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Why our digital life will be the end of history

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High School

My high school reunion is next week – but I won’t be going.

It’s not that I didn’t have a good time in high school… I had a great time in high school.  And it’s not that I never went to my reunions over the years.  I went to all of them over the years – too many to mention.

A high school reunion doesn’t make sense any more.  Only someone who understands what it means to dial a phone and can recognize the sound of a turntable needle skating across a vinyl record understands reunions.

A high school reunion used to mean getting back together with friends from high school that you haven’t seen in a few years.  My high school has a reunion every five years.

But a high school reunion doesn’t make sense when you see your high school friends frequently – perhaps every day or maybe once a week.  How can this be when high school is long past and your friends are scattered to the four corners of the globe?

I see my high school friends nearly every day.  I get their Facebook updates.  I look at their pictures on Instagram.  We listen to music from the good old days by exchanging playlists on Spotify.  There’s Facetime and Skype.  And I have some long-term games on Zynga going with a few of them – Words with Friends and Draw Something.  The impediment of geographic distance and separation in time and space is nearly erased.

So a reunion doesn’t make sense anymore.  There is no need to “get back together” since, in a sense, we are all still together.  It’s just that we don’t all travel to a physical location on a daily basis to engage each other.  And, like the difference between the medium and the message its the physical location that’s different but the content as engagement is the same.  Perhaps the engagement in social media, anytime anyplace, exceeds what was available to us in high school.

Time has been flattened; geography erased

In a general sense, time has been flattened.  What is disappearing is the sense of past and present.  In a very real sense, the past is present and evolving.  Our digital life and technology has put us on the trajectory of giving us access to every book ever written, every movie ever made, every track of music ever recorded, every picture ever taken,  every personal video clip ever recorded,  every status update ever made on social media, and every word anyone has ever posted to the internet.

So, what is there to remember that is not immediately available?  Do I need to remember, with a sense of loss, the music I used to listen to in high school? No, it’s readily available on Spotify.  Do I need to remember, with a sense of loss, the movies we watched?  No, they are readily available on Netflix.  Those favorite clips from TV?  Maybe its on YouTube.  Do I need to wonder where my high school friends are?  They are all immediately present wherever I go.

History has traditionally been a fading memory of the past recovered with great effort and difficulty.  But what becomes of History when all the past is readily available in the present?  In fact, we have so much history that is available with in-your-face immediacy, perhaps abundance creates a new set of problems.  How do we forget?  Are there some things that we must forget to make the future livable?

Immortality

If people are looking for immortality perhaps we have it.  As the cost of digital storage approaches zero it may be possible to archive everything ever posted to the Internet.

Imagine a time, perhaps 50 years from now, where Facebook or social media in general  is now the “ancestral record” of the digital generation.  The millennial generation, posting to Facebook and other social media would have a timeline of 50 years.  In 50 years, the children of the millennial generation would know more than they ever wanted to know about their parents and grandparents.  It’s all there in the cloud.

Right now, in 2013, we go to http://www.ancestry.com/ to discover (in the hard sense) our family tree.  We search through old boxes of film photographs in the attic or basement to find picture of grandparents and relatives.  We ask our older family members, perhaps with fading memory, to tell us stories of how life used to be.  We recover stories through oral history with difficulty.

The whole idea of past history being a difficult work of discovery is undergoing radical change.  In the future, the past may be as immediate as the present.

The Take

Thousands of years ago, folks imagined  the akashic records…  a sort of giant library that is ever-present and all around us…

The akashic records, – akasha is a Sanskrit word meaning “sky”, “space” or “aether” and is described as containing all knowledge of human experience and all experiences as well as the history of the cosmos encoded or written in the very aether or fabric of all existence…

The akashic record is like an immense photographic film, registering all the desires and earth experiences of our planet. Those who perceive it will see pictured thereon: The life experiences of every human being since time began, the reactions to experience of the entire animal kingdom, the aggregation of the thought-forms of a karmic nature (based on desire) of every human unit throughout time…

People who describe the records assert that they are constantly updated automatically and that they can be accessed through astral projection or under deep hypnosis.

