Social may be shallow but it has its place and, as long as we have freedom, you can use it or not according to taste. One can find fault with it but that does not mean it has a "horrible future." Criticism of this sort is thus misplaced, in my view, in spite of the limitations of the venue.
For example, checking Facebook while out at dinner with friends, or uploading photos of a party while you are at the party. What could possibly be happening on the internet that is more important than being out with friends?
Fair enough if you want to check facebook while you are waiting on a train killing time, but when you are actually doing the things you hope to be reading about on Facebook/Twitter/Intagram, something seems very wrong.
I happen to enjoy looking back at all these photos. They bring back memories of various events in my life. IMO, memories I'd likely not think of without something (like a photo) to trigger the memory.
Take more pictures not less.
Also I don't see a problem with sharing. It's not a substitute for face to face time but it's connecting with people MORE not less. Go back 25 years and you could rarely connected with anyone unless you were with them. Now you can connect all the time by sharing your experiences. Some people do it brag, most do it to share and connect. At least in my experience.
Going back 25 years, I think you'll find that people rarely connected in as wide of a network but the circle of friends they did connect with was possibly on a much more fulfilling and deeper level and they got significantly more out of it than a shallow network of thousands of "friends".
I too feel that it's easier than ever to connect with friends on Facebook but somehow the convenience has also made the friendship feel more superficial. Whereas before I had to make an effort to write a birthday card or give someone a call, today, I simply click and write "have a great birthday". Engaging with Facebook has almost become like tending a farm in Farmville, I see alerts, I do routine actions that keep up the appearances of being "social" and that's it. It's sad that I think back now and I don't even remember how my friends sound because we interact in person and on the phone so much less.
The problem could be exactly that you don't see any problem.
"Connecting all the time" isn't a positive thing; just a few days ago there it's been posted the "Culture of distraction" article.
Also, why assuming that "sharing experiences" is positive? Assuming that "the Facebook way" is the standard in today's experience sharing, most of the "experiences" are banal almost-everyday happenings.
The problem is cultural and it's subtle, although I think it's way more complex than a dualistic living something vs. being and audience of it.
"Twoflower stared raptly at the display overhead. He probably had the best view of anyone on the Disc. Then a terrible thought occurred to him. 'Where's the picture box?' he asked urgently. 'What?' said Rincewind, eyes fixed on the sky. 'The picture box,' said Twoflower. 'I must get a picture of this!'" (Color of Magic, 1983)
I make use of social networks to stay in touch with old friends and extended family that I would have difficulty staying in touch with otherwise. This is indeed shallow in comparison with my relationship with my immediate family or current close friends, but I value this shallow connection along with the deeper connections in my life.
I guess "passively" is the key. This sort of action-specific data capture has to be implemented in a way that you don't have to intervene to record and process it. The law of diminishing returns will cull anything of marginal utility if it can't carry its own weight (effort in > value out).
This is the same reason location-based offers won't work either - because everyone will be trying to give you an offer, and they'll try to SEO-game the system so that categories and personalization don't work as filters.
It's cool that my calendar has reminders, right? But I have five devices that all remind me of the same event, all at once and I end up turning off reminders whole-hog because I'm tired of configuring every single scenario and every single device. Sync is great right up until I hate it more than anything and death would be sweet release.
I will never forget when a dad was trying to get a good shot of Cinderella Castle and totally missed out on their daughter meeting a princess (I think Tiana from Princess and the Frog was walking over to her character spot or something) for the first time. Hugely important moment for his daughter completely and utterly squandered in chasing this lifecasted copy of life. She was excitedly jumping up and down and waving to and got a big hug from the princess, and her dad was swatting her off at first, then completely ignoring her.
I've lived here (Orlando) for two years and it's only getting worse. I've almost given up on being able to ride Pirates of the Carribbean and being able to experience it the way the Imagineers wanted you to. The constant flash and glowing screens from people posting pictures of the Jack Sparrow animatronic on Facebook completely ruin it. Fireworks are an exercise in frustration as some joker always sticks his iPad in the air to try to capture a picture. When the first one looks terrible (as they all do), he tries over and over and over. By the time he's frustrated enough that he's not getting good pictures, the show is over and he's just missed the whole thing.
