In recent email conversation with Susan Szenazy, editor in chief of Metropolis Magazine, my response to the question of whether or not our obsession with hand-held electronic devices are of pure detriment or serve some purpose in our society:
One could argue that history books used to be written from one subjective opinion and typically the powers that be, dominated the school of thought as was seen with the books that I was raised with that contained a very western and caucasion perspective. With today's technology our history continually lives, breathes, and stays with us. Our online documentation tools are going to change the very method of anthropology, where the most interesting stories, and most viewed as submitted from the general public rise to the top- it is the truest sense of democracy. In line with Barack Obama, it does actually make more sense to have this historical documentation created by a view from All as oppose to a view from One.
I believe our blips are our contributions to this historical documentation as seen with PBS Frontline who have been collecting images of people's experiences on inauguration day, or Ushahidi, Erik Hersmann's company that allows individuals to text message in what is going on in their area during a political or environmental disaster, CNN's ireport and many other forms of news and history making with contributions from everyday people. People are writing their own history and one does get the sense that these individual stories can make a difference and shape our perspectives of society.
From a personal standpoint, with my family all over the world, I find documenting a personal experience that allows me to stay connected with my loved ones. With a brother in Japan, a sister in Nepal, and my mother in Mexico- when I document something, it's so I can share my small everyday experiences with those that matter most to me and I choose to use Facebook as an interface for this. So to each person's own little world, these digital files play great importance.
But again there needs to be a balance and nothing replaces face time. Everything in moderation right? It's true that if we dive into the excesses of this digital world, we will become too far removed from the real one. John Maeda talks about this and how he sees RISD as positioning itself to bring people back to the material and physical world, that we cannot allow technology to dictate our actions but we must find a healthy equilibrium between the two.