Wednesday, 6 January 2010
A visual representation of the Digital Dialectic...
City people do not give a damn about their physical orientation. Urban dwellers do not know where they are. They could not tell you where north is, or at what angle the sun rises in winter. They will tell you that London is flat, because online maps have no topography. Almost no Londoners have seen the mouth of the Thames, nor even a photographic representation of it. Psychogeography is outmoded, depressingly retrospective.
The real has already become irrelevant.
The fear of city people, who make up more than half the world’s population, is not physical disorientation, but digital disorientation. Our eternal angst about social acceptance has been superposed into the digital realm. Belonging is about Facebook networks, Twitter followers, Blogger comments, and, to a lesser extent Myspace fans, ICQ & MSN Messenger contacts. Of course, the names of these programs will change, but the essence of online acceptance will remain. It may even get more extreme, as perhaps indicated by the rising popularity of Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG).
Further, our fear is not only that the online community will accept us – in whatever guise we choose to present ourselves – but also that we will be able to connect to them.
Chat abbreviations like ‘do’ (dropped out) are becoming more and more rare. The era of the permanent threat of imminent disconnection is over. The fear of temporary disconnection had been replaced by a much greater fear of permanent disconnection...