It's depressing to think how many other experiences people are cheapening and/or missing out on simply because they feel some weird compulsion to SHARE the experience with others rather than LIVE it.
There's a difference between mindless capture and capture with a purpose. Some people do it terribly (I've been to a few really nice restaurants, and have had the experience nearly ruined by my friends' attempts to take snapshots of the admittedly beautiful meals), but that shouldn't dissuade the idea of wanting to capture an important cultural experience. Hell, I've never been to Disneyworld, and you'd bet your ass that I'd want a picture with Mickey.
Recently I took a trip to San Francisco for the first time (and I'll admit I brought my deactivated Palm Pre along to take some vids). On my third day there I came upon a guy making a cool form of street art: he wrote his own quote-able thoughts on masking tape and stuck it on a piece of sidewalk. I'd say a quarter of a block was covered in this guy's thoughts.
I started taking pictures like a typical tourist, then I met the guy making the art. As I got to asking him about where he got his ideas and such, something occured to me: nobody else was even noticing this art. I asked him why and he said "oh, a lot of people are too absorbed in their phones to stop and enjoy what's around them." I promptly put my phone away, but he had already noticed it. To him I looked like a typical teenager obsessed with my phone. "So where are you from?" he asked. He knew I wasn't from around there just by the fact that I stopped to enjoy his art. It was a little depressing, and it reminded me why I gave up that amazing Palm Pre. But hey, at least I captured a few moments on camera I would have forgotten otherwise.
I'm doing this with Facebook. I know it sucks, I never get anything out of it but just the idea that something there is going on and I'm missing it, makes me want to login and check my timeline. It's stupid I know.. so instead of fighting myself I joined 1) the fact that I KNOW it sucks and I'm not getting anything from it and 2) that I can't be trusted to ignore life's stupid distractions.. so I deleted my account. I have not missed it any bit and I'm achieving my goal.
The positive point is that we (as in, hackers) are on the side of building things and solving (although sometimes artificial) problems, so we can at least make what we can to benefit from people's behavior.
My wife: hold on, I have to get a picture of WAWA.
Me: ... why?
My wife: I checked in!
Me: But why do you need a picture?
My wife: so the timeline looks good!
I can put it up to my face (it's already on, because I can leave it on for days), frame, focus, and take a picture in less time than most phones can even turn on. That and, just as important, it never lights up or beeps at all (except for the memory card write LED).
Although Google Glass in this case is using technology to solve a personal/social/cultural problem I do think it's one of the few times in recent memory to be an actually good solution.
I believe it gives the individuals such as myself and others who do value the living over the sharing a chance to get the best of both while giving those who value sharing over living a chance to enjoy the moment more.
I think I may have said the same thing you said.
Coincidentally a few days ago I was just writing about how Imagineers pioneered UX design. And speaking of Google Glass, the Haunted Mansion at Disney World was updated last year with augmented reality effects so that the hitch hiking ghosts in the mirrors now interact with the visitors (like swapping their heads) -- http://www.wdwmagic.com/attractions/haunted-mansion/news/05a...
Have you been? How was it?
One thing that's a bit ironic though, is that the examples that you gave are themselves very much corporate, pre-packaged experiences.
Kind of hard to tell where the rabbit hole ends.
I love the way you write, but even more, that you live in Orlando, riding the rides that way. (In Las Vegas, my kids and I used to ride Star Trek: The Experience every day, all day, for the whole 12 hours, for days on end...)
You know what Facebook is to me nowadays? It's another flavor of Gmail. Sometimes I send and receive messages there. It's plumbing. Sometimes I turn the spigot on for some updates, then turn it off and go about my day.
I think pro-social and anti-social pundits are both wrong about the upside and downside of social. Social is neither the next giant leap forward, nor is it the downfall of humanity. It's kinda like Gmail.
That is not to discount the age issue. Youngsters are conceivably less ready to think of the longer-term consequences of using such a "social network".
But still. Plumbing.
Gmail hasn't done that.
