Monday, March 13, 2006

Hello!!!! Can You Hear Me??

It’s everywhere all around us, all the time. Those people on the metro with the telltale, glowing white wires poking out their ears. Or that group furiously thumbing their blackberries. Or those countless invitations to join friendster, or myspace. You just got invited to be a friend.

It is hard to believe that there was once a time when email was just a rumor that I dismissed on first hear. Today, it is nearly impossible to untangle ourselves from the outgrowth of technology that has revolutionized how we communicate. I could talk about how technology breeds isolation, and how, despite it all, people connect less with each other, not more. More than ever before, we are living inside our own little worlds, instead of the one we all share. We've given up our realities for a virtual peephole with a wide-angle lens.

But that is a post for another day when I am feeling less optimistic. This blog is about what I find thrilling about the tools the tech world has given us to play with. It is nothing less than unexpected, unpredictable and utterly exhilirating.

Blogging is just one example of how one simple idea (sticking your thoughts on a public webpage) has become the foundation to launch an amazing array of innovations. [Sidenote: Here’s a a very nice post on why bloggers blog]

Take this site, for instance, called Holla Back New York City. It asks you to use your picture phones to click photos of street harassers which then gets plastered on the internet, along with a short description. Some little creep somewhere is perhaps thinking, “Why’d she take my picture? Is she going to the cops?” He’s unsure, and perhaps a little bit unsettled. It’s hard for me to not feel a little joy at that.

Here’s another. A story about a grieving mother who stumbled upon iMixes – music playlists compiled by iTunes users. She started compiling lists with search words such as "bereavement" and "death of a child" into the iMix search tool, which are then shared with other users. Recently, iTunes users rated her lists among the best of the more than 300,000 lists available.

Right when you are weary of everyone spouting the same old shtick. No one wants to beat the drum off rhythm these days. Right then, you discover entire communities that are forming new rules and asking us to re-examine all of our old ones. Excellent.

3 Comments:

Blogger mungojerrie said...

interesting post. especially the bit about the site that puts up pictures of harassers. id like to see this happen faster actually- information as power against the people you can usually do nothing about because theyre faceless?

its a different matter altogether that it will probably take a few years or more to kick off here. a lot of the eve teasers (at least half?) are probably illiterate, forget being connected. but its a beginning.

11:15 AM  
Blogger mungojerrie said...

oops. and by that vague reference to "here" i meant india.

11:16 AM  
Blogger Sony Pony said...

Shreya: I heard about Holla Back through Blank Noise Blogathon. It is happening in India too; blogging tools being used in innovative and exciting ways. Blank Noise is the best example.

12:41 PM  

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