Mar 28, 2007

Nick Carr on Twitter

Twitter seems to have pushed noted author and technologist Nicholas Carr into a kind of existential abyss. He begins his recent review of Twitter by calling it "the telegraph system of Web 2.0." Wow, an awesome comparison! However, as his thoughts unwound before my eyes I found myself drifting in a weird and dreamlike world of nonsense, Starbucks, and references to cartoons from the 1940s.
"As I walk down the street with thin white cords hanging from my ears, as I look at the display of khakis in the window of the Gap, as I sit in a Starbucks sipping a chai served up by a barista, I can't quite bring myself to believe that I'm real. But if I send out to a theoretical audience of my peers 140 characters of text saying that I'm walking down the street, looking in a shop window, drinking tea, suddenly I become real...As the physical world takes on more of the characteristics of a simulation, we seek reality in the simulated world. At least there we can be confident that the simulation is real. At least there we can be freed from the anxiety of not knowing where the edge between real and unreal lies. At least there we find something to hold onto, even if it's nothing. I did! I did taw a puddy tat!"
Awesome. It reminds me of that Twilight Zone episode where the little girl gets lost in another dimension when she goes under her bed and through the wall. It's all echo-y and upside down and cloudy. Remember that one? Strange. Eventually, the family dog runs in there and helps get her back just before the opening closes up forever. So that ended up okay. Hopefully, Nick will pull through too.


Jerry Prager said...

Dogs are like that.
Where would we be without a real dog ? Probably hanging around with cyber dogs, saving us from ion storms to bring us home just in time to find we've been lost in cyberspace so long we've been sentenced to the dog house outside in the yard, unplugged. Technological metaphors opening and shutting doors in our dreams all night as we yowl at the monitor of the moon. Or not.

Kathryn said...

He really is in an altered reality in that he can be walking down the street looking in shop windows as he simultaneously sits in Starbucks sipping chai...