Ariana's Recent Posts

Not New

Posted on October 7th, 2007 in entry, link

Thank you, Trebor Scholtz, for “The Web 2.0 Ideology”:

Illustrations of Web 2.0 commonly map an overwhelmingly large number of logos of startups, supposedly demonstrating that the creators have their thumbs right on the pulse of the Internet. These maps are meant to visualize the momentum of this phenomenon, while making the non-familiar user feel intimidated.

What sounds like 1960’s counter culture rebellion, against control and authority, is far from it. It is hard not to think of Richard Barbrook’s Californian Ideology, the “bizarre fusion of the cultural bohemianism of San Francisco with the hi-tech industries of Silicon Valley.” Web 2.0 ideologues use the language of rebellion, anarchy and horizontal structures but their core values do not support the goal of the Internet as a common good.

Social Networking: Not New.

Separation of content and presentation: Not New.

Writing out or recording info and putting it out there for anyone to find: Not New.

Collaborative knowledge: Not New.

And all the tech, all the buzzwords, all the hype, all the rest: Not New.

Thank god for everyone that realizes “New” is the deadliest buzzword of them all.

My “recent” nattering on about all this webcrap isn’t really new, either. For those of you just joining me, I do this every time I move. I got fascinated to near obsession with telephone and radio when I was four years old. We’d just moved some 1500 miles, and suddenly I needed to know how the world fit together. I didn’t know that’s what I was doing, I just knew that there were ways to talk to people that weren’t in the room. There are several cassettes (possibly) still in existence of a four-year-old me talking about my day, singing a couple of songs, and just saying hello to the folks I’d left behind. These were recorded on my scrappy little tape recorder with the built in mic, and mailed out at the post office.

I was an only child, yes.

I’m no web expert, and I’m sure as hell no tech expert, I’m just a grown-up girl that doesn’t know how to be lonely. I took up chat post ‘97 when I was moving too fast for anything else. But I had pen pals when I was eight. Not New. I can not remember a time when someone I loved didn’t live over 3000 miles away. My world has always been a social network. Always.

And I don’t know how to be lonely.

I don’t understand loneliness. It’s a creeping, dark thing that offends me. Missing people cuts me deeper than I know how to say, the holes where people should be in an empty room… oh that I feel and know and understand. But loneliness is a cruelty of ignorance. There is always some way to touch another person’s mind. Always. And no, it’s not always good enough, maybe it’s never quite enough — I’m a living creature and I crave physical contact — but it’s a balm and a comfort and a drive and a tool and when it works it’s good.

And I’m not talking about the web, right now. I’m just talking about contact.

Any form of contact.

Touch.

Transmission.

Need.

More than just me.

Because that’s what’s always driven everything. You can say it’s knowledge and information, sometimes, but you’d only be half right. There’s no reason for information if there aren’t at least two people to build on it. Whether we’re talking about the web, or radio, or the corner cafe, or the neighborhood street fair, humans like to congregate, mingle, or just sit in a room with another person sometimes.

And that’s why I hate Web 2.0. It’s a name and a brand that calls itself the focus. And it’s just not.

I don’t care what the tech is called, any more than I care if my city was founded by Spaniards or Brits, named after a Saint or a King. I don’t care about the company selling me the coffee. I do not care about the neon-to-wall ratio at the bar. And while I do appreciate a good cover, it’s crap if the inside doesn’t follow through. I do not care for anything that sets itself higher than the content, and I do not care for content that sets itself higher than the contact.

If you aren’t trying to effect the world with your touch, your voice, yourself — if you aren’t trying to reach out for someone, anyone else, you don’t exist.

Back to point. Business and politics drive what we see, sure, and what we have to work with. So we’re focused on Web 2.0, for worse or worser. I can’t really do anything about that — see up-post where I mention the bit about being just a girl. What I can say is that we’ve already got enough tech to change the world. We do it every day, and sometimes it’s even done on MySpace (Not New). You wanna fix the web? (Of course you don’t, and I’ll probably stop caring in a few months, too.) But in the off chance you do?

Forget about where you are, forget about what your site runs on, forget about whether or not your tech will be obsolete tomorrow, forget about your graphs and tracking and analytics, forget about whether you’re doing it right.

You’re doing just fine.

Just tell me something new.

What did you do today?

I watched the sun rise.

Not New.

But I’ve never seen this day before. And neither have you.

New.

2 Responses to “Not New”

  1. Hey Ariana.

    Just touching.

    -

    Wrote the last chapter of a novel. The first is still unwritten…but the last, all done.

  2. I’m not very good at reaching out. I’ve learned a lot over the years, but this is never going to be something I’m strong in. I have my own skills, but like you said, if you’re not touching someone you don’t exist.

    I’ve always wanted to hear someone say “If only I had *this* I could change the world”. I could build whatever they needed. I’m good at building things.

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