There will be no need of astral projection or hypnosis to access these records.  Access will be granted to anyone with a wearable or embedded device that can access whatever it is in the future that will have the Internet as its progenitor.   How much of your digital life is already part of the “akasha” record?

Read More

After the Interview is Over: Managing Digital Oral History Collections

 

Written by frrl

March 7, 2013 at 4:44 am

Voice mail, suckers, and those people formerly known as the audience

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logo_theAudience

The NPR “three minute fiction” quoted below is certainly a sign of the times… brought home recently as I and thousands of people watched the reality(?) show Gold Rush Live on “television” (what’s that?) as will as on ustream.

The difference between traditional television and ustream is the participatory nature.  That is, Ustream turns what used to be a “broadcast” (one way; one-to-many) into the opportunity for engagement (multi-directional, many-to-many) through usteams real-time “Social Stream”.  In parallel with the social steam on Ustream was another engagement opportunity through Twitter and the #GoldRush and #GoldRushLive hash tags.  There may have even been a Google Hangout at the time of the show.

I wonder if this re/definition of “television”  is just another step along the path of the dissolution of those people “formerly known as the audience” (see link below)

So what?  The Generation Gap

“Being social” (perhaps in an ever evolving way) is one of the things that clearly distinguishes the generations.  Whereas the social graph of previous generations reached no farther than the distance you could comfortably walk or dive now those boundaries are eliminated.

“Quiet, I’m making a long distance phone call” was something you could hear in an old movie.  But now that boundary is shattered.  “Where you are” does not matter.  Everyone can talk to everyone – no matter where they are.

With the generations, the social graph has changed dramatically.  Who you can (potentially) interact with is now unlimited.  It’s curious to listen to the generations.  To this generation they can’t understand why their parents and grandparents are not on Facebook, twitter, and other social media.  While, at the same time, parents and grandparents don’t understand why kids are texting, uploading videos to YouTube, twittering, Instagramming, blogging, and so on.

Will there ever NOT be a generation gap?

What one understands as the typical size of your social graph and the expected velocity of engagement in a diversity of forms is changing at blazing speed compared to the plodding velocities of the past.

What is to become of traditional voice mail?  Is that the last place you check before thinking the worst has happened?

From three-minute fiction on NPR – http://www.npr.org/2013/02/23/172638331/voice-mail-is-for-suckers

Dude, yeah. It’s me. Look, what is the deal? Where are you? You haven’t responded to a single email. Everyone is worried, man. We checked your Facebook and you haven’t updated your status in a week. A freaking week. You haven’t even liked anything. And you like everything. Like. Like. Like. You’re kind of obnoxious with the liking, dude. No offense. But nothing. Not even a single I­can­haz­cheeseburger cat. So then we check your Instagram and again, nothing. No hyper contrast photos of the home brew from last weekend, no warm fuzzy photos of the goat cheese tart you and Beth made, no moody black and whites of the graffiti under the overpass. You haven’t filtered any phone pics for days.

So then we check your Twitter. Not a tweet, not a retweet, no direct messages from you and, dude, not even any mentions. What the hell, man? You can’t stay relevant with a week of tweetless silence. You may as well be dead. So then we check your Tumblr. You haven’t updated that either. It’s been EIGHT days, dude. Time to shut it down. And your last post? What the? What is that about?

Proper punctuation and capitalized letters? Pffft. Whatever. You haven’t responded to any IMs, the invites to Google Hangout, or answered your Skype. So then we check your Flickr. And your SmugMug and your Blogger and your WordPress and your FourSquare. You aren’t checked in, you are checked out. So yesterday, I send you a text. It says it was delivered. But you didn’t
text me back, man. So here we are. Reduced to this. Do you know how low this is, this moment? I’m leaving you a voicemail, dude. What is this, 2004? No, it is not. It’s 2013 and this shiz is horrifying, son. Unacceptable. Do you know how many voicemails I leave in a week?

None. Zero. You want to know how many voice mails I get in a week? One. From my mom, dude. From my mom. Voice mail is for suckers, man. And moms. Look, I don’t know what’s going on with you, but it’s scary. If we don’t hear from you soon, I don’t know what we’ll do. We’ll have to, like, come over to your house or something. Knock on your door. That’s weird, man.

