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Every beginning is a consequence – every beginning ends some thing.  – Paul Valery

I titled this post almost two months ago. And then I never did anything to write it out. I figure now is the moment to put this into words. Tonight there was an interesting little conversation going on about the cutting edge of Internet technology, and I realized that I had become, really become, one of those luddites who can’t move on to anything new and can’t recognize anything that’s going to be hip and cutting edge.

Gareth is in the habit of bombarding me daily with links to YouTube. A new little clip, a music video, some people doing something incredibly dumb things, the latest football wondergoal and so on. For a little while I tried to get with the flow and watch them. Internet video was so ubiquitous and so hyped that you had to at least be going with the flow on something as non-contentious as this.

I tried to accept that the internet had grown again with the rise of true broadband. People were broadcasting themselves, and posting huge amounts of content online. A video of everything and too often anything, could be found if you were willing to apply the right keywords at one of the video sites.

I found quite soon, that this trend was one I wasn’t going to accept. I couldn’t do it. Watching a video of the internet, on sites like YouTube or Google Video just didn’t appeal to me. They were slow, jerky, low quality and had a certain B- sense of production values that made them unappealing ways to spend my time.

Most importantly I didn’t have the patience to sit through loading times, and to try and find and understand all the weird options and controls these sites seem to have. It just wasn’t grabbing my attention enough.

Partly I suspect that’s the medium, I’ve never been much of a video person as it is, preferring books and my own inner world to the outer worlds simulacrums of entertainment, pre-designed and pre-packaged to reflect nothing of the real world.

Partly I suspect that it’s the patience. I don’t have enough of that anymore to sit through a five-minute presentation that is of no relevance and little informative value to me. Most music vids are by definition in that category.

Most significantly, and therefore buried at the bottom of the list, by which I’m hoping you won’t get this far as you’ll have given up long ago confronted by the mounds, walls, ramparts of text that I erect between my meaning and my beginnings, it was all just too different and required too many changes to the way I dealt with the web. I couldn’t be bothered to make those changes.

Other applications have met similar fates. Del.icio.us held me for a few hours before I abandoned it for good. Technorati was a curiosity that didn’t take at all after the first day.Twitter, well I got halfway through using it for the first time before it was abandoned. These are the household names of the Web 2.0 scene. The big boys that everyone has heard of even if they’ve not come out in favor of them.

In fact I think the only two new things that I have taken on board has been Google Reader and the RSS revolution that unleashed for me. It made things so much more easier and efficient, that I don’t know how I would manage now if I had to manually scan through all the sites that are now bought to be via their feeds without me doing any work in finding them.

The second is Facebook. I think what keeps me on that is a certain mixture of apathy and convenience. Apathy because it genuinely is a good way to keep up with some people, especially the addicts. Convenience because so many people use it now, that it’s almost used as an organizational tool for groups, and though I’m not part of many, I am tangential to a few that do me the honor of remembering I exist from time to time.

The consolation I offer myself is that I have reached what I pretend is a mature view. I add those things to my life that are making an actual improvement to it, but making things both more convenient and easier to get things done. Technology is no longer my interest but my tool. I use it to get other things done that I wish to see accomplished. When it helps me do that I integrate it into my life. Where it fails, I discard; and await  something appropriate to be bought to my attention.

That’s what I hope I’m doing. I don’t want to be a grumpy old man, set in his ways at 22. Not on something as dynamic and challenging as the internet. Nor in the rest of life. It’s too soon for that. Too soon.

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2 Comments

  1. perhaps we just age faster nowadays. we’re always saying that kids grow up too fast now, that they’re missing out on so many pleasures of childhood and innocence in the current world of technology and way-too-much-information; surely this can apply to us older kids as well.. how many years is it that we’ve been using the internet as part of our daily routine? five? six? that’s enough time to be set in your ways i would say.. :p

    this is actually a good topic for a post.. if i can get over my ramadan lethargy that is.. (btw, what happened to our sihori and other plans??)

  2. I use Facebook the same way you do: to communicate with my friends. That means exchange verbal information not virtual candies or fish or super-pokes. Technology should always be the means not the ends. Using technology for its own sake is pointless, just like accumulating lots of money but never spending any of it.


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