high technology and high touch? Or, have we failed to connect and communicate as humans once did. Why do we e-mail our lunch invitations to a colleague seated next to us? Have we become isolated in our electronic hardware? Are we becoming xenophobic and afraid of our own shadows? How is the world flatter when we falter on the most basic of connectivity with a human? No more talk – I mean, offline conversations. Just lots of online chat and chatter.

Looking back, we may snigger in private that we used to deploy humungous mobile-phones resembling thermos-flasks. Today, it comes as no surprise when you see a person talk into a tablet-phone that is at least six times the acreage of an android phone. In the past, we consumed rolls of film for those joyous moments. Today, we devour megabytes of digital real estate on a card just for a few high-resolution photographs or video-clips. Tradition is deemed boring and it has made way for Radicalisation.  

As long as there is a full moon, somewhere in the twilight, the lunacy prevails.

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