Ubiquitous. A word that I had heard some years ago, but never really bothered to really fix it into my vocabulary. Well it’s fixed good and proper now. All thanks to technology, to social media and lastly, to EDCMOOC. Being or seeming to be everywhere at the same time; omnipresent. Present, appearing, or found everywhere. And I could immediately relate this to social media and what it is doing to our world today. I don’t know about the future of social media, but what I can say with certainty is that what it seems to be doing to us in present day and age is both, exhilarating and scary.
The all-pervasive urge to stay connected. That’s what social media is doing to us now. Look around in any direction and you will see someone or the other using a handheld to stay connected. Shortly before writing this post I was researching the word “blogjects”, and came across this word, which, apparently is not directly related to the topic that I’m posting about:
n. A manufactured object that regularly posts updates about its state, location, and environment. [blog + object]
Manufactured objects or not or not, but I sure know some “people” like that. And I’m sure you do too ! Thanks to mobile technology and the “always on” internet that has shrunk the world, reduced geographical distances, removed cultural differences, created awareness, and enlightened the world. I have had a good opportunity to observe how the social media affects the life and behavior of the youngsters.
Most people are perpetually connected, mostly on mobiles and hand-helds, which have become a natural extension of their hands. They even sleep with the devices lying next to their heads. Thanks to Facebook, Twitter and other social media, many people are now able to announce to the whole world what they are doing at any given moment, where they are, and also about their surroundings and environment. Blogject that regularly posts updates about its state, location, and environment.
Which is why, if you are online, you can track a person’s whole day and know exactly what they were up to, where they went, whom they were with etc, and as it that is not enough, you even get images to go with it because, hey, we do have cameras in our mobiles, don’t we ? So we can upload pics the minute we click them. We love to always be able to post anything at any time, regardless of the fact that we may be crossing a road, driving or eating, prompting signages like these to come up !
And the best part is that the “blogjects” that I am referring to are the ones to share such images the most on social media. How’s that ?
Also, whilst on the subject, I just recalled a video from the week 2 resources – A Digital Tomorrow, which explored gestures and digital rituals, and I blogged about this last week, wherein I posted my observations about gestures and rituals that technology forces us to adopt, and we take to it so naturally that we don’t even realize it. Social media has had the effect of inducing one such gesture / ritual – that of using our thumbs. The other day I was riding on our metro and I had these two young girls sitting opposite me. Both were seated identically, with one leg crossed over the other, both were chewing gum, and both were constantly using their thumbs to type on the screen on their mobiles. Throughout the30 minutes or so that I was on the metro, neither of them looked up, and their thumbs remained busy. One can imagine how busy they were on their respective social medias, or chat, or whatever It is that youngsters today do with their thumbs. Here was a gesture / ritual induced by mobile technology… a different use of our thumbs. And us poor middle-aged folks used to twiddle our thumbs when we were that age.
I will, make an attempt to talk more about the future of social media in a later post, but as I sign off for now, it is with a sense of dread that I recall one slide shown by Annalee Newitz in her talk… You can’t stop the signal. Nope… there is no stopping it now.
Images Courtesy Google Images & Facebook