I live my life online as do many of you, and lately I have been frustrated by how hard it is to leave the virtual world and find the physical items that I need to do business with someone.
I mean, who has the time anymore? What with all the hours spent creating fake MySpace celebrity pages and linking them to my real accounts, setting up new SecondLife virtual businesses, sending IMs to all my far-flung correspondents, Skyping colleagues to keep up to date on what they are doing around the world, updating my LinkedIn profile and writing endorsements for others, reading my group email postings, downloading free music to play on my iPod so I don’t have to talk to people as I am walking down the street, and checking out the latest overnight rankings on various game servers to track my progress, is there any time left to just live your life in what used to be so quaintly called meatspace anymore? Who needs meatspace when there is all this meet-space, anyway?
Remember that cell phone service that tells you when you are in the vicinity of your friends? It seems so odd now. Why bother going out, when you have all your broadband at home? And when I am out, I find myself looking around to figure out where I can get connected. This is the beginning sign of addiction.
Is it any wonder that we can’t carry on a real f2f convo anymore? (And how many of you had to stop and decode that last sentence. LOL) At least we are all becoming excellent touch typists. I guess that is one skill that has shown improvement across all demographics. That is, if you can take the time to type out the entire sentence and not abbreviate it as I just did.
And I didn’t even mention updating all of my blogs and creating podcasts, sending out these email updates to my mailing list, maintaining the mailing list and associated Web sites, and doing my usual round of online backups too. Isn’t it nice that we all these systems to make us more productive? How about spending some time creating actual content, rather than all this babysitting our data?
It is great that we can Google anything anyone anytime, and research their college indiscretions (lucky for moi Al Gore hadn’t invented the Internet yet when I was that age), but try finding a postal address, a phone number, or a contact name on the average Web site nowadays. Or how about trying to find any indication of the company you are surfing has actually been in business, or is still in business. It hasn’t gotten any easier to get these mundane pieces of information, with phishing emails and hijacked URLs. (Have you all gotten the latest batch of Paypal messages saying that money has been deposited to your account? Don’t open those. )
This just proves my point: we all live in the virtual world, and concentrate our energies on the screen instead of each other. So gather up your individual laptops, sit on the couch with the TV on and with a few IM sessions open, and don’t forget to grab your cell phones in case someone wants to call you. On the other hand, it has gotten easier to screen my phone calls — the only people that call my wired home line these days are selling me something, or wrong numbers.
Ok, I gotta go post this email and get back to doing some real work for my clients.
David Strom is a noted speaker, author, podcaster and consultant who has written two books and thousands of magazine articles for dozens of IT publications such as Computerworld, eWeek, Information Week and Network Computing. His blog can be found at http://strominator.com , and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org