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Adventures in the Garden of Owl

 
May
13
2011

Social Media & Social Service

We’re exploding with too much information these days: too much Sheen, too much Apple angst, too much LiLo, too much Trump, Palin, Google, Facebook. Tiger Mom’s and Dad’s and TigerMilk drinkers are busy Tweeting about their activities, Fb socializing about the bar mitzvah/wedding/dog birthdays. Job hunting on Linkedin, photo blogging on flicker,yfrog, and iPhone/Androided instant updates of what some would call “unessential” media. Occasionally, the merit of this stuff is useful. For the most part, the extension of the mind to the world through these devices is not much more than steam rising from the sewer grates. It’s there, but you don’t really notice it until you’re engulfed in the cloud. And then someone’s dead pet is a cry for animal welfare, a soured job hunt encourages empathy, a gig in a faraway state elicits “wish i could be there” – most of these thoughts we kept to ourselves or used as chit-chat over dinner – but now our chit-chat is our Status update. There’s a lot of this stuff and no-one -esp if you have a cache of 100 friends who like to chit-chat, responds to everything posted.
This is totally expected, we don’t have time to truly edit our thoughts and images distributed so instantly and globally. It’s easy to make slight mistakes and it’s just as easy as to rush to judgements over unsubstantiated postings.
We often enhance these posts with sidebars and tidbits to postings. I try not to discredit the author, nor attack a political position (aggressively), however a little ribbing goes a long way in getting through a menu of what floats or deflates someone’s daily balloon. Folks who simply read tweets or FB posts without occasionally commenting or posting are not getting the clear picture. This is the stepping stone off the old phone call/letter in the mailbox method of communication used for the previous 100 years. Just as we’ve seen telegraph turn to telephone and radio turn to TV, we are seeing communication drift up into a cloud of accessibility that will enable many devices- not just a smart phone or a tablet- to extend the realm of communication. Our appliances will communicate much like our friends communicate- often small esoteric comments on the road of life, responding to the community of friends at large. For instance, my friend the Refrigerator suggests that I pick up some more coffee and a half gallon of milk when I enter the Shaw’s Supermarket. Or the HouseManager tweets me about the need for toilet paper, or the EnergyManager turns on the lights and the air-conditioning in the room I just entered.
The BIG TOWER COMPUTER in your office is going away and it will be replaced by thousands of small computers all talking, communicating, extrapolating and performing services for you while interacting with you – learning how you prefer things to come to you. The only way this process of learning can happen is by social interaction divining the objects that you interact with daily. So this is why learning to interact with Twitter and Facebook and other Social Media sites is important. It helps pave the way to achieving a relationship with the next generation of computing/communication devices. We’re not going to get away from TMI but we will be able to condition the Information so that it’s more useful than our current deluge of tweets, posts, and personally social news. -oh btw, don’t forget to pick up a bag of coffee.

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