Saturday, December 12, 2009

Losing culture

Johann Hari's piece in The Independent on Tuesday invites us to consider whether the 'internet has transformed the way we think about ourselves' which is an interesting question, but one that in the end treats technology as a thing that is doing something to us. But the points made about the changes in patterns of friendship and romance that have arisen with digital culture are well made. From lightweight friendship maintenance to searching for a partner online: it's clear there is a shift. I also liked the observation that rapid social networking helps the good, the bad and the silly to co-exist in an unregulated way. As for research on attention span and trains of thought, well....what was I just saying? I forget. Perhaps it helps to bring some of these issues into view in a reflective way, but personally I'm rather tired of hearing about the tyranny of ecommunication. Can't we move on? In a way the whole argument is concisely framed by the strap line 'are we losing our culture', implying that we had something worthwhile (in the last millenium) that is now in some sense under attack. Culture: is it seaping away through my keyboard or am I re-making it each time a type?

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