Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Food for Thought.

This was a good article, I need to think about it some more. I decided to post it right now, and read it and think about it more later. I've got too much to do right now to really give it the consideration it needs. But I do plan on getting back to it either later or tomorrow, and when I do, I'll comment further....

On The Web: Living In The Now
By Eyder Peralta
From NPR

I've been reading a whole lot about how the Web has finally evolved from a page-based medium, something modeled on old technology like printed books and newspapers, to this idea of a "stream."

Eric Schonfeld over at TechCrunch writes about the mechanics of it. He points to Twitter and Facebook's news feed as examples of how the Web is now a real-time, living creature as opposed to "periodic musings."

In his estimation, these feeds have become a sort of global consciousness.

But I was especially interested in Nova Spivack's quick assessment on how this new "era of the stream" can change our sense of time and probably already has.

He writes:

The transition from a slow Web to a fast-moving Stream is happening quickly. And as this happens we are shifting our attention from the past to the present, and our "now" is getting shorter.
The era of the Web was mostly about the past -- pages that were published months, weeks, days or at least hours before we looked for them. Search engines indexed the past for us to make it accessible: On the Web we are all used to searching Google and then looking at pages from the recent past and even farther back in the past. But in the era of the Stream, everything is shifting to the present -- we can see new posts as they appear and conversations emerge around them, live, while we watch.
That brings up lots of questions: How every time you dive to swim in this metaphorical stream, you may have missed the brilliant red maple just seconds before that is now upstream, how a furiously moving stream can drown you with too much information.

But the more I thought about it, the more I turned to economics and how our society has already switched tenses: from past, to present, to now.

I think it's fair to say that our intense interest in the now was at least in part to blame for this great recession.

In the near past, in my parents' time, Americans toiled in the now to save enough to buy a house in the future. In the New York Times Magazine this weekend, Edmund Andrews, wrote that his personal financial disaster started when he wanted a house now to make his marriage better, to make his family better -- now.

I'm not sure when, but in some ways, Americans have transitioned from a society that worked toward a future, to a society that lives for the now. We watch movies on-demand; we send instant messages across the world; we get news as it happens and there's no use waiting for the six-o'clock newscast or the next day's paper.

Perhaps, this technological evolution of the web is just a mirror of our society. Perhaps it signals a deeper plunge into the immediate.

If so, I ask, in a world of now, how do we get the future right?

9:43 AM ET | 05-19-2009 | permalink


Beth said...

the scary part to me is if we are so into "now".. what is the next nature progress....needing to be in or create the "future" that is scary for many reasons I won't get into "now"...
I only hope if things do follow a natural progression...all will come full circle and we will live as we are able to and not what we think we are entitled to.

Sue said...

Hi Beth
I actually don't think of living in the now as contributing to the sense of entitlement. Because if you feel that you "deserve" or "need" or "want" more than what you have already, you aren't REALLY accepting the now, because in the now, you have only exactly what you have, and that is almost probably enough.

Does that make sense?

Have fun!

Beth said...

I guess I'm equating it to the me generation that feels they are entitled to the new big house, the new big car and the vacation now and not waiting until they can afford it...I wasn't raised that way and have a hard time when my own husband wants everything bigger and better but we can afford it so that does make it different. Even my mother seems to have a sense of entitlement from the government to provide for her, which while it is helpful to me that she is independent, I feel the government is not responsible to "give her" it. Even kelly gets quite a bit because of her disability but part of the economy's problems is too many people getting a family included. Wow....I'm really in a catch 22 with this post arent' I.
say hi to Jan.....hugs to all

Sue said...

I think that was the point that the article was making, about the entitlement, but I disagree that the streams of info are creating that. Maybe it's actually the opposite -- the entitlement is creating the streams of information. Everyone wants to know everything NOW, all at once.

I actually think it started with MTV. Really. Because Music Videos seemed to really start the fast edit, quicker flashes of pictures, and that made people realize they could speed up thing and people would still absorb it. And now, it's just a torrent.

Sue said...

And Beth, I don't think that you -- or I -- or our families have any more or less sense of entitlement than anyone else I know. It's rather cultural, and we have to fight it, I think, but it ain't easy! That's what I like about trying to live in the now, because right NOW, I have everything I need.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I have everything I need now, but if I use up all that I saved for the future the future will pose a very poor "now". So you do have to balance now with the future. We never know what it will bring. Did that make sense?