“In the internet no one knows you are a dog”, this was the defining moment of the proto-internet, the one before web 2.0 shenanigans that really transformed the way we interact with the medium. This post is an almost surrealistic automated-writing type of musing that is not fact-checked and pretends to be my idea of having a break from actual work to do something relaxing. Yes, for me this is actually relaxing, I’m a geek you see… Since every self-respecting brake needs a song, I am starting with a taste of Mina in a monumental live cover of Lucio Battisti’s “Io vivro”.
I’ve been around since the beginning of the web as we know it, seen the ‘dogs’ chatting, the ‘personal web page’ era and the return of the blogs (they were relational databases of html archives, hand-coded by super-geeks, at their conception). But what really changed everything was facebook, the teenage, hormonal and in-your-face uber-popular eponymous-by-explicit-choice web experience. By all means FB was not there first but as always the winner takes all the credit but the concept applies equally to friendster, orkut and other ‘social media’. The implications are profound and moving to a virtual world with all the “stone age” social constructs is a profound shift in human evolution of co-operative interactions. As it is expected, this also makes Orwellian scenarios a scary prospect and marketing based on data-mining user habits and real-life choices a very appealing tool for all sorts of products, not always tangible but also political or ideological. If we sprinkle some twitter on this and look at this time-shifted, cached, instant peer-to-peer communication network the effect can be transformative in many ways. I think of politics and participatory democracy but this is drab and Cornelious Castoriadis already preached about technology enabling the return of direct citizen democracy back in the ’80.
As a more fun closing to this musing and as my 30min brake comes to an end, I was thinking of the way eponymous web transforms people networks, how it can complement, extend and enhance the way you share a moment with your kid that studies abroad, with your wife while you are away and sneak a tweet of two or even how you actually create or add-to your network of friends, those of the real-life-variety, those that you have a drink with. The parting song of this musing I feel like it must be King Crimson’s Epitaph cause “Knowledge is a deadly friend | When no one sets the rules”; but sod the lyrics, the guitar part is just mind-blowing.
Addentum: on a second thought Billy Bragg’s “Greetings to the New Brunette” from Talking with the taxman about poetry, is what this piece of verbal diarrhea needs for a soundtrack