7/18/08

Its the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

The WSJ's Jason Fry asked an important question in his Real Time column: Should you have a personal web page?
I say a resounding and uneqivocal "YES".
Of course, I'm biased. The internet is my daily sustenance.
But when I thought about this question, I recalled a book I read some time ago, called Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Written in 1985--keep this year in mind-- it opened with a scene I have never quite forgotten, and am reminded of, everytime I blog.
Opening with a real-time conversation between a number of highly intelligent writers who are communicating via computers, they discuss the political environment of their galaxy. Two of the writers, obviously brilliant, state their cases, make their points and, ultimately, one of them wins the debate.
They are 10 and 12 years old.
The older girl tells her brother,
“Peter, you’re twelve.” “Not on the nets I’m not. On the nets I can name myself anything I want…”
These two munchkins were making cogent arguments that were influencing the political landscape. And just like our own little Dynamic Trio here, these two kids were always looking to see who cited them, inordenantly pleased when their verbiage shows up on the "prestige nets."
I see life imitate art. In fact, Card's work is cited in a scholarly paper entitled, "'I'm Blogging This, A Closer Look at Why People Blog," written by Bonnie A. Nardi, Diane J. Schiano, Michelle Gumbrecht, Luke Swartz.
So, back to the original question: why have a personal page?
I think having a personal web presence and blogging goes much deeper than all of this. I think all of these individual pages, blogs, profiles and sites, as they increase exponentially in number, signal the collapse of the current structure of our society.
As we see web pages--be they LinkedIn or Face Book profiles--become ubiquitous, we are witnessing the devolution of public relations. Traditional channels of media are more fractured than ever more, turning to individual blogs, twitters and YouTube for breaking news. Future thought leaders and visionaries are emerging from the blogosphere, identifying trends, busting through social barriers and creating new business models.
When the web truly becomes integrated into our way of life, it is going to literally, break down all the walls.
Think about it. Why would we need schools anymore? We could "virtually" eliminate property taxes if all schools went online.
Why have a work force go to work? It would eliminate commutes. Talk about saving gas money; the only people who would have to drive would be ... who? Doctors? Sales people? But then, in true Obi-One-Kanobe fashion, there are always holograms . . . I can just see Judge Judy's avatar now . . .
It would wreak havoc with the internal revenue system, tho. Until Congress and Senate realized that they could work from home . . . in their p.j.s. Then that would be the end of that.
So what exactly are we waiting for?
"The many truths we cling to depend greatly on our point of view." -- Obi-One-Kanobe

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lisa,

I appreciate and share in your enthusiasm for technology and the internets. A few items for you to consider:

- The breakdown of traditional media has both positives and negatives. While blogs and twitters offer a much needed break in the strangehold that traditional media had previously, the quality of information on blogs, twitters and webpages varies depending upon the source. Overall, the same journalistic integrity does not go into twitters or blog posts that goes into traditional news sources such as NYtimes, Wash Post, etc. Yes, there is value there, but far, far, far too many times I have run into people who believe everything they read on a blog.

- Virtual schools do not offer the real-time exchange in ideas that real-world schools do. Anyone who has ever taken an online course knows the high level of self-discipline required to make the class work. Do people have that kind of self-discipline? How about 6-8 hours worth per day?

- Working from home generally has negative implications for productivity. Again, there are positives in energy savings, reduced rents, more flexibility, but there are also negatives in freeloading, additional management, and the fact that many jobs just don't lend themselves to working from home.

Lisa Salazar said...

Spoken like a true lawyer ;)

I think that we must allow for future developments in safeguards, online, real-time interaction and web tracking. The future holds continued growthin all of these areas.

Virtual Schools: there will come a time when we will be able to hold online sessions in tandem. I mean, look at video-conferencing or web conferencing now. We are just a few steps away from a class room atmosphere.

Virtual Offices: I compare the virtual workforce to travelling salesmen. If you have a quota of work that is due on a timed basis, what difference does it make where you are at? Granted, the some jobs don't lend themselves to virtuality but most information jobs do--there are already online therapists, online worship, online retail, online lawyers, online whatever.

We must think beyond the here and now and look towards our future . . .

 

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