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To live and die in cyberspace…

01 Jun

It’s strange to think that an entire generation will grow up without having known a world which wasn’t cocooned inside the World Wide Web, everyone on the planet only a mouse-click or screen-tap away from everyone else.
And all that time, they’ll be documenting, photographing, tweeting, sharing, and yes, blogging, about every detail of their lives.

For example, here I am writing this post, the act of consigning these very words to virtual perpetuity frozen in the technological amber of our age.

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And everyone that comes into the world from this moment on has the opportunity to chronicle their whole existence, from cradle to grave, laid out on the global slab of the Internet for all to see, if they so wish.

But how wary should we be of committing our every experience, wish, and desire to the memory of the great hivemind?

In this age of surveillance, cyber crime and identity theft, how wise is it to have every detail of your life available to anyone with a laptop or smartphone?

(I’m well aware of the irony of this question, given my insistence on using my trusty phone for all things web-related, but I do so fully conscious that anything I don’t want people to see, I shouldn’t put online)

There are obviously a great many advantages to being so instantly connected to the rest of humanity.
The support that can be given to friends and family in times of strife is greatly enhanced by the ability to chat and interact via e-mail and on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

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I myself largely discovered Facebook after using the site to communicate with old friends during the sad time following the death of a close mutual friend a couple of years ago, and it does encourage you to stay in touch.
I also have a friend overseas who is currently going through a rough time after the death of a loved one, and I know that she will have many online friends to rely on for support in the days ahead.

Parents separated by mere distance can share in the moment of their child’s birth via the wonder of technology.

Wherever you choose to tie the knot, pictures of the happy couple’s big day can be beamed around the planet quicker than you can say “Squeeze together at the back please”

Or, if any of you have a lot of show business friends, you could always stage a massively successful viral video marriage proposal extravaganza, like Isaac did.

And, believe it or not, you can now even attend a funeral via the Internet.

But where will it stop?
We still have the distinctly sci-fi, and slightly sinister Google Glass to be rolled out to the masses, after being test driven by the elite few who managed to grab a pair of the ultra-high-tech cyber-goggles on their initial release.

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“Yay!  Now my friends can see me go to the toilet” – A Glassing victim, yesterday.

Theoretically, you will now be able to record your every millisecond of consciousness, in super-surround-sound-360º-high-definition-3D-holo-vision.
In a few hundred years, anthropological archaeology will be a dying art, you’ll be able to dial up entire life experiences to answer any questions you have about the past.

Having grown up without the all-encompassing interconnectedness of everything, it’s a pleasant novelty to make friends with people on the other side of the globe, even knowing I will almost certainly never meet them. But a new generation will come to take this for granted, forging lifelong relationships with people many thousands of miles away, most of whom will remain nothing more than lines of computer code floating in the ether.

Ultimately, this new era of global interaction between people of different cultures, races, and religions could lead to a less prejudiced, more tolerant society.

Just as long as we can put that into practice in the real world too…

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19 responses to “To live and die in cyberspace…

  1. Lanthie Ransom

    June 1, 2013 at 18:34

    Really enjoyed this post. All very true of today’s world

     
  2. dalecooper57

    June 1, 2013 at 19:07

    Cheers. It was more writing for the sake of writing something, but it came together rather well.

     
  3. Helena Fortissima

    June 1, 2013 at 20:26

    Great post, Dale. I grew up without technology, too. I never really did the whole penpal thing as a kids, so it’s been nice for me to make friends all over the world through the wonders of blogging. My kids grew up with computers and knew about Facebook long before it became trendy. Most of their good friends are people they know from high school, and Facebook is more of a networking tool, a fun way to keep up with people. I’ve made some real friends in the blogosphere and on FB, people I’ve never met in person, but have enjoyed extensive, intimate communication with. Strange new world, ain’t it?

     
    • dalecooper57

      June 1, 2013 at 20:56

      It is a weird world indeed Helena, but I’m not one to stand in the way of progress.
      After all, all the things I can do on my phone – easily carried in my pocket – would have taken a trailer load of equipment only twenty years ago (and back then half of that equipment would still be a sci-fi dream) With Google Glass, they have got Big Brother’s subjects to watch themselves for him. Spooky.

       
      • Helena Fortissima

        June 1, 2013 at 23:08

        Yes, I have no desire to try on the Google glasses. I think they’d be very nauseating! I forgot to mention before, but I loved that video.

         
  4. iancochrane

    June 1, 2013 at 22:35

    From the cradle to the grave. `How wary’ indeed Dale.

    I seems to me that beings like me had plenty of time to implement that learning curve; with time to make mistakes. That luxury now appears to be gone for younger folk. There is no learning curve, as they must hit the ground running. There is no longer a mandatory `delete’.

