Personal Immediacy 2.0

by Marianne Richmond on February 21, 2007

The other night, on a Skype chat with Chris Saad and Toby Bloomberg, we reached a point in discussing an issue where we needed input on a specific point..Chris immediately said, "Let me see if he is on Skype and we can add him to the discussion."

OK, well no big deal you say? We do this all the time….yes, I know and isn’t that amazing. It made me think of one of my favorite movie scenes from Woody Allen’s Annie Hall, made in 1977.

A man is pontificating in a movie line about Marshall McLuhan to Woody Allen’s annoyance. Allen tells the man he doesn’t know what he is talking about, the man says that he teaches a class in Media and Culture and is an authority on McLuhan.

Allen says, "Oh that’s funny because I happen to have Mr. McLuhan right here." McLuhan appears in the theater lobby and sets the man straight. Allen says to the screen, "Boy if life were only like this."

Life is like this now…we can access ideas and people instanteously. We can find, organize, and access information and communicate directly and immediately with the source of the information. We provide each other with contact information that transcends physical proximity….Skype, Twitter, Facebook; Stowe Boyd says, "The Buddylist is the center of the universe."

It was of course Marshall McLuhan who advanced the idea that the "medium is the message" and who used the term "global village" that describes electronic connectivity in his writing in the 1960s.

When McLuhan wrote the Medium is the Message, it was a misunderstood concept and believed to mean that he was forcasting a time when the channel would be more important than the content. Those closest to him explain that his "message" is "the change of the scale or pace or pattern" that innovation introduces into the way people interact, think and behave.

"’The medium is the message’ is simply the environment created by any new innovation, any new technology, was the thing that changed people, not the technology."

Much is written about access to information and personal connectivity in Web2.0. We have aggregators and are now using applications like Touchstone that use attention data to filter this more quitely into personal relevancy.

The part about being able to just pull someone into a conversation, regardless of time or place, to get an immediate answer to something is becoming one of those changes enabled by technology; in the global village, life is just like this.

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