Social Networking Blog

Guy Clapperton on the evolving new media

Digital v. real world – a pointless distinction

A server used for the My Home
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Great blog piece here on the difference between the real world and the digital world. I’m delighted to draw people’s attention to this sort of good sense.

It’s now a few years since I was at a wedding and mentioned to a friend that I’d got some really good advice from the Internet on dog care – basically (if you’re remotely interested and let’s be honest, there’s no reason you should be) my dog’s nose wasn’t cold and wet and I found through the wonders of technology that it didn’t need to be. The friend – older than me – was appalled I’d take the word of a machine.

On a different note, a friend of a friend – no, really – has had marital problems because their partner became involved with someone on Second Life. This, everyone thought, was crazy because it wasn’t ‘real’.

The thing is, digital media is no less real because it’s digital – it’s just another way of expressing yourself. My experience with the dog wasn’t me believing a machine, it was an example of someone finding another expert through a machine – much as you might do with the phone. The marital thing was a bit different; neither of the participants could see their ‘real’ selves, of course; what they could certainly see was that things weren’t good at home so they found another outlet. Nobody is going to tell me that marriage was working before someone started playing this game.

There will be more of this and we’ll find out more about how we interact in this altered world. Our experience is an evolving reality and always has been. When Concorde was invented our reality took on a supersonic dimension if we could afford it; when the telephone was invented and later television our reality gained a mass communications dimension, and now, big wow (or not), it’s taken on a digital dimension in addition to the rest as well.

But digital being outside of reality? You’re kidding.

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April 2, 2009 - Posted by | social media trends | , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Good point – saying that the digital isn’t ‘real’ is a bit like being surprised that a book made you cry, because ‘it’s just ink on paper’.

    I’m sure that the cavemen had the same problem when they developed language and realised that a stern word could be just as effective as thumping someone with their Fred Flintstone club. Age-old principles recycled.

    Comment by Christian | April 2, 2009

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