Sunday, April 20, 2008

Tumblelogging and Social Connectivity

Sorry but this thought is going to be rambly and incomplete.

Do you really need to follow everything I'm not doing? The soda I didn't drink, the girl I didn't kiss, the jerk I didn't punch in the groin? It amazes me sometimes how much of ourselves we're willing to put on the Internet for free without consideration as to who may be watching or reading.

There are some persuasive and legitimate uses for free content online: short stories, articles, photography, work portfolios and the like. Posting such items online can improve someone's presence and further their artistic and business goals. But content that enters the social realm tends to reveal too much.

To me there's too much of life that veers toward the mundane that doesn't need to be shared with others. If there were insights to accompany it or some unexpected angle to these entries, then I would find it interesting and useful. But I don't need to follow every detail and object a person encounter in your life and online. Our thalamus edits the information that comes from our sensory organs for a reason.

Thankfully, people are using tumblelogging for artistic purposes or to maintain contact with like-minded friends and colleagues. It does seem to reveal the inner workings of people's minds, especially writers and those who work in mixed media.

But. The greater and greater convergence of the personal and public spheres online remains a nagging concern in my mind, like that buzzing feeling along my spine when something feels amiss. My main concern is that this information is gathered as a means for focused marketing (edit: it's behavorial targeting). For every great artistic and social experiment, there follows advertising and business. So far, business analysts have not seen much money to be made from sites like Tumblr or Twitter. But the adoption of these methods is still relatively young and few.


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