Welcome to the 21st Century
Here we are, now, in the 21st Century. My son likes to remind me that we are living in the Information Age, although Generation X is still stunned or confused that this is what followed the Space Age.
Interaction through Media
Once in a while, here at the blog, you may have read about the question of how interactive is the public media? I mean in the old days we had TV and Radio and newspapers and magazines go way further back in time to fulfill some of the same thing: long distance communication. I should probably not overlook telegrams, but for some reason I don’t feel I really understand how that really worked in society.
Now, with the Internet, some of how we interact is more modern but similar to that level. To some degree, blogs or posting at public forums, or semi-public forums is interactive but not in a private or personal way.
Meanwhile, most of us are also navigating interacting in ways that are much more personal and private online.
Some private stuff is both very personal and impersonal such as shopping and advertising.
Companies have grown so competitive for the attention that they are trying to cause potential customers to develop ‘addictive’ behavior patterns or abnormal attachments to checking mobile devices and streams of information.
Regarding information there are the two following important sayings: “Garbage in / garbage out” and “Knowledge is power”. Misinformation, control of information, censorship, propaganda, free press, freedom of information act in the USA, ….the need to sort and to organize information….The need to not be shoved off of the right track when doing research or seeking high quality answers by “Distracticons” ….
Bleep bleep…The obvious
For many people born since 1980, it has become second nature to navigate reasonably well through thick streams of information at least as comfortably as people can handle medium density urban traffic.
Online is not all the same. There are venues in which interactions are and can be personal. It is possible to have privacy online, but in general, online activities are like meeting out in public places. Like being ‘out in public’ there are lots of different ways to be online in not so private spaces. Instead of this being or feeling bizarre, for many of us, it is almost so well understood that it is difficult to say anything about it.
Really Connected or just imaging things?
The reality is that personal connections that last normally require multiple modes of online communication or role clarity. I have met real people who: in person, in public settings such as a group social club meal at a restaurant or group meeting over at my house: divulged that they had met their ‘significant other’ or actual spouse via dating sites on the Internet.
I know of friends who did manage to stay friends long-distance thanks to real-time live interactive communication online and engaging in online activities together.
I also know of people who carefully only have online connections with people they are also involved with in person, whether school or clubs.
There are people who don’t consider any relationship that occurs online to be ‘real’.
Millions of us have learned new knowledge or skills through online activity.
For years I used online communication groups intending to learn more about the writing and publishing field and to make contacts in the industry and to help my career progress.
In truth, I do still hope to test and learn that keeping in touch via the Internet with people I have spent time with in person but then spent some years or months far away can enable us to reunite in person and to live our relationship forward in time, with less time consumed by the need to catch up on what happened to either of us in the past….thanks in part to having found out about most of the major stuff online.
In my own case, I suspect that I am “just like everyone else” in how I react to online activities. Like in personal life: context matters.
Some months, it seems like I am only sustained by my Facebook friends and other times I am terrible to them, barely read some of their posts and would not invite them over to my place were they in town.
Other times, I feel one or another of them succeeds in helping me do something important locally, despite the distance, and thanks to being friends who communicate using the Internet. It is true that some of the same people also ‘harsh on me’ by totally blowing me off when they come to where I live and finally could get together in person. Being treated that way really makes me doubt whether or not there is any real connection to our online connection.
I suspect, that a lot of other people also feel this way. In truth, most of us can get like that also about “in person relationships” based in part on how we know others; how we treat each other; how we react to each other.
The 21st Century
In truth, we are still pretty early into this new century. I think that by 2050 we, as humans, will have worked out ‘how it is going to be’ with these technologies. What is a short term thing, and what is going to really last, for instance.
I admit that we may not know all of the new technologies that are going to stick around long term, but I think we are all agreed that the Internet and the PCs and laptops are sticking around long term. Right now, I believe that 100 years from now, people will be as used to them as we have become to the train.
Be that as it may, I still love watching or reading about events in the 1800s when the trains, the telegraph and the rare automobile were really exciting new technologies.
Space & Information Ages
So far, here’s what’s happened that I am most aware of:
- It is possible to get YouTube videos and livestreaming from the International Space Station, but still seems bad that the space shuttle program isn’t still going on.
- I was able to get photographs sent back to Earth by a probe that landed on Mars within 24 hours of when the probe took the photos. Pretty effing cool.
- SpaceX is one of the companies developing what in the Dragonball Z cartoon TV show was done in the imaginary realm as Capsule Corp.: Reusable rockets.
- Multiple agencies and organizations are working on getting us a real base on the planet Mars.
- There is considerable scientific research going into how plants can and cannot grow in low gravity due to the legitimate need to produce ecosystems on any planets for long-term colonisation.
There’s more of course: I invite your comments on how this blog post is written or on the contents.