Symbols 2.0: How Did We Get Here?
My first visual post – Shifting Extensions – almost made this blog famous, as Dave Winer spotted out the picture and wrote about it. Only, he referred his readers to Flickr, rather than to this blog...
This is only to say that one picture has been proved to worth, if not a thousand words, then at least a thousand views by scripting news' readers.
Symbols2.0 - how did we get here? is my second attempt in visual blogging. My assumption here was that by aggregating the symbols that made this Reality that we live in, some themes of our Zeitgeist will auto-emerge.
And indeed, already from the initial set of aggregated symbols I could notice three clear themes: Media (Marshall McLuhan), Reality (Philip K. Dick) and Time (McLuhan again)
Media, Medium and Message are in a constant reorganization. The impact of the new mediums on the messages, on us and on the institutionalized media – is flagrant.
Reality? What Reality?
As I mentioned in the Avatars post, Real and Reality are gradually losing their categorizing power, and consequently their meaning. The Fightwares post was another example of these blurring borders between us and the machines, and SL, Second Life, is already a destabilizer to the meaning of RL, Real Life.
The third prominent theme is Time. McLuhan discussed the cultural implications of "Real Time" – of the fact that there's no longer a "piece-of-time" between a cause and its effect; between a decision and an action; between the sense and the response.
We live in a culture where Time equals Pain. We use the words "Time Killer" to refer to anything that helps us evaporate this negative dimension, with the same connotation we use when referring to a pain killer drug.
So Real Time is, paradoxically, No Time. I hope that one day Real Money would mean No Money and we all would be millionaires.
Enterprises become real-time; Information is consumed and produced in real-time. Applications are built using ad-hoc mash-ups; standards are defined using ad-hoc micro-formats. We worship this Time dimension removal; we squeeze Time to the tiniest possible Space, and by that we increase the rate by which the Reality of the past is replaced by the timely and spatially reasonable Virtual present.
I think that this is already too much said for a visual blog post :-)
If you're interested, you can see the Symbols2.0-set here: Symbols2.0: How Did We Get Here?, and you can also watch it as a slideshow here: Symbols2.0 Slideshow. Finally, this is a work in progress; as Time goes by... more symbols will be added.