Pain in the Net
Global networks are part of our lives now, as Kazy Varnelis says. As a Western and capitalist nation, global networks are part of what makes Australia work. The digital age has made absolutely everything into data. Our social media presences are data, meaning our online relationships can be simply seen as nothing but data. Products that used to be in physical format, such as music and movies, are now data. This is all quite convenient, but none of these will ever be as enthralling as the real thing. However, there is definitely benefit is having the entire world at your fingertips with smartphones and tablets.
Greet Lovink talks of a more depressing view of global networks. So depressing in fact, I think I may have to search the global networks for happier things.
“Pulling the plug on the net is suicide.”
That’s pretty deep right there. He is right, there’s no going back on the internet. The world economy would most likely halt and eventually crumble if it were somehow disconnected worldwide. It would be just like if all cars in the world were taken off the roads.
I like to think of the Internet is an expansion of our lives, rather than our lives, although perhaps Lovink does have a point about a number of people. Some people do spend most of their time awake on the Internet. We have the usual stereotype of World of Warcraft players in their mother’s basement, and then we have hard working people whose career just happens to involve the internet, all the time. Surely an online editor at any major website spends all their time on the Internet.
What I mean by extension of our lives is the peace of mind we have when internet enabled devices are there; to enhance that moment rather than take away from it. I may take a photo or a video of just one song at a rock concert, rather than spend the entire concert behind the black mirror that’s my camera phone. I use social media to keep in touch with my real life friends I see regularly, allowing us to share online content relevant to our mutual interests, and to plan our next meet up. If you only communicate with someone over Facebook chat, you may be missing out on a real conversation. A Skype call may be a better idea. Ask them on Facebook chat for their Skype username.