The printing press is neither the next giant leap forward, nor is it the downfall of humanity. It's kinda like hand-copied books.
gmail is for person-to-person communication.
facebook is more of a person-to-restricted-group communication.
twitter is person-to-public communication.
Each one has its own positive and negative points. Whatever it is, it's not your life and don't treat it as such.
And it's a quote that provides a nice succinct way to convey a certain meaning, that I'm not sure I disagree with in this case.
I'm also guessing that I'm supposed to be 'repulsed' at the hypothetical software, that it might let two men talk to each other too, eh?
Ironically the solution to both are the same. People have different opinions, societies tend to have evolving, and shifting views about social networks or social behavior just like they have about sex in the past. Going around being all judgement of either set of behaviors is not productive.
No really, no. Everything described already exists (except the sex-cred, and the geo-tagging is rather manual); simply not on the open internet.
In this particular site, it's actually pretty well done. I think that they accomplish a great "this is a useful service for a portion of the population that areinterested in whips and chains" without crossing into "oh wow, this is totally creepy".
That said... I think that the author's overall point re: the desecration of meaningful things by turning them into cheap online experiences is totally valid. I am also depressed by the direction the world is going, and continually contemplating what I can do about it.
He's giving the Internet more credit than it deserves.
I'd argue that this is already happening with something very important, our human friendships. Facebook and sites of its ilk encourage us to build shallow relationships with many and fool ourselves into thinking we're sharing something of merit.
I believe in personal responsibility, so I'm not saying Facebook, Twitter, etc... are forced upon people, we can choose to leave them alone if we see fit and plenty of people do just that. It's our job to fit technology around our own wants and needs, not be led by technology.
Anyway, interesting article, thank you to the author.
And how weird is it to have all the activity from your friends' posts elsewhere (comments/likes on public posts) in your news feed? It would seem like if your friends did it as much as my friends do, you'd see more strangers on facebook than friends.
If I don't see anything new in my feed, I don't stick around.
Lesson: Sex is probably smarter and faster than you. (I say this having run a site on sex and technology for near 8 years now. I now accept being constantly comfortably behind the curve.)
That said, it's easy to miss the forest when you're being whacked over the head with the trees.
What is truly horrifying about sex.ly is that it so utterly and absolutely cheapens the experience of something very important.
It doesn't cheapen anything. Making love is just for fun for most young people, and then most of them grow up to be pleasantly surprised to discover a depth to life that they were unaware of before. A product like this doesn't change the attitude people have towards sex in the first place. Of course some people never discover that same depth, or perhaps discover something else that others don't see. That's fine too.
The attitude of "I see depth to life that the morons [watching football/using social/smoking marijuana/insert activity here] don't see" is really the 21st century version of the inquisition. A lot less bloody, perhaps, but still very counterproductive to social (pun intended!) development.
Translation: I see other people doing something in a way that I don't like. This is wrong and their values are wrong. This makes me feel funny. They should not do as they do. Instead, they should do as I do. Then they will be right, like me.
“Impartiality is a pompous name for indifference which is an elegant name for ignorance.”
― G.K. Chesterton
Standing up for your own values is fine and good. The part I was objecting to was the OP (1) making the assumption in his article in his article that everyone reading also shared his values and (2) suggesting that those values ought to apply for everyone, not just himself.
Mind read much?
My feeling upon reading this was hardly the horror that the writer anticipated. Probably more of a "meh, it takes all kinds".
I can see this being a private, niche site for swingers or exhibitionists. Most people probably wouldn't go for it. But that doesn't make it wrong or horrible or the emblem of what is, in the author's mind, wrong with social media.
Reduction ad absurdum fail.
Honestly I wasn't repulsed, I was intrigued and interested in seeing how this social network sets itself apart from the rest of them. Not sure why the author tried to tell me that I was repulsed when I wasn't.
The aggressive moralizing in the OP biased me against any otherwise good message in his blog post.
But they ignore that the human spirit is (or so we should hope) strong enough to survive Facebook if it is strong enough to survive the other insults and depredations it has been subject to throughout history. Facebook may slap a reductive meaning onto the word "friend", but I haven't noticed that truly interfering with real friendship.
