Saturday, July 31, 2010

War and Peace

Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace has 1,225 pages. How many Twitter users do you think would read 1,225 pages?

Not that they would not read because they would be bored, but since Lev Tolstoy died in 1910, their grey matter must have evolved in such a way that its software perhaps lost ability to appreciate 1,225 pages of a masterpiece.

The other day on TV I watched a young man camping overnight (literally with a tent) outside Apple Store at George Street. He looked like a crack addict as journalists interviewed him. He wanted to be the first man to buy the newest generation of iPhone 4GS that is known to have a faulty antenna design.

A friend of mine sent me a web site link called The site advertises itself as:
“Ignite is a geek event in over 100 cities worldwide. At the events Ignite presenters share their personal and professional passions, using 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds for a total of just five minutes.”

I watched one of the videos. A Chinese-American girl trembling with anxiety for catching up the five minute deadline, dropped her text on the floor, talked like a puppet, a soulless speech filled with statistics, uninteresting and torturous. She looked like a biology lab mouse trapped inside a labyrinth.

All these show one thing.

We became gadget-obsessed anxiety-driven freaks and our urban society is running on a short attention span culture.

Just about everybody, every hardware device, and every software on the Internet is desperately trying to grab the shortest possible time span dedicated to comprehension and expression.

Mobile phone became anything but a phone. It is now a complex device designed to shorten your attention span.

It beeps, it vibrates, it rings, it animates, it flashes, it scrolls, it plays. Ah yes occasionally people talk with it.

If texting or gaming is not enough we tweet, or re-tweet, or 'like', or follow, or stop following, or post a url, or post a YouTube link, or change security settings, or read RSS feed summaries , or email on GMail, or forward an email, or reply an email, or subscribe or register to a web site with a user name and password, or search Google, or search Google Images, or search Google News, or, or, ... Oh hell! I am tired.

I don’t even think anyone would be reading this blog post (not that I care), it is too long.

We look like hyper active monkeys trapped behind zoo walls desperately anxious and hopelessly discontent.

I think I am going to buy a thick book and read it. It may as well be Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace.