I am reading “You Are Not a Gadget” by Jaron Lanier, a tech philosopher, which asks questions about how technology influences human thought and behavior. I just finished reading "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson, which made me think more deeply about design and how it impacts an individual’s experience of a product. I have also been sewing costumes for about a week.
Reading Jobs led me to take more time and care in creating these costumes than, perhaps, I would have otherwise. I have chosen to turn it into an exercise in being more engaged in the act of creation (or in this case production), allowing myself as much time as needed to complete something, and allowing myself to stop when I was “finished” for that session rather than pushing to reach a particular stage of completion.
Today, now, I am thinking about Lanier’s assertion that the majority of internet and device users (people) have turned into “gadets”; parts of the internet that consume and repeat content, rather than create or produce new content. That is basically what FaceBook is; a platform where a few random bits of stuff are recombined into a funny picture or saying, and everyone who sees it “consumes” it and repeats it. Personal content is limited to what one is doing or something someone else said or pictures taken of an event, but this does not seem to be the majority of posts coming up in my newsfeed.
Which brings me back to “FaceBook killed my Blog”, something I have heard from a number of people, including myself. It is far simpler, faster, and more convenient to post a few lines or pictures on FB than it is to sit down and compose and post to our family blog. I woe of this fact, and promise myself I will get back into the habit of blogging our family history as it unfolds. I even take pictures that could contribute to a blog entry. But I never get around to writing any of these posts, and it has been months since I posted anything. I have become a consumer, rather than a producer, of the internet.
Which then brings me to this idea of a continuum:
Where on this continuum do I fall each day?
“Create something every day”. Or, at the very least, “Produce something every day”. Is that so hard? And, do my tech tools and devices support that?
My laptop certainly is not a seamless tool, as two of the keys are missing, it is infested with viruses and browser hacks that bog it down, and the battery life is that of a gnat. My digital camera (which I paid a lot for) is cumbersome, as I have to plug it into my inefficient laptop to download photos. I can now use my iPhone to take photos and post them directly to my blog, but then I still need to get on my laptop to type up written content. (I know, "bitch, bitch, bitch."). I think Steve Jobs was right in his insistence that tech products should support creativity for the user. But for now I’ll just have to fumble along with the inefficient tech stuff I have, and remain determined to revive our blog and create/produce new content on a regular basis.
Wish me luck ;)