Truth is that I had a girlfriend that was tracking her orgasms on a freaking leaderboard in 2004. I'm not sure I was shocked by it then.
Frankly, I don't mind people checking in on their phones in social situations so long as they are discreet and I'm not talking with them at the very moment. I can appreciate why others might feel differently, but I'm secretly relieved that I've been given implicit permission to check my email, too. You can pretend like that's a horrible way to live, but I do just fine socially.
I'm glad I'm addicted to email and not smoking cigarettes.
Thanks, I was not aware that I found that hypothetical sight repulsive. What I do find repulsive is the idea that I should repulsed by something which "utterly and absolutely cheapens the experience of something very important", When I am not the one who determined that the 'thing' in question is very important.
What you described in your imaginary site sounds like a product for people wishing to engage in casual sex. It provides a service to record previous partners, and presumably help find new ones. It also provides a service as a background check for partners by showing you reviews from others they were with, as well as "heads up"s. Planned support for Geotags, which seems good as sex tends to be a geographically bound activity (in-airplane geo-tags seem unnecessary though).
If I want to link the physical act of sex, which I do for physical pleasure, with the emotional experience of a strong, personal relationship, than I would probably not use a service designed around the premise that I would be having sex casually, with many partners. But why should I want to make that connection?
Such extrapolations rarely come to pass. Yes there might be new crazy services and some people will use them. But will a significant proportion of the population use them often? Will it change the world? Did foursquare? Did Twitter?
No. Some things just stay in their bubbles. There will be new crazed trends that come along and everyone will forget check ins, social networks, gamification and do them.
Reality shows used to be the new thing. So are there run a startup reality shows today? Bitcoins are a new currency. Will people start their own currencies and governments in 15 years? Instead of startups you start governments! Then 3D printers can make military drones and these governments fight each other!
Fortunately most trends just don't get very far. There is a constant stream of new trends to divert people's attention.
That said, Sex.ly probably won't take off :)
We could treat eating the same way. Never admit you eat, or if you do only speak of it in terms of immature titillation and euphemisms. When you do eat, never do it with anyone else, not even friends you consider very close, because that would somehow taint everything. There is at least one culture that adopted this exact view, their views on eating mirroring our with regards to sex. Eating with someone you are not married to was considered highly taboo, while having sex with various people for fun was understood as something so fundamentally human that restricting access to it would be impossible.
And ignoring whatever moral implications the culture you grew up in pounded into you as a child, just consider the basic biological matters. Abstinence is horrendously dangerous to health. Ever read a news story about how 'sex reduces the chance of heart attack by one half', 'frequent orgasms extend life', etc? Those stories are interpreting fact from a prudish perspective that limits sex severely. View the exact same facts from a perspective of frequent sex as part of basic human interaction and the headlines would read 'abstinence doubles the chance of heart attack', 'orgasm starvation cuts years off life', etc. There is good biological evidence that human beings evolved having sex after nearly every meal, along with sleeping in two blocks rather than one.
The real kicker is the origin and reason behind why we believe sex should be hidden and that it is somehow 'special'. That was invented in the Industrial Revolution. Prior to that, no one in the lower class even had private bedrooms. Families slept, and screwed, in common rooms. They had to import views on sex from cultures with dowries, and children being viewed as the property of their fathers making sex a property crime against the father. And we preserve a remarkable amount of this framework even though we don't recall where it came from. None of their motivations exist any longer. We have effective birth control, and we have evidence for the suffering attempts to destroy sex cause. Eventually, hopefully, as a culture we'll grow up enough to ask ourselves what evidence we have that sex is somehow 'special' and what consequences such a view inflicts on people.
The core argument here appears to be the "cheapening" of experience driven by "social", without any acknowledgement that social also enables new experiences. Sure, facebook has cheapened the value of remembering a friend's birthday, but it has also enabled more immediate involvement with friend's who you don't get to see that often (geography, parenting, loner-ism, etc).
