Archive for the ‘Technology’ category

Pausing the Reality Show

June 9, 2013

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I stumbled upon on Seth Godin’s blog today. Reality is not a show. He blames what he calls the “punditocracy” for turning life into a game and issues into drama “with winners and losers, villains and heroes and most of all, black and white issues” for their own profit.

From politics to natural disasters and even things like poverty and technology, everything is presented or spun into an “us and against them” reality show, suggests Godin.

Polarization is big business. Rush Limbaugh, Hannity and others on both sides of the ideological divide are pundit business machines. Certainly the liberal gamesters have been a little slower to capitalize on the opportunities that black and white buffoonery provides, but they are coming around. It seems we are becoming more polarized as a society, if politics is any indicator. Has the aisle between the two political parties ever been wider?

At the same time, we do not seem to need much political urging or pontifical force to line up like solders on one side or the other on the issues of the day. The Treyvon Martin case is a prime example. The ink was not dry on the presses when people began to convict or exonerate George Zimmerman in a flood of pontification. Social media allows us to declare our stances almost instantaneously on any issue, national or local. Innocent until proven guilty lost this game, as it usually seems to do in these dramas. Letting the wheels of justice do their things does not seem to fit comfortably into our thought processes.

Android phones must be better than iPhones, or iPhones must be better than Android phones. We do not seem to tolerate uncertainty or inbetweens. Why is that?

Ironically, we hold up tolerance as the ideal to which polite and learned people aspire (or at least that is the standard that we demand of those who disagree with us).

I wonder if we have lost the ability to concentrate on anything long enough to reserve judgment.

I remember watching MTV when it was still Music Television and feeling perplexed by the rapidly changing images in every music video. I could not latch on to anything. It moved too fast. Those music videos of the ’90’s seemed to be a reflection of the way society was going at the time, and continues to go. I am not sure that is the way we want it. Or is that just the way “the media” wants to package it to us? Politicians give us “sound bites” and phrases. Social media allows us to communicate in snippets with Twitter as the extreme example. Email has replaced letters, and texting is preferred to email. Each evolution in technology is tending toward shorter, more truncated, communication.

I think these things are related to the polarization of our society. We are somewhat like lemmings in this reality show life (not that lemmings are anything like what we have been told). We do not want to dwell for long in between; we want to rush to our destination, decision, judgment, adulthood. Maybe that is a reaction to the speed at which information and life comes at us. Maybe it is because we have lost the ability to focus and to hold things in tension.

We act as if each of us is the captain of our own certainty, and we dare not lose grasp of it. In our lives today, every silence is filled with sound, every pause is a transition, every moment is filled with activity. We must latch onto judgment lest we be carried away and lost in the dizzy array of thoughts, images and information whizzing past us like the strobe light scenes of an MTV video.

In this tendency to gravitate quickly to the poles, we lose compassion, understanding and relation. We are drawn into the game and lose the nuance of real-life difficult decisions. In Seth Godin’s words, we “turn pathos into ratings” and make just about everyone “the other”. I am afraid in this process we are losing the sticky interconnectedness that binds us all together in this journey called life. Seth suggests that Facebook “likes” should be replaced with hugs – a little human relation to bridge our different perceptions and viewpoints.

In reality, we are all winners and losers, good guys and bad guys. People are complex. We are not easily reducible to a black/white images. We do ourselves, our neighbors and our world an injustice when we rush to conclusions and judgments. We need space in our existence. We need stillness in our lives. We need to let things percolate in the inbetweens.

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A View from a Different Angle: Journalism, Law, Children & the Internet

June 6, 2013

Thought


I just read an interview with an award winning photojournalist and journalism school professor who was laid off by the Chicago Sun-Times in the newspaper’s scramble to respond to the threat of Internet competition. The interview can be read at the Daily Dot. The situation and many of the statements made in the interview struck a chord with me that I will attempt to play out in a different direction below.

I am an attorney. Changes are occurring in the practice law like they are in the field of journalism and elsewhere as a result of the ubiquitous Internet. The layoff of all of the photographers at the Sun-Times exposes a deeper root growing out of the burgeoning success of the Internet that I want to explore. It has application to the practice of law, and it has application to our children and future generations. (more…)

It is Not so Hard to Imagine

January 14, 2013

I have been learning how to use HootSuite this weekend. The HootSuite technology allows a person to leverage one’s finite time in a way that one can communicate in almost real time with a vast number of people. It is a website for tracking and posting to an almost unlimited number of social media sites and groupings within sites at one time. In one stroke of the keyboard, a person can tweet, post on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, MySpace, Foursquare, WordPress, Mixi and within those social media sites on specific groups and pages, potentially reaching thousands and even hundreds of thousands of people simultaneously. At the same time a person can almost simultaneously follow and respond to dozens and even hundreds of other people posting things in the same social media sites and groups. It is pretty remarkable.

Technology brings to us what was only dreamed about a few years ago and what might never have been imagined just a couple of generations ago. As we become more self-sufficient than ever as beings, the tendency is to become less reliant on faith and God. One thing technology has not changed is the certainty of death. We are also still beings. This world is bigger than us, and we do not ultimately control our own fate…. but that is another topic for another day.

It occurred to me as I learned my way around HootSuite this weekend, that God’s ability to have an individual relationship with each and every person is not such a farfetched concept. If one finite person can simultaneously communicate with hundreds and thousands of people, it is not hard to imagine that God, who is infinite, can communicate with each one of us on an intimate, personal level.

It is written that God knows every hair on your head. (Luke 12:7) Even more than that, the Psalmist says that God knows your comings and goings and the very thoughts in your head! (Psalm 139) God knows when you get up and lie down. There is nowhere a person can go that God is not there and is not aware of what a person does. It really is not so hard to imagine that God can do that in light of the ability that we have at our fingertips. God knows you


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