I am still trying to understand the new communication technologies. As I look back and forward, I come again to the constant in all communication. Technologies don’t talk. All communication happens between humans and humans. It is like the old philosophical conundrum: If a tree falls in the wood and nobody hears it, does it make a sound? The conundrum is easily solved if you define what you mean by sound. It certainly creates vibration. So it makes a sound in that sense. But these vibrations only become meaningful as sound when somebody’s brain interprets it.
When you add the human factor, you see that we are dealing with methods, not techie magic. The technologies are just facilitators. Anyway, I noticed a couple of good articles to supplement my understanding expressed in my first Facebook posting. The Economist had a short but good article called Primates on Facebook that said some of the same things as my post re the limited of human cognition. I didn’t know the source, but the limit of human interaction is called a Dunbar number, after an anthropologist who postulated that human face to face interaction can only go to around 150. Somebody wrote a blog post about that. It is more interesting than its title Extending Dunbar’s Number with the social web suggests.
My own experience – that Internet steals memory – is evidently a common occurrence. There was an interesting blog entry called Will Facebook ‘infantilize’ the human mind?
But there is good news for geezers as I read in Older People on the Internet. It makes sense. Old people have time on their hands, are unenthusiastic about strenuous exercise and often no place to go, so they already have the prime characteristics of Internet nerds. Large sections of the web will soon be big electronic geriatric wards. That brave old geezer world will be well developed just about the time I get there, how convenient. I also got my Twitter account. I like Twitter less, but I have been studying up on it. Pew Research has a good summary of Twiterati demographics and habits.