Thursday, May 17, 2007

Warhol, Twitter and Universal Broadcast

Andy Warhol didn’t have a clue about how right he was. Did he look into a crystal ball? Or did he have secret conversations over space and time with Marshall McLuhan? Whatever it was, he would have been happy to stroll through the blogosphere, arm in arm with Mr. McLuhan.

Warhol suggested that everybody wants their 15 mins of fame. McLuhan suggested that the world was shrinking to a “global village” where people would know each other anyway. The blogosphere marries these 2 precepts. 15 minutes is now 15 seconds. The village is now a courtyard. We’re infinitely connected, but our attention span is microscopic and shrinking.

Made me stop and think. Last time I counted (I actually listed) all the people I know – personally, not professionally – I totted up a list close to 500. Is it scary or cool that I can communicate with the majority of them in an instant? Is it worrying that I don’t speak with most of them from one end of the year to the other? Should I stop meeting more people? Am I losing a friend every few days?

My friend Jasmine keeps asking me this question about blogs – but why the %$£& would anybody want to read what you have to write? Or what anybody else wants to write? I don’t have a great answer yet, because right now I’ve not made up my mind whether our need to tell is greater or lesser than our need to listen.

Whatever it is, Twitter takes us a step closer to the infinitesimally attention span in the eternally connected space. Microblogging as it is called, allows you to post barely a thought, and let your friends pick it up. The really interesting thing here, is that personal communications are fast approaching broadcasting. Look at Rawflow – they let you broadcast onto the web at no cost. Whether you blog, podcast, vlog, broadcast or IM, whether you skype or text, the communications model is increasingly one-to-many. And this is probably the only way we’ll get to stay connected with the hundreds of friends we want to accumulate in a lifetime.

What we need is better listening devices. A single, simple application which allows me to collate all kinds of messages – broadcast, peer to peer, feeds, pods, bytes and broadsides. Without having to manage multiple interfaces. Microsoft has plans for a universal messaging application – the great grandson of Outlook, and Pageflakes & NetVibes are starting down that road. But we’re a long way from the simplicity of sticking in an antennae and sitting back to watch all those broadcasts streaming in!


Post a Comment

<< Home