Thursday, April 09, 2009

The new conciousness.

The new consciousness. 

I really hate to post yet another blog mentioning the importance of twitter.  Actually twitter is just a part of my topic. After seeing and participating in twitter during the election.  Following along as thousands reacted to the various debates and events as they happened.  As the former standard twitter newbie I started to see some use for this weird tool.  Then months later I learned about an earthquake on twitter - hours before it hit the regular news feeds.  In the begining, hearing first hand experiences from people that I know or follow.  Then following # tags and twitter searches.  Not only was I watching just the text stream, but photos and video.  Posted from phones, tablets and laptops on the scene.

I realized at that point that twitter (and whatever is coming next) plus the vast penetration of hand held devices is something new.  Something never before in existence.  I thought of the sci-fi writers visions of societies that are all connected via some kind of implant of telepathy.  I shivered a little I think and realized we are seeing the birth of a new kind of collective consciousness.  Phones, video cams and laptops have made all of us on-scene reporters.  The wireless infrastructure - connected to the internet becomes a kind of global sensor net.  

I thought about this allot.  You have a generation now that has never seen paper encyclopedias and think that phone books are something only old people use.  They move about inside of their social groups no matter where they are.  Unlike those that came before them, never leaving these groups in fact.  I used to leave mine when mom called me in for the night - or when we went on vacation.  Now the new generation never exits, except for the occasional shower or sleep.  Plus these groups have no boundaries.  In fact my own sons maintain friends across the country.   And it's not a passing thing for them.  They have done so for years. Dealing with freinds in a digital manner is totally normal for this generation.

At a moments notice these social groups will spring on anything happening.  Like white blood cells called to an injury site they swarm and twitter / txt / email / video / photograph every little part of it.  Connected groups pick it up and it moves accross the globe in no time.  Just like a large organism.  An earthquake happens in California.  I know about it - as it is still happening - in North Carolina.   Just like the brain knows you just stepped on something sharp.

This net goes further however.  If I need to know, say the best route to take from JFK to an address in midtown.  I'm one 140 character message away from answers that only local would know.  I can't think of a good name for a new pet - I shoot a photo of the new puppy and the net answers with 50 really great possibilities.  I can't make the regular meeting of the coffee clutch tonight - I shoot out another message and moments later the meeting has been re-located and re-scheduled.  Amazing what a collective consiouness can accomplish.  This is happening in a very viral way too.  First I get sucked into txt messaages with my kids.  Hmm start liking that.  Shooting little bits of info around.  Then a freind talks me onto facebook.  Forward a few months and now I find myself chatting with a freind from junior high over coffee every morning.  Another that I worked with 10 years ago meets me at my desk and keeps me company as I slave over my keyboard.  Then as the sun moves along - my best freind from high school comes online.  After dinner I sit down to chat (sometimes face to face) with any of several other freinds old - and new.  Some on other continets.  Some litereally in the next room.

Ok so those of you reading this - how many have used a txt message to call the kids to dinner?  Used IM to chat with the person in the next cube?  Used IM or txt messages to carry on a side conversation durring a meeting - or sent live updates about a concert or even a convention or trade show out via twitter?  Or even just changed your status on facebook as the day wears on.  See how it's grown into your being too. 

How does it feel to be a neuron?  I kinda like it.

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