Ancient civilizations used scrolls to tell stories, document life, and communicate. The scroll was continuous, because the story had no end, and many cultures recognized there would be a continuing flow to the story. There was no final chapter. We scroll now, everyday.
“So who’s your web host?” I asked.
“We don’t have a host”
“Well, the files have to live somewhere.”
“The files are in cyberspace”
“Sure, they are… but you have actual files on a server”
“No, my people tell me it’s all in cyberspace floating around up there”
That’s an actual conversation I had in 1994, with a business owner, who needed a new website – and a course in internet access. His “people” must have had a cruel sense of humor. Every time I hear something about the ‘cloud’, I think of that conversation.
Now, files really are floating through cyberspace (cellular network) and land in the palm of your hand. We have become a device centric society, driven by instant access, instant notification, instant organization and instant prioritization of content. Made to scroll just for you.
The rise of the smartphone has affected human interaction. I stood in line with a thousand people at SXSW and everyone in line was looking down, with phone in hand not talking to anyone. It was really a sight to see. The rise of tablets has altered the use of printed media. My 8 year old was given an iPad to use for math and other projects. Log on and begin. Every search, every location, every interaction is monitored and logged – so you can be served ads that align with your story, your life. If you want to live in a self perfecting bubble, we’ve developed custom echo chambers.
So were are we going? What’s the end game?
Well, we manage, we sort, we contain, we scroll. There is no end. No end to notifications, no end updates, no end to constant data. And just like those ancient civilizations, we’re now documenting ourselves – updating and scrolling through our own life story minute by minute.