Humans like to connect.

May 6, 2011

Close your eyes.  Look back to your preschool and elementary school days.  Smile and frown at the memories.  Take a deep breath and release.  Now open your eyes.  Go on, don’t be afraid.

Remember the year 2k? I was still in elementary school. I think I spent my most productive days making sure my fellow friends did not suffer from too many snakebites in the game Oregon Trail. Oh yes, those were the good times. I remember those big fat Apple desktops. I remember trying to impress my first seven year old crush.

A decade has passed, and now I sit in front of my highly advanced gaming laptop.  It weighs a couple bricks.  I would have fared better with an Ipad.  Whatev.

Open up a google page. Type in “f”, what is the first suggestion you see? Are you familiar with it? Well, over 500 million people are.

Our world today has been shaped and reshaped by old and new technologies.  That little military experiment widely known as “teh interwebz” has now grown into a full fledged beast.  With websites like wikipedia and various search engines, our ability to acquire new knowledge has skyrocketed.  However, free information still does not quench our thirsts. There is simply too much momentum to stop now.  The more advanced we are, the more we demand.

We feel the urge to mobilize this discovered information and make it even more accessible, even more volatile.  With sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, the sharing of information has never been easier.  Millions of people share billions of user generated content each and every day.  Sometimes, it can really feel overwhelming.

Don’t be scared.  Our most basic human instincts tell us to connect with other humans.  Ever wondered why isolation and ostracism lead to mental breakdowns?  The way we interact with the world has an immense impact on how we develop.  Neuroscience tells us that socializing is a vital aspect in understanding ourselves.  So basically, this is great news for us.  We can literally connect to this giant web anywhere, anytime.  In a sense, no matter where you go, you will always have the virtual crowd following around. 
You have almost become popular.

Now hold on for a second. 
Take a moment and ponder the implications of such a technology before you speed off onto that infinite run way of the social media era.

Have you ever wondered how such technologies might become invasive to our balance in life?  Should a person be virtually connected every second of his or her life? 
Maybe you agree with this kind of a lifestyle, maybe not.  Don’t worry, I won’t judge you.

How about turning off your cellphone for a couple hours and relaxing to a good book undisturbed by constant tweets and blurbs?  Yes, I definitely think so. 
One of the hardest aspects of the digital age is creating that balance between the digital and the real.

Geez, it seems so simple in words….

Go ask a normal college student to try and not check Facebook for a month.  Heck, that’s pretty much tipping the scale.  Maybe just for a week.  Wait, that might still be a little too difficult.  Okay, maybe for a day. 
Surprisingly, because our brains have been so wired to this action of being on social media sites, we will actually experience physical and emotional backlash whenever we tear away from these activities.

This isn’t going to get any better or worse, depending on how you see the situation.  Society has drank out of the online kool-aid, and now we are hooked on and ready for more.  Let’s give a toast to Moore’s Law. 
I’ll provide some whiskey.

The technologies that we see and utilize today will become a million times more advanced in a decade.  Once again, let’s toast to Moore’s Law.  I hope you are not too drunk.  There’s a couple more sentences that you should read.

No one is going to tell you how to live your life between all of these nuances.  No one is going to help you decide whether to go on that date with your girlfriend, or go help those level 5 newbies through their first dungeon run in the world of warcraft.  I merely leave you with these musings so that you can go and think about them. 
It’s pretty intriguing stuff.


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