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Lend me your mind's ear — communications and portals

Creators, travelling at the speed of light

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optoCommunications continue to hurtle forward.

At least, we’ve developed the capability to send data at 99.7% the speed of light, flying through previous speed and latency records.

In Digital at the speed of light: Who’s afraid of social media?, Social Media: A universe expanding at an incredible rate, and Social cosmology: Social media is creating its own multiverse, I blogged about how social is propelling us into the future. Social media, like any nascent technology, will have its successes and failures, but criticism sometimes misses the evolution in communication:

Speed.

It’s one big thing (there are others) that’s changed profoundly since the creation of the printing press.

Some criticize speed and new technologies. It’s good to consider where we’re going.

Will technology ever create us?

The way we live has always been impacted by disruptive technologies. Criticism of disruptive technologies is valid in that the pace of technological change is rampant and accelerating so fast that it’s almost impossible to know which tools will dominate in the long-term.

The long-term, the future, becomes the present. Social tools have already had tremendous impact. The future becomes the present faster and faster.

Some platforms will last and evolve even as they stake their claim for superiority, usefulness and usability. Criticizing technological change in communications is like criticizing the printing press. Necessary, but if we could jump hundreds of years into the future, the point might be moot.

The printing press was revolutionary. We know that. Every time I read a book, some kind of unconscious thanks travels from me to the ghost of Gutenburg and the ghosts of the Renaissance.

And men go about to wonder at the heights of the mountains, and the mighty waves of the sea, and the wide sweep of rivers, and the circuit of the ocean, and the revolution of the stars, but themselves they consider not.

— Petrarch

Will a David ever sculpt itself?

We know what the printing press enabled. Tools aren’t what we are as creators. Tools are what enable us to realize our ideas. But the ideas are ours. Michelangelo may have said that his sculptures were imprisoned in marble, but the hammer didn’t pick itself up and begin to do the David on its own.

The printing press was revolutionary. The exchange of information it enabled, equally revolutionary. Education, for the literate, was changed forever. Literacy continues to be of prime importance today. Literacy separated what people could achieve. Often, it still does.

Tools aren’t what we are as creators. Despite how much we sometimes grow to love them. We are still the creators of  ideas and content. Even if we are conduits, as some describe the experience of creation, even if the sculpture is there, imprisoned in marble, we, like Michelangelo, hold and guide the tools. We wield the tools and they enable us to work in different media, in different contexts.

We are the creators. Tools are an extension of us.

Like a paintbrush. Like a hammer. Like a keyboard.

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Written by johnrondina

March 28, 2013 at 4:05 pm

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