Computers = ? • 9 April 2007 • The SnowBlog
Computers = ?
A phrase I read over at Salt sparked a thought in my excitable head. Chris was talking about bookstores and the Internet, and he referred to: "...gossip, recommendation, eclecticism and relationships. The stuff the internet is rather good at." That sort of struck me: the Internet being a good place for gossip and relationships. I've thought so for a long while, but how long? When did I stop seeing it as just a big telecommunications network? And how many other people still haven't get their heads around that idea, because the Internet is built from computers, and computers are 'soulless' or 'cold' or, you know, those other things that wary people say about machines? If you read much evolutionary psychology you'll know that humans can't help thinking that everything has an essence, some inner character that shines through, and which is normally immutable. I wonder how many of us unconsciously ascribe to the Internet an essence. And I wonder if, by consensus, we're seeing it change. People who only saw the computers before, maybe now see the arguments and personalities, the friendships and grudges, the personal stories and the hidden agendas. Blogs and the comments on them have re-decorated corners of the web and made them cosy. Sometimes geography or the people you find yourself in a room with determines who you hang out with, and sometimes you'd prefer it didn't. Would Scott from TFP, Chris from Salt and Mark from the Book Depository natter about the future of the book store in the offline world? I doubt it - and certainly not in their spare moments - it would have to be some scheduled meeting or seminar. That's to say, it would have to be somewhere formal, like the real world, instead of somewhere informal, like the Internet. So my question: when did the web take its shoes off and get so comfy?