Weird. Just the thought of it. Face to face contact. Who does that? Don’t make us do that, man. Log on. Text me. Facebook me. Just don’t call my voice mail, dude. I don’t check that stuff.

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The People Formerly Known as the Audience

How Social Media Ruined My High School Reunion

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Some dialog from the movie The Jane Austen Book Club

Okay. Chloe Baher is not my friend, Dean.
Chloe Baher came to my mother’s funeral to gloat. “Ha-ha! Your mother’s dead.”
And you hit on her!
– I do… I do… – You hit on her!

I was not hitting on her.
You know, when I was in the 10th grade,
I wrote an entire paper on Julius Caesar in iambic pentameter.
And Chloe Baher removed it from my locker and she read it aloud to the whole class.

And everyone laughed at me.
Baby, high school’s over.
High school’s never over.

High School

Every three to five years for the past eon I’ve been attending my High School reunion.  Attending a religious private school my graduating class of about 400 has pretty much stayed together.  The High School Alumni Association was instrumental in keeping us in touch with each other and with every graduating class since the school first opened in the first quarter of the 20’th century. 

My particular high school has a long history.  And of course, if you attended a religious high school there is a similar grammar school and college in the unbroken chain of education.  Some who graduate from the teachers college in the system go back to teach in the same high school they attended.  It’s a virtuous circle.

The Alumni Association & Social Media Disruption

But now, anyone who is anybody in my High School graduating class  is using social media.  Social media in general and Facebook in particular.

Always on, always connected, geography irrelevant, and time-shifting social media has made some of the aspects of the Alumni Association obsolete.

Does the Alumni Association need to publish a quarterly paper newsletter and send it out?  No, not really.  We get our updates via Facebook in real-time – all the time.

How about an Alumni Directory?  No,  I can get in touch with anyone, anytime, via Twitter, Skype, Facetime, or even e-mail for the older traditional folks.

What about events where we can meet?  We now do that ourselves on Facebook.

Sans Reunion.  Social Media Disruption

What about the tradition of our every 3-5 year reunion?  We would all look forward to this.  See each other.  Catch up.  What are you doing now?  How about the Prom queen – what does she look like now?  The cheerleaders?  And how about that special someone who you wish you dated?  What about the smart kid – where are they now after about 5 years have passed?  What about the geek?  The loser?  What happened to those kids in the Chess Club?  Was Band Camp in my HS like I saw in that movie way back when?

With Social Media the anticipation of the High School reunion has vanished.

Today, we are all on Facebook reading each others timelines, updates, and looking at photo’s and movies uploaded by our High School peers.  We share music and send each other tracks and recommendations on Spotify.  Some folks follow each other on Twitter.  Nothing like renewing friendships with “the one that got away” with an innocent game of Words with Friends.  The possibilities enabled by the state of social media in 2012 are almost endless.  The traditional  High School Reunion now seems obsolete.

“Baby, High School’s Over”

High School is as much about the socialization process as it is about education.  In high school individuals learn how to form relationship, compete for grades – as well as for social standing, become popular – or not.  At this early age, for many people, a great deal of character is built during these years – including fears and regrets  Those in your peer group in high school most likely left a lasting mark on your character, ambitions, and values you hold today as an adult.

High school’s never over.”

With all the varieties of social media, High School’s never over.  To some, this will become a joy and to others it will become a pain. The former will engage social media in all its ability to connect with people with whom they shared their high school experience perhaps decades ago. 

To the outcasts, the memory of  high school years may remain a painful memory.  To the prom queens and jocks something different.  What about those techie geeks from high school – those who would embrace the newest technology but yet always lacked, or never developed  social skills to be popular?  For them, social media may be something of a conundrum.  The love of technology that brings with it the fear of a  highly social context.  Baby, with social media, high school’s never over.  (read).

