Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Are we ourown multimedia conglomerates?

 By  S. Derrickson Moore
LAS CRUCES >> We all know the line: a wry remark that ended up being the mantra for a couple of generations.
“In the future, everybody will be world famous for 15 minutes,” Andy Warhol opined in the late 1960s.
The quote has become a cliché, but I think even the Pop Art prophet would be astounded at what has happened over the decades, as self-obsessed Baby Boomers, members of the Me Generation and Millennials have marinated their creative impulses in the fecund stew of social media and ever more ubiquitous technology.
To say we have created a monster would be a gross understatement. In fact, the monsters are not legions of people happy with their 15 minutes of fame. What we have are millions of individual multi-media conglomerates, many of whom seem determined to share their lives 24-7.
But what happens if we have a billion performers and no audience? Will we end up leading parallel, insular lives? Is U.S. Congressional deadlock an ominous harbinger of our logical societal end: multimedia sound and fury, signifying nothing and, in fact, preventing any significant communication and action?
I think about this. A lot. I’ve spent a lifetime helping people tell their stories and sharing some of my own via newspapers, magazines, books (fiction and non-fiction), TV shows, phone calls, conference calls, speeches, documentaries, plays, letters, brochures, public service announcements, movies, videos, songs, e-mails, photographs, paintings, sculptures, multimedia works, poems, libraries and cooperative networking, print and broadcast ads, multi-media blitzes, advertising and public relations campaigns.
I’ve done it all. Time constraints and deadlines are more involved in some of these forms of communication than others, but everything on that list has some things in common: thought, planning and preparation are required.
And now, social media has been added to the mandatory repertoire: Facebook, YouTube, blogs, (personal and professional, if anyone really knows the difference anymore), Skype, Twitter, Tout, Instagram and half a dozen other networks, apps and more. If the medium was once the message, immediacy seems to be the message, the raison d’etre, of contemporary social media.
I’m amazed that some social media addicts have time to live any sort of life between obsessive-compulsive updates on daily minutia and relaying cyber flotsam.
Can sharing chain mail or an image of a cute puppy compare with sharing a picnic in the park with your significant other, a ball game with your child, a walk with your actual puppy? Especially if screen time prevents you from any real face time and human interactions?
Can an online Poke, a Like or a Share ever have the same meaning as a heart-to-heart talk, a hug, a kiss? Can a text or a tweet ever replace the ability to have a real conversation?
In an era of what seems to be increasingly limited time and resources, and ever expanding technological options, is cyber outreach better than nothing?
Maybe. There are times when a quick Facebook check, a tweet or a Tout produce uplifting moments of connection with a long-lost friend. But mostly, it makes me wistful for time for a more satisfying connection: a visit, a long phone or Skype conversation.
I still cling to what might be a retro notion, that pondering, planning, research, creativity, editing and otherwise putting in some careful thought can make just about any form of communication more effective.
And I sense change in the wind. With a billion people starring in their own reality shows, if we want to have any real-time social interactions, we’ll have to become not just our own superstars, but also our own supereditors. We’ll have to decide how much time we want to spend expanding our own multimedia conglomerates, and how much time we want to devote to living and sharing — really living, really sharing — actual lives with others.
S. Derrickson Moore may be reached at dmoore @lcsun-news.com,at DerricksonMoore on Twitter, or call 575-541-5450.

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