Narcissystem: It’s Cool, But Too Much
There’s a definite trend towards using technology to further enable the “narcissystem” (awesome term). Recent evidence includes the explosive use of Twitter, Justin.TV, and now Ustream, duly noted by Mathew Ingram.
I’m excited to see this sort of technology used as an augmentation to news reporting, like say, by the “common folk” for breaking, current events. Tony Hung has a really good breakdown of how a technology like Twitter can be useful in certain situations and people.
The basic kernel of truth is that these technologies are very open-ended – it’s up to the users to figure out an ideal use is. Right now, I think we’re seeing a lot of early adopter and particularly narcissistic individuals experimenting with them, leading some to assume that they’re inherently egotistical technologies.
Still, I do feel my personal comfort level line has been crossed. Here are my personal reasons why this 24/7 jacked into the web is too much:
- Not into narcissistic content: Personal real-time broadcasting flirts very closely to the reality television trend, which I don’t care for – I never watched Big Brother or any of these shows where a camera follows Bobby Brown or the Osbournes around all day. So I feel even less desire to watch an average guy like Justin or some random blogger.
- I use technology as a filter: There’s just too much information out there, so I find I’m using technology increasingly to limit what comes at me. Many technologies I’m into, like the iPod with its ability to mix and match tracks, the iTunes Store allowing one to buy TV shows “ala carte,” Tivo, and Google Reader, are essentially filters. They move away from the real-time, broadcast model, and allow me to choose when and where I want to participate in said media in a dose I can handle. I enjoy having more control over the media I receive and in an odd way, these real-time technologies rather seem like a step backwards to the days where you had to be at a certain place and time and pay attention or you missed it (I suppose it’s just a matter of time, though, for someone to edit together the highlights of Justin.TV and post it to YouTube. Let me know when that happens).
- Editing: I find more and more I’m reading blogs that lean more towards traditional writing where there’s obviously a draft, editing, and massaging, before publishing. Maybe this writing process takes about five minutes, but it’s not real-time.
So yeah, this “narcissystem” publishing obviously has a lot of appeal to many, and it’s cool to see people exploring it, but I doubt I’ll be watching or participating in such experiments. We all draw the line somewhere in terms of privacy and media we want to participate, and I think this real-time broadcasting has crossed it as far as I’m concerned.