Written by frrl

April 12, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Welcome to the Revolution

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Stats from Video and Social Media Thought Leaders

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Written by frrl

May 8, 2010 at 4:21 am

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Open Innovation Marketplace – The Challenge – Global Seekers and Solvers

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Companies are increasingly looking for new ways to solve tough business and R&D problems using resources outside their own company.  In the same way that Wikipedia harnessed the minds of the global population, innovation marketplaces are using the same model.  This is a general idea of Crowd Sourcing.

InnoCentive is a global innovation marketplace that matches “seekers” and “solvers”.  Seekers are companies and non-profits seeking a solution to a tough problem.  Solvers can be anyone across the globe that can solve the problem.  Solvers are paid for their work.

What’s it about…

The Innovation Marketplace. Harness the collective brainpower of the world’s most creative minds to supplement your internal R&D staff, accelerating ideas from concept to reality. Only pay for the solutions you accept, so the risk is low, but your chances for success are high. Keep your identity fully confidential  and let InnoCentive manage the entire Intellectual Property transfer process.

And you can be a Solver…

As a Solver, you can apply your expertise, stretch your intellectual and creative boundaries, and win cash prizes from $5000 to $1,000,000 for solving problems in a variety of domains. The problems you solve make a real impact on the world. You have the freedom to choose what you want to work on, when you want to work, and how much commitment you want to make.

Solvers prize their independence as much as their intelligence and ingenuity. They have a unique combination of creativity, knowledge, work experience and life skills that allow them to see things a little differently than other people. Does that describe you? Then join the Solver community today.

What are the current Challenges?  Who are the Seekers?  Got a solution? – become a Solver.
http://www.innocentive.com/

Written by frrl

April 12, 2010 at 4:44 pm

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Dunbar’s number – The theoretical limit on meaningful social relationships?

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Here is an interesting question – Can you have more than 150 friends?  Is there something in human being which imposes a theoretical limit on the number of “meaningful” relationships one can have?

New research is suggesting that if you’re friends with over 150 people on Facebook, the extras are meaningless.

This is a conclusion of some thinking by Oxford professor of evolutionary anthropology Robin Dunbar. He’s recently expanded on some of his original research carried out in the 1990s on the human neocortex–this is a part of your brain heavily involved in language and conscious thought. It’s the bit of brain matter that helps you relate to other people, on a friend-to-friend basis, and Dunbar’s theory is that it can only handle a maximum capacity of roughly 150 ongoing, fully interactive friendships. If you know or are “friends” with more people than this, then actually you’re probably merely acquaintances instead.

Read more –
http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/kit-eaton/technomix/if-youve-got-more-150-facebook-friends-theyre-no-friends-all

Written by frrl

March 28, 2010 at 4:55 am

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From Social Networking to Social Finance

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How 1 billion Facebook users could change the face of the banking system

What would happen if you could globally assemble 1 billion people and turn it into peer-to-peer lending?  In 2012 the number of people on Facebook could reach 1 billion.

Suppose the next step up from Social networking is social finance – The Bank of Facebook?

Check out this vide on an intriguing idea
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XT6b_jXsN6M

There is a model already in place…

Zopa is the world’s first social finance company. In 2005 we pioneered a way for people to lend and borrow directly with each other online as part of our continuing mission to give people around the world the power to help themselves financially at the same time that they help others.

Since then, we’ve expanded across the world. In each country Zopa is a little different, but it’s always the same big idea.

Why not see for yourself?

http://us.zopa.com

Check out how the stats on how Zopa is doing here – http://uk.zopa.com/ZopaWeb/public/lending/meet-dave.html
On the link above you can download “Get Market Data” into EXCEL and see who is lending and at what rates of interest.

Read more –

http://www.fool.co.uk/news/investing/investing-strategy/2009/09/14/earn-6-as-a-money-lender.aspx
http://www.hexham-courant.co.uk/news/business/lending_scheme_sidesteps_banks_1_616495?referrerPath=home
http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/savings-and-banking/article.html?in_article_id=491111&in_page_id=7

Bottom line for this one is (from Zopa) – “Your money helps real people, rather than banks.”
Welcome to the world of Innovation enabled by the Internet and Social Networking.

Written by frrl

March 18, 2010 at 5:05 am

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