Thursday, February 11, 2010


By and large, I would not consider myself a tech junkie, or even moderately knowledgeable on the subject matter . I do, however, think that is what makes me an appropriate voice to be heard regarding technology in one sense.

Ag-gre-ga-tion (a-gri-ˈgā-shən)
1. a group, body, or mass compose of many distinct parts or individuals
2. a) the collection of units or parts into a mass or whole; b) the condition of being so collected

Finally, it seems safe to say this beautiful little word has made its way into the conscience of technology, entertainment, and media developers alike as they continue to push the envelope of what they can do. For years now I, along with many others I presume, have dragged my feet through the relentless world of Facebook, YouTube, Smartphones, iPods, the birth of the digital short and consequently the explosion of such sites as Hulu (thank you MacBook in-browser spell-check, for reminding me that no, you do not recognize virtually any of the words I typed for this sentence. It's ironic right? I may have just listed the next few years' dictionary additions).
As an English major, I was certainly oriented against the world of the "jolt," as I sat in the next room thumbing through pages of Penguin Classics while my J-school and Marketing friends clicked through endless seconds-long clips of visual media.
It seemed like every new thing that came out was against its predecessor, separation being the key to success. Twitter was more immediate and useful than Facebook, Facebook was more comprehensive (and not as stupid) as Myspace, for example. The whole thing reminded me of Big Tree, a local favorite for Columbia, MO townies. As this tree grew, branches sprouted from the trunk, and new branches from those branches, and so forth. After decades, the leaves of these branches, from an outside perspective, all existed in the same general vicinity and yet seemingly had little or nothing to do with one another. And such is how I felt about all of these exclusive advances in technology. None of them offered enough in and of themselves to use on a daily basis.
In biology, however, we learned that even though we can pull a leaf or ten off an enormous tree, they are in fact all equally integrated and integral to a greater invisible system. Each leaf is responsible for absorbing nutrients that the tree then uses to support life.
So while I admit this revelation was majorly postponed due to my ignorance in the field of technological biology, I am still happy to see that the efforts to aggregate these otherwise disparate technologies and gizmos has finally taken precedence over simply feeding our societies need for wasting money (there are still exceptions, don't get me wrong).
This is all coming as a result of my recent crash course in RSS feeds, and how incredibly useful they are. I had been using one in the form of iGoogle for over a year, but never knew it. I have a smartphone for the first time because it no longer represents the fact that you can impractically check your email on your phone. You can use facebook and twitter and receive news blurbs and photos as they come, nearly instantaneously. This, finally, creates an appropriate niche for all of these things, as opposed to the embarassing hour and a half we all accidentally spend on them just before we go to bed, or during our "ten minute" study breaks. Seconds worth of information can now exist in the free seconds we have before more important details of our day, we don't have to manage them in some gluttonous display of media indulgence. So, in short, these things are finally falling into their own respective places; no glonger trying to be something they aren't, no longer replacing things they shouldn't, like real face time with people, art, books, learning, and other substantial, life-enriching things.
So here's to 2010, the year technology re-earns its usefulness. In celebration, let's all go buy a gigantic, impractical, unneccessary ipad.


  1. Okay. Your thesis makes more sense now. I'll bite, if only a little bit. /chomp

  2. Maybe I just don't like to admit to myself when I'm indulgent...But I don't feel embarrassed or guilty about the time I spend on Facebook, although I think for awhile I felt like I was supposed to or something. That sentiment is kind of in the air around us, it seems like.

    But our generation is at a point where our communities are spread through the entire world. The world isn't as small as it used to be--and I think that's a good thing. And I'm grateful to Facebook for giving us the opportunity to keep up with friends and family in ways that email and phone don't encourage as well. I don't have an iphone, i don't get updates instantaneously, but I spend a good amount of time every day on Facebook, absorbing the moods, quips, photos, news articles, etc. of people I love. I think it's pretty enriching.

    Any good thing can be perverted, and if we're obsessed with Facebook, we're in no better shape than if we're obsessed with anything else. I'm trying to figure out the relationship between gluttonous overindulgence and alienation from society, and why it's so caught up in the world of media. Are we compromising our relationships and general enrichment if we spend as much time reading the new yorker or watching Hitchcock films as we do on Facebook?

    I get the irony of depending on a machine to maintain relationships with humans, but I don't know...I guess I'm okay with it.

    I don't get the appeal of having an iphone with instantaneous updates. I feel like I'd always be checking my iphone when I should be enjoying my lunch or something. Why are the minutes before "important" details of the day less valuable than a condensed hour when we can better focus our energy throughout the day?

    Do I sound argumentative? I spent a lot of time thinking about this, and I appreciate the prompt.

    ALSO, heard you're getting married! (hm, via Facebook, I'm sure) congrats :)