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Getting personal online

August 2, 2006 | In Social, Tech

In this day of SMS, blogs, mobile phones, Video conferencing and all of the other recently new communication technologies, are we loosing our personality through technology? Perhaps we’re finding it easier to communicate, and express our opinions, but only at the loss of our own personality with others balanced against the gain of being able to communicate to people across the globe without leaving our own confort zone. There are several signs that this is true, and already progressing at a rapid rate.
In the fast moving Web 2.0 space, social websites like MySpace, Flickr and Del.ico.us are pushing the boundries of spreading our lives to the rest of the world. But recently, a battle has arisen between social bookmarking sites, Digg.com and Netscape.com. Netscape, back in the 1990’s, was one of the leading Internet browsers, but has since been bought by AOL/Time Warner and has been suffering from lagging behind in the fast moving web market. In a bid to get back on track, Netscape.com has been turned into a news portal, and has basically copied Digg.com in its basic structure where people vote for their favourite user-submitted stories. This has sparked an interesting debate between Digg co-founder Kevin Rose and Netscape.com head Jason Calacanis.
What has interested me most about this battle, is not the fact that Calacanis is going to try and get the top story submitters from Digg (and other similar websites) to post on Netscape.com in return for a $1000/month pay check to raise Netscape’s profile and level of incoming news, but the personal battle between the two heads of the companies. Calacanis and Rose have both spoke quite vocally on the issue on their blogs (see the links above), but I wonder if any phone calls have been made. It seems that both of these, quite intelligent, men, are just trying to win people over to their side of the virtual battle ground, instead of sorting out their differences between them selves on a business level.
As with alot of these Web 2.0 technologies, anyone can see photos from my local churches Soccer teams game one the weekend on flickr, without having attended the game, find out who my friends are without even knowing anything about me on MySpace, or read what’s on my mind without having to speak with, or see me at all via my blog. Sure it’s great having the world know about me and my life, but I’d sure rather sit down and have a chat with some of these people to find out who they are as well.
I remember a year or so a go, a relationship I was in ended by a phone call as I was on the way to a trip to Melbourne. Before I got to ask any questions, my reception died and the conversation ended. My trip that week was rather spoilt by the fact that my partner at the time had taken one of the easier options that are avalible to our society today. We’re still friends now, but I was asking my self for weeks how that conversation would have ended had my reception not died mid sentence.
Is it really that hard for us, today, to sit down and talk problems out? Perhaps, in this new technological revoloution that we find our selves in, we’re just adjusting our habits and letting go of the day where we would discuss something over lunch and instead, just stay at the office and carry out a lunch watching each other via a video phone, or chatting via a messaging application.
At the end of the day, I really can’t talk. I blog, I use instant messaging, email and Skype quite reguarly, but all at what cost. Sure I can keep in contact with my friends now I’m living away from home, but perhaps it would be nicer just to visit them more often and let them ask some questions for a change.
-james

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