Saturday, November 05, 2005

Force Feedback

So I posted a little note from my BlackBerry (which, I'm now of the opinion, are the spawn of Satan) the other night. It started me thinking on how easy it is these days to upload real-time information about the inner most thoughts of any human being.

Why does that seem like an incredible waste of technology?

There are some impressive possible uses for the instant access to the journalistic tools. The most obvious one being journalism. Having a journalist in the thick of things and sending in a story, written as it happens is wonderfully powerful. The reader can be connected instantly to the joy, unrest, terror or mundane of the world.

There are two issues with this. The first being the problem of aggregation. Mobile blogging or instant journalism has created an explosion of information and opinions on the events of the day. Collection, assessing and absorbing all of this information becomes an huge task for any one person. Data aggregation is becoming a big focus of development efforts (Google Reader is a good example). Even still, there's a wealth of information that comes in a daily basis.

Does this wealth of information allow us to live our lives in any better fashion? The answer is yes and no. Having access to those pieces of information that directly relate to you in a timely manner is valuable, of course. The problem is that the much of the information isn't directly applicable to one's current affairs. The reader may actually spend more time familiarizing themselves with the news of the day from Joe Blogger[1], reading about Joe's life and spending less time going about their own lives.

Mundane was mentioned early. This is really the second problem with the instant upload of news and information. What is considered news by some is incredibly boring and useless information. When some one blogs about the fact that their friend is in trouble or they had a great time at a concert. All these things may be interesting to four or five people, but, on the whole, generally dull and uninteresting to the rest of mankind.

Which brings me back to my BlackBerry post. I posted that entry about the simple fact that I had a BlackBerry and wanted to write about it. Which really is the most boring, mundane and useless piece of knowledge that I can provide.

[1] Right. So I know that Joe Blogger hasn't actually updated his blog in quite some time. In fact, I just made a wild guess that someone out there actually had created a blog, originally called JoeBlogger for a real sense of anonymity or average Joe quality. It does fit the bill for my point. It's a bunch of small, useless tidbits about a the life some Joe somewhere, telling us all about how his life is going. Is it news? Probably not.

Then again, neither is this.

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