Tuesday, August 4, 2009
From the Tyranny of Distance to the Monopoly of Now
If we could mount several lifetimes of recorded history and gaze down at its slopes and summits we might see the collapsing of distance into an instantaneous recall of each plodding rung and liberating leapfrog up the incline. From ships to cables to wires, and lightwaves time has been beaten senseless and removed from its former station between the send key and the ear piece. Nothing new about that altercation.
The mountain climb is a treacherous and tiresome metaphor for an ascent so unquestioned gravity catches its breath long enough to wonder: was a decision even made here? As if the speed of communication would ever be left alone long enough to grow static -- even for one recordable moment?
Far greater are the chances that our species would lose all interest in reproducing. Perhaps our numbers would dwindle from forces greater than our collective will? These are less remote possibilities than bringing a halt to faster evolving communications. We can't get the news soon enough. Not fast enough? No news there.
The newest clouds that have nestled beneath this nothing-new-sun have been tagged by a more contemporary name than any timeless nature. To techies it goes by the name of SMS ("short message service"). For the rest of us last week's IM was this morning's text cc'ed as a tweet that will evolve into some other signal by the time it floods my in-box.
In the late seventies I first experienced this ancient pang for a collective human respite (was it overnight delivery of air parcels? I've lost the clock watch on that one). I railed then against the competing claim that a piece of news could be both timely and analytical. Narrowing the gap between sending and receiving does nothing to speed up the vetting, assessing, or netting out what it means.
Is it better to be in the dark?
What you don't know "may" hurt you. What you don't need to know "will" distract you. Try that rationale on for size the next time an idle moment is engulfed by a flurry of Blackberry deletions. This abhorrence of a chatter free void is not about staying on top or keeping up. It's about not ending up on the bottom -- the very place we analytical types had once vowed to occupy until we could safely say "we know when up is up."
Oh how little majesty and how precipitous the trajectory of those towering achievements. Our views of technology are positively panoramic. But united we stand -- on the shoulders of midgets.
- Marc Solomon
- attentionSpin is a consulting practice formed in 1990 to create, automate and apply a universal scoring system (“The Biggest Picture”) to brands, celebrities, events and policy issues in the public eye. In the Biggest Picture, attentionSpin applies the principles of market research to the process of media analytics to score the volume and nature of media coverage. The explanatory power of this research model: 1. Allows practitioners to understand the requirements for managing the quality of attention they receive 2. Shows influencers the level of authority they hold in forums where companies, office-seekers, celebrities and experts sell their visions, opinions and skills 3. Creates meaningful standards for measuring the success and failure of campaigns and their connection to marketable assets.