"Social" changes all kinds of things. It's consequences are far-reaching, and we're just barely starting to figure them out. The advent of the automobile "cheapened" travel experiences, but also made travel accessible to the masses, not to mention a slew of modern conveniences. As a society we're still trying to find the right balance for how we use cars (greenhouse gases, near-surface pollution, exurban isolation, etc). People who write "cars are ruining society" essays don't actually contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way. To be dismissive of all things social based on such a small sample of human experience feels short-sighted (and out of place in a technology-oriented discussion community).
Aside: The closing reference to Philip Larkin is amusing, as he was a racist and misogynist. He decried the "backward" steps post-WWII society was taking with regards civil rights.
Some people did see this commoditisation of human behavior coming back in 2005 and promoted the idea of the 'Attention Economy' which had a goal of putting people back in control of the content they create and view online with tools like the Attention Recorder from Attention Trust (now defunct, but you can read about it here http://p2pfoundation.net/Attention_Trust ).
The current idea of social is to capture much more than eyeballs and clicks of course, with checkins for places, Runkeeper and many other health apps for tracking/sharing activities, and so on... nearly everything we do is a potential data point for commercialization that a startup will want to capitalize on. This is fine if the user clearly understands the relationship.
I expect it was too early when the 'Attention Economy' ideas emerged but now perhaps we'll see projects that resurrect some of that early work and build on it to empower users of social tools to take control of both their attention and the data points they are sharing.
addl reading: http://p2pfoundation.net/Attention_Economy
Everyone in the audience put away their phones/cameras almost immediately. The result? You could actually see people enjoying the music; not just bragging about being there.
Your grandpa didn't need to update his status every 10 minutes and he was the fucking man.
It makes me sad that someone with your attitude will probably end up an employee of a Social site, if you aren't already.
I am not "uncivil, immature, and irrational" simply because your personal opinion differs from mine.
I've tuned it out. I suspect other people as they get older will too.
"The horrible future of social" isn't bad. It means the internet is so great that we have all kinds of people making all kinds of things.
If it truly has no value, people won't use it.
This is the reason McDonald's exists, it isn't new or unique to social.
2) Coming from my first point, a much better article about the potential pitfalls of socializing parts of our inner lives (with real live examples) can be seen here:
It's not as negative, but there still is a hell of a lot to not look forward to.
A window has two main viewing states.
You can either look 'at' a window, or you can look 'through' a window.
huh? What the hell does this have to do with social networking?
Social networking is not the beginning of social. Experience is the beginning of social, social is just a way to share and solicit experiences.
So with this in mind, what are the different types of 'experience' going on in the window analogy.
Looking "through" the window is being in the moment, looking through the glass and seeing the world without the frame, taking experiences as they come and letting them exist inside of you as memories, allowing them to shape you and then letting that change in character effect others. Through is just living and being.
Looking "at" the window is seeing the glass, seeing the frame and putting all experience through a context. The context here is the social capital or the commodification of that experience for in order to enhance perception of self.
'At' is translating all experience into trade-able emotional commodity.
If you live in the 'at' state you live in a "what used to need to be seen, now needs to be shared to be believed."
Experiences become worthless unless A) you can prove that they happened, B) that you can show it to someone.
Just my thoughts
Change always causes loss, but we often gain more. Naysayers may help us keep track of what is lost, but best to ignore them otherwise.
Because of agriculture, we don't know how to hunt and gather. Because of home theaters we don't go to the movies. Because of air flights we are separated from our families and miss much of what we fly over.
Indeed. The sky is falling.
Would you please - stop - taking - pictures - on your
tiny - annoying (whispering) fucking camera. This is
happening to you in real time, you are having the
experience. It's not much point to verify that you
were at the event when you're actually here.
The quote as I remember it live was slightly different, something about not living your life because you were too busy filming it for youtube.
Just one gripe. He forgot the 'like' button.
I would say: it "logical-ize" it - in the computing meaning of the "term".
And here come the question: is it good? Maybe no because the logic of such an app is a cheap one but maybe yes because it becomes more logical in the sense of rational.
"What is so attractive with this logic is that.. it is logic" - Triumph of the Nerds