Phase 2- Theme: Hyper-connectivity
Updated: May 5, 2019
Through the course of phase 2 the topic (constant interaction) has become better defined as hyper-connectivity
I found that there were 3 key ideas appearing from constant interaction
We have access to unlimited information, but we’re bored
The structure of our communication has changed
We lack memory
1. Unlimited information
Book- The medium is the message
A book released in the late 1960’s by a philosopher Marshall McLuhan. It established the idea that “messages” were in fact reflective of their technology/form more than the content itself. The different types of messages change us and society, the individual, family, work and leisure. For example oral culture made the primary sense organ the ear, then printed word emphasised the visual. For then the present was TV and telephones which he believed was unifying people and encouraging participation. He described what was emerging as a sort of global village; one world simplified through electronic media. The book developed a cult following for this media theory, with it largely predicting the internet years before it was created. Gives context because it shows the aims of hyper-connectivity in the world.
Book- Age of Earthquakes
A modern day extension of the Medium is the Message. Uses graphical statements to define and question the extreme present. Ideas such as “the bulk of human activity is creation and moving of information” and that this fixation and unlimited availability of information is boring for people. Introduces some interesting definitions for our use of information the internet such as:
Smupidity; The mental state wherein we acknowledge that we’ve never been smarter as individuals and yet somehow we’ve never felt stupider.
Stuartivity; The essence that one gets comfortable knowing which things one no longer needs to know. Best illustrated with this comment ““I’m actually a very intelligent human being – unfortunately I’m without an internet connection, and thus am unable to display said intelligence.”
Slow journalism can be seen as a response to this immediate access to information. With the increasing rate that news is delivered to us, we see regurgitated facts recycled from outlet to outlet all in an attempt to be the first to report. It rarely tells us what it means. Slow journalism focuses on being right over being quick, tell you how stories end rather than speculate and relies on intelligent input. Delayed gratification magazine utilises this method, revisiting the previous 3 months news to give the final analysis on the stories that mattered. It’s tag line is “It is proud to be last to breaking news."
The smartphone and digital life isn’t all bad, however all we ever talk about is how bad it is yet we don’t stop using devices.
Hyper-connected characters are being displayed often in the media (soap characters, the news, adolescence) however their is further result of the hype-connectivity on personalities. With the changing structure of communication a new form of celebrity has formed. Within that is the rise of the family brand. This can be seen with the likes of Savannah LaBrant, whose personal brand revolves around her and her daughter. They create small comedy videos and are known for their matching outfits. The changing family landscape is further being presented across social medium. The Kardashian family are demonstrating this, there huge following continuously growing despite not being a nuclear family. Family is now topical.
On the flip-side you've got the neo-luddites who reject technology. They believe that using tech will have moral and social implications on society. Ironically an example of this is with silicon valley executives banning their children from using computers, tablets and smartphones, They are even sending them to schools anti-tech schools.
Those in favour of technology may see themselves more aligned to techno-utopianism.
This can be seen in the film 'the Circle' (2017) which looks at issues of privacy and tech but ultimately sees the benefits of tech to considerably outweigh the downfalls.
Locations- Panasonic Smart City vs United States National Radio Quiet Zone
With the rise of the smart home, Panasonic hopes to take this a step further. It is building a suburb in Denver with high level connection between personal and community. This include high-tech highways and autonomous vehicles in the city, all taking each others data to develop functionality. I feel like its a step towards the retro-futures in the sci-fi genre.
The neo-luddite community has also adopted a location away from high paced tech filled communities. The US National Radio Zone was established in 1958 to stop potential inference with a large telescope (the biggest moveable object in the world at the time). The telescope is highly sensitive and can detect radio waves emitted milliseconds. This prevents the use of electronics in its 13,000 square mile radius. Communities have formed here which appear to be still stuck in 1950's in a way, but the neo-luddites have relished this and have sough these places as their homes.
Human Phantom Vibration Syndrome
An art sculpture exploring the subconscious ways that mobile communication technologies shape our senses. A syndrome wherein mobile phone users become hyper-attentive to their mobile devices, often experiencing phantom ringing sensations even in the absence of incoming calls or messages.
There is also technology trying to keep us away from mobile phones and connected with the real world more. This can be seen with the 'Lite Phone' which is a secondary phone with no features other then calling. It keeps you distraction free and but still connected.
“designed to be used as little as possible”
”encourages you to leave behind your smartphone and enjoy quality time doing the things you love the most”
Their have been plenty of self help apps and smartphone functions in the past couple of years to deter us from using our mobile phones. For example the Hold app deters users by rewarding their time spent of their phones (e.g. with amazon and Café Nero vouchers ) However its become apparent, particularly for millennials and generation Z, that we have no self control. The interaction with the phone is worth more than vouchers etc. Which brings me to the Kickstarter campaign for the Phonecell! A product that physically locks away smartphones for a designated time-period. Unlike system timed blocking of apps, you can’t turn this on and off within a few clicks.
Courtney Adamo is an influencer on Instagram. Although ironic, Courtney Adamo doesn’t let her children use technology, this type of lifestyle is occurring in the digital age. She has become part of the increasing amount of family-focused influencers. She was raised without TV in her home as well, increasing her neo-luddite ideals. On top of this she does not give her children plastic toys, only wooden, and there no character or brand images in her home/children's clothes, everything has to be very organic.
3. We lack memory
“Your 20th century linear mind has been rewired into a 21st century lattice. Go with it! But the more you offload your memories onto hard drives and into the iCloud, the more your memory becomes, in a very real sense, artificial. Technically, someone who spends all day in front of a screen has no memories of their own except going to the fridge for a coke.. That’s spooky”- Age of Earthquakes
Case Study- Families
There was an interesting study in America, Mapping the daily media round: novel methods for understanding families’ mobile technology use. It demonstrated arguments between families about screen time, with parents not happy about their child's solo-use of screen. They believed it was important when together that if they are technology it should be co-participating. However it was shown that parents were portraying this behaviour themselves which causes their child to mirror them.
Beyond this is the case of the curated instagram where online personas become about their image. It becomes part of selling an, unrealistic, ideal. This can be seen with Courtney Adamo, which questions its reality if the lifestyle she portrays. How can a family be so 'perfect'?
In contrast Giovana Fletcher shows the ups and downs of parenthood online. Feeling a bit more realistic and relatable.
The changing bedroom
Asda published a study which concluded that teenagers are "skipping a phase" of growing up with the influence of the internet celebrity, such as Zoella. It found that teenagers bedrooms have changed considerably, with "the days of heart throb posters on teens' bedroom wall are gone". They are more influenced by stylistic choices, claiming that its about their "personality" and what influencers are portraying as "cool" as opposed to their friends. It shows Influence from perceived identity (looking glass self, the concept of the looking-glass self describes the development of one's self and of one's identity through one's interpersonal interactions within the context of society). The change to their bedroom looking more like their favourite influencers, is more with what other people think about them.