My immediate reaction to the announcement yesterday that Time Magazine chose “You” for their “Person of the Year” award was they tossed in the towel and gave up looking.
They typically select someone in a leadership role who has caused a major shift somewhere. I can see how Web 2.0 and the usage of YouTube, MySpace and SecondLife also cause a shift in consciousness on a grand scale. But, is this all “you” want? Is occupying our time with make-believe or alternative versions of ourselves what we really want? Watching spoofs of leaders who crapped on us is fun, but how is paying any more attention to idiots than they deserve helping ourselves in the long run?
“The new Web is a very different thing. It’s a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter. Silicon Valley consultants call it Web 2.0, as if it were a new version of some old software. But it’s really a revolution.”
The revolution began with email. In my mind, “revolution” was the instant a person figured out they could communicate anything to anyone in the world via email. This brought on dramatic changes to global humanity because it removed the responsibility of being humane. There is no longer a basic requirement to be considerate of other people when you can be anonymous, or blame your behavior on something like, “This is how we do it where I come from and if you can’t take it, you’re a [fill in degrading term here].”
We are no longer a species of “hunters and gatherers”. We don’t even have to be real. From Time’s piece,
“Some of the comments on YouTube make you weep for the future of humanity just for the spelling alone, never mind the obscenity and the naked hatred. But that’s what makes all this interesting. Web 2.0 is a massive social experiment, and like any experiment worth trying, it could fail. “
Could fail? In my mind, it already has. If you are parent and there is a computer or TV in your house, you may understand. My kids have cell phones because children are being kidnapped from their bus stops and while at the shopping Mall. Google has a map to my house for God’s sake. My children get credit card offers, and they are underage kids. My daughter enters contests at Cosmo Girl and suddenly I’m getting a package in the mail. It’s a thong. My sons need to be reminded that if you blow up people in real life, they die. And sadly, they don’t understand what that means because in video games, nobody ever dies. They are either “on” or “off”.
And so are we. We are either online, or off-line. When are we planting seeds in the earth to grow our food? When are we going to stop pretending that our choices aren’t destroying the planet’s resources? My town just installed one windmill, because they got a state funded one to use as a teaching tool to show how wind can generate electricity. One. They erected that one windmill in the town’s favorite park, with no sign explaining why it is there, or how consumers could possibly get one, or how we can come up with a plan to use wind to power our electric needs rather than relying on the electric companies.
Where is the leadership here? Are “you” forgetting how to be leaders? This doesn’t matter anymore?
I find there’s a gap between life on the Internet and real life, creating a disconnect about what’s really important and necessary right now. Things like safety, peaceful living, the economy, healthcare, childcare because parents both need to work, support for working parents who work and care for the kids and have no time for each other anymore (but there’s somehow plenty of time for YouTube and SecondLife?)
As a web geek, I should be glad that Time chose interactive sites as the big thing to celebrate for 2006. I guess there were no true leaders this year. No one thinking about how our grandchildren will pay for today’s government debts. Why worry about tomorrow when you can hide inside a virtual city, have a virtual foot massage and buy virtual furniture?
” It’s a chance for people to look at a computer screen and really, genuinely wonder who’s out there looking back at them.”
Where has Time been all these years? I felt that way in 1996 when I chose “cre8pc” as my domain and identity. I had this idealist belief that I could help promote peaceful co-existence simply by meeting people and making an effort to understand and share with them. I no longer believe I personally did a damned thing other than make friends in countries I will likely never see in real life. Judging from the enormous spam email and spam comments I get, and the even greater number of automated new, have no intention of participating human, members to Cre8asiteforums, I figure the chances of connecting with humans with any soul or integrity is minimal.
And this is what I had so wanted from my Internet experience. I wanted to buiid a new world on this planet, not a fake virtual one. I don’t especially care to race to see what Britney and Paris look like naked or having sex. Who in the heck gives a cows dung about that? Political leaders are IM’ng for sex and preachers are emailing for sex. Where is the greatness of “You” in this scenerio?
Has Time magazine glorified the fact that if we’re horny, we just turn on the old computer to get what we want?
I’m not buying this big happy Time selection about “You” being the choice of the major cool thing for the year. And, I’m not wishing to ignore those using the Internet in positive, constructive ways that benefit huge chunks of people. I’m saying that Time wimped out by focusing on all the ways we have to pretend we’re not here and don’t have to be responsible, think or genuinely care about each other.
It’s not a “You” I care to get to know. It’s not a “You” I care to do business with. In my second life, I so want to do something that matters to the people I love. I don’t want to forget how to live and thrive, here.