    I some ways this is just another of those wonderful developments, like ourselves in fact; hereby lives the very worst, & the very worst. Choose wisely….here there be dragons.
    Cheers, ic

     
    • iancochrane

      June 2, 2013 at 01:17

      Sorry Dale.
      Did mean to say `the very best, & the very worst.’

      & another thought on `the marriage’ video. Very sweet, but I wonder if for some, it makes their proposal seem somehow inadequate? Part of the the internet/life spiral I guess.
      Cheers, ic

       
      • dalecooper57

        June 2, 2013 at 01:43

        It certainly would take some beating, that’s for sure.

         
  5. AngieAlaniz

    June 1, 2013 at 22:38

    Its a wonderful post and I have to say also that the marriage proposal extravaganza video was the best Ive ever seen. It was so beautifully done that it made me emotional just by watching it.

     
    • dalecooper57

      June 1, 2013 at 22:58

      Yeah, that one made my girlfriend cry too. ;~}

       
      • AngieAlaniz

        June 1, 2013 at 23:09

        it did? Good to know- I was wondering if I was PMS-ing or what? Cause it really touched my heart.

         
  6. Ron

    June 2, 2013 at 03:01

    Awesome post, Dale! You write very well!

    You shared much truth in this post. And it’s funny because when computers first came out and everyone was getting on the Internet, I thought it was the stupidest thing and SWORE I would never get a computer OR online. Then after getting a computer and getting online, and first hearing about blogs, I thought…how stupid. Well, it’s funny how you should never say never because now I have two computers and at one point had THREE blogs.

    I have a love/reservation relationship with technology. I think it has tremendous benefits if used consciously. But what concerns me is the younger generation who solely uses technology to communicate, because the art of one-on-one communication is totally foreign to them, thus losing social skills unless it’s via technology.

    I myself enjoy blogging the most of online social media’s because it seems like more quality communication to me. Also, it’s a great way to share your creativity and interests in a FULL way, rather than in 140 characters. Blogging has also taught me to be a better communicator.

    I’ve met so many people through blogging, and many of them in person, who have become longstanding and quality friends.

    Love the way you ended this post.

    “Just as long as we can put that into practice in the real world too…”

    Amen!

     
  7. jerseylil

    June 2, 2013 at 08:20

    Dale, it really is amazing that an entire generation will grow up not knowing a time when the world wasn’t Web and social media connected. Makes me feel old already lol! Like your conclusion that perhaps this new era of global interaction could lead to less prejudice and more tolerance among people. Very hopeful and I hope it comes to pass. Btw, nice photo of you.

    Issac’s marriage proposal video was so cool, so romantic! Gosh, I wanted to cry with her. Now that was something special!

     
  8. pbscottt

    June 2, 2013 at 10:00

    Interesting article.

    It seems to me there is so much information being put out on the internet, some important, but most mundane, that it is becoming almost impossible to fight your way through the static and find something truly interesting, I can only imagine this will get worse if another decade passes and the unimportant info has doubled in size yet again. Soon it will be just like murmurs on a city street, heard by everyone, but listened to by no one.

     
  9. nothingprofound

    June 2, 2013 at 14:48

    Wonderful and thoughtful writing, Dale. And the video was hilarious-so exuberant, so passionate. As for the forward march of technology I accept it as inevitable (since it’s happening) but I tend on the whole to be indifferent to it. In terms of what I truly value it’s made very little difference in my life.

     
    • dalecooper57

      June 2, 2013 at 15:35

      Exactly NP, I feel the same. Except for music. I have so much more access to millions of hours of music from all over the world. Thirty years ago I had no way of hearing most of this stuff (listening to the sadly late, very great John Peel, or spending a fortune on buying new albums aside) and now it’s all there at my fingertips.
      And of course, blogging.

       
  10. Darmon Richter

    June 3, 2013 at 13:06

    I find the virtual future in equal parts terrifying and hugely exciting. It almost feels as though we’re evolving beyond the need for a physical body. Which is cool… maybe. But also sounds wrong to me.

    I don’t know if you’ve been watching any Black Mirror, but Charlie Brooker seems to be very interested in these same sorts of themes.

    Where is it all going, I wonder?

     
  11. Menopausalmother

    June 4, 2013 at 02:06

    In some ways it’s wonderful that everything can be found and done on the web…instantly…but in other ways it is frightening— creating a desensitized society. I actually miss the days of receiving real letters in the mail from long distance friends–the anticipation of waiting for a response via the mail. And I still prefer a paperback to an ebook. And yet, like millions, I have been totally sucked in by Facebook—it connected me to people I have not seen since grade school. And for that I am grateful. Blogging is another avenue I adore–I have “met” some of my closest friends there. What will become of our society 100 years from now? I can’t even begin to imagine….perhaps all communication will be made through mental telepathy…..

     
    • dalecooper57

      June 4, 2013 at 21:02

      I was always terrible at writing letters so that has improved for me. But I wouldn’t read an e-book over a real one if you paid me

       

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