I won’t go as far as blacking out the entire world and seeing what type of person rises up to take control. I will however, using the powers given to me by this Business, Government, & Society class, turn off all phone and internet communications, forever. Imagine. Continue reading
Sorry it’s taken me so long to put a prompt together, but I encountered some serious delays when I couldn’t think of a good portmanteau involving the word “facebook.”
Anyways, one of my biggest interests is in human communication, and how technology has affected that. So for this week’s prompt, I’m actually gonna ask you to get creative- really approach this with an open mind, and think about potential implications.
For this week’s post, pick a major means of communication (i.e. Facebook, Google, smartphones, email, snail mail, carrier pigeons etc.) that has had a significant impact on the ways in which we interact, and write about what you would think would happen if it stopped working on little to no notice. For example, how has the ability to look up stocks at any time from anywhere impacted the financial industry? What if people suddenly couldn’t do it? Or, if hackers took control of all of Google’s services, what’s the worst thing they could do (remember, Google does much more than web searching, so “using Bing” doesn’t cover all of it)?
Basically though, I really want you to have fun with it, and it doesn’t have to be all good/bad- this post isn’t meant to only be cautionary about our reliance on new things….
Recipe for Apocalypse
- Pick a communications technology
- Obliterate it (metaphorically, not literally)
- Imagine the horror and/or adaptability that ensues
- Get an agent and contact NBC.
“We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us”
“We do not call on the smartphone; it calls upon us”
- A Positive Rant About Google – Haters Gonna Hate, But Not Me. (digitalhighrise.com)
- The RSS Apocalypse (corte.si)
- Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse (teepee12.com)
I’m not gonna lie, but upon reading the prompt for this week, my first thought was that I had to write about Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his Hit RECord collaborative company, but the more I thought about it, the less it worked. Maybe one day I’ll get to write about it.
So I read the list again, and was back on the thought train as soon as I saw Neil Gaiman’s name. For those who don’t know, Gaiman is the author of many novels, comics, and screenplays, including American Gods, Coraline, Stardust, and the best-selling Sandman series. Besides his incredible ability to construct sentences (his prose is generally astounding), he’s married to musician Amanda Palmer, formerly of the Dresden Dolls.
All that being said, I doubt that many people at Bucknell have read a large amount of his work, so here’s why he’s my pick for Interesting Person: he’s incredibly thoughtful, and he’s been around for awhile. As an author whose first professional publication was in 1984, Gaiman is in a fairly unique position- he achieved his first success shortly before the Internet came along to change the way that we consume media. Now, there are a great many people in that position; that’s why people like to say that the music industry is –oh, the melodrama- collapsing.
However, Gaiman is known for taking familiar story elements within genres and deconstructing them to make a whole new type of story- one that feels familiar, but continually has the reader looking for pieces. That same critical eye has led him to adopt technology in sporadic, creative ways (he once got bored so he started writing poetry on twitter, and it was GOOD). It seems like a topic that’s played out, but his understanding of the publishing industry and the fact that he was able to take risks brings a refreshing take on a similar tale of artists getting used to the Internet. He says it best himself, as he summarized what it’s been like:
Also interesting is how willing he is to push the boundaries of the relationships between the different media that he’s involved in- for example, he and his musician wife recently funded a tour together using kickstarter, to perform old and new material as a combination of music, poetry, spoken word, and “crowdsourced” musicians.
On the amount of fact and fiction in his work:
“I’ve never been convinced that there’s such a wonderfully clear-cut dichotomy between the two things. When you start writing, you’re in a profession which involves making stuff up and inventing things. You’re making up people, you’re making up places, you’re talking about things that manifestly aren’t true… and if you’re doing it right, you’re using all of these fictions… to say true things.”
First and foremost, Gaiman is an author, but after that, he comes across as a true lover of culture. Watching him discuss pop culture and communication is fascinating because, at his core, it’s actually his passion. His success comes from his ability to understand how people work, and how they interact with media.
One more quick clip:
If you have the hour to watch his incredibly inspiration graduation speech, I promise that it’s worth your time.