Posts tagged ‘communication tools’
More people around the globe own a mobile phone than own a toothbrush. By the end of 2012 connected devices will outnumber humans on planet earth. It’s is an ideal time to ask: how do these tools change the oldest way we have always communicated—by telling stories? As an introduction to this evolving narration, here is the Preface from my recently published book The Tool That Tells the Story.
“The imaginary universe is a place of astonishing richness and diversity: here are worlds created to satisfy an urgent desire for perfection, immaculate utopias such as Christianopolis or Victoria that hardly breathe; others, like Narnia or Wonderland, brought to life to find a home for magic, where the impossible does not clash with its surroundings; yet others, like Dream Kingdom, built to satisfy travellers bored with reality ….”
– Alberto Manguel, The Dictionary of Imaginary Places
Now was once an unconsidered state. It was undistinguished as air, valueless as belly lint. Now was whatever you were doing at the moment, whatever was happening around you or somewhere else at a given instant. It was an adverb, not a place like Cleveland.
“Would you have a drink with you?” the Stoli Vodka ad taunts us. “Create your alter-ego at Facebook.com/Stoli.” Alter-egos are all the rage now that 12 million people play World of Warcraft, and 500 million more have a second life on Facebook. Or perhaps, given the mounting evidence of how we are changing our lives, there’s more going on with this alter-egoing than meets the eye, or the I. We are all engaged in massively multiplayer online and offline role-playing. Is it a game, or a ruse resembling a game resembling a life? Whatever is happening as we evolve our identity, our tools and technologies, this is as good a time as any to ask a few questions. The following is an interview of the interviewer. The subject is Metalife. The Stoli’s on us. Both of us.
It was autumn of 1939, a time W.H. Auden would commemorate as a “low dishonest decade.” Ludwig Wittgenstein and his young Cambridge student and friend, Norman Malcolm, were walking along the Thames when they saw a newsvendor’s placard announcing that the Germans were accusing the British of an assassination attempt on Hitler. Wittgenstein thought it was likely true; Malcolm said such a thing was impossible because “the British were too civilized and decent to attempt anything so underhanded, that such an act was incompatible with the British ‘national character.’” Years later Wittgenstein wrote to Malcolm:
“… many scientists now argue that the best predictor of good judgment isn’t intuition or intelligence or even experience. Rather, it’s the willingness to engage in introspection, to cultivate what Philip Tetlock, a psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, calls ‘the art of self-overhearing.’ The mind that thinks about itself thinks better.”
In the 2008 election, the fight for the presidency took on a new dimension due to the Obama campaign’s intuitive understanding of the power of social media. It is no longer news that Obama’s efforts to tap into the Millennials’ exploding use of social networking sites and the Internet put him one step ahead of other candidates. Obama’s tactics also reveal the emergence of a Metalife, or the way our communication tools change our sense of identity and then change our everyday interactions.