Sunday, 6 June 2010

Day 157, on which John tells us to stop sharing [6.6.10]

Dag hundrede syveoghalvfjerds. I think we'll be continuing from yesterday in the whole sociology thing, only today we'll be focusing on sharing. Before then, an update on the mundane things that I do in my life. I went to see Robin Hood up in London. Quite a good film actually, though certainly not the best thing to come out of the Ridley Scott/Russell Crowe partnership. A Good Year was fantastic, so much better, but that's just my taste in genre so don't hurt me if you thought Robin Hood was the best thing since sliced bread.


OK, sharing. Sharing is the passing around of information, of memes (not in the internet sense). This, along with communications, has changed a lot over the years. Back in the caveman days, everyone shared everything. The problem was, there wasn't much to share, so sharing didn't take long and was overlooked.

This is following yesterday's post, still. So, as you'd imagine, sharing went down with the Victorians. People were private, and they thought no one wanted to know about their business, unless they were the queen or Sir something-or-other. Sharing was bad. Bad.

Then, as you should know if you read yesterday's post, sharing bloomed again after the war, and with the rise of the internet. But, and oh ho ho the similarities with yesterday's post keep on coming, sharing is becoming overused. How? Out of the pure ease of sharing. Just by clicking on a few things and typing a few letters, you can share your business with the whole world, split-second publishing.

One of many logos which has become synonymous with sharing
I think the best example of this overload of worldwide sharing is through Twitter. Twitter allowed us to share tiny bits of information, and when you get rid of quality in detail, you make up for it in quantity of tweets. The tweetosphere is booming with useless information. Sure, it's interesting to you to share the fact that you're making a cup of tea, and some of your friends may like that too, but beyond that the information is useless. Essentially, what we have is an excess of nonsense; of data that has no use and no purpose whatsoever - and what can we do with that? Nothing! There's no application of it other than to build up an image of what mundane things people do in their spare time!

So what's the solution? As far as I can see, there is none. We'll build up this bank of useless data so that actual news will be left out; I'm sure most teenagers spend more time on Facebook than watching the news (I do). And there's reason behind this madness, too: people are more interested in stuff happening with their friends, with people they know, than stuff happening in the wider world. This is going to lead to a lack of care for other cultures, but ultimately we're making massive problems for ourselves. Modern day people thrive off sharing, whether it be URLs, blogs, FarmVille achievements or details of how they made a cup of tea - and we're depending more and more on technology.

Such reliance comes at a price - a price that will become very real if there is a crash in the Google servers, or a virus gets into the Yahoo servers, or the Twitter severs are destroyed... with no internet, the world's a mess. Perhaps we need to connect more physically with other people around the world, to go to places, to have some relationships and friendships through physical communication, else we'll all be screwed if the internet goes down.

~John

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