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Jaron Lanier, again.

I do like hearing what this man has to say.

In a recent article in the NewYorker:

At the South by Southwest Interactive conference, in Austin, in March of 2010, Lanier gave a talk, before which he asked his audience not to blog, text, or tweet while he was speaking. He later wrote that his message to the crowd had been: “If you listen first, and write later, then whatever you write will have had time to filter through your brain, and you’ll be in what you say. This is what makes you exist. If you are only a reflector of information, are you really there?”

The whole article is very worth reading but what this statement had me pondering was how when people or institutions respond to the demands for multiple streams for information and for feedback that covering the spectrum would favour less considered responses.

Its a given that we are all busier these days so if my response can be a note on facebook, a twitter, a comment on a blog, I might just go for the most immediate (that is move it out of my inbox now), even if it means losing some complexity. This has nothing to do with how smart I am or how thoughtful the original article/posting is but simply that the system is set up to encourage me to take the path of least resistance.

You could take this a step further and tie it in with the protocols now in place in reality television where the reaction shots and sound bites are weighted toward providing emotional rather than thoughtful responses. And perhaps these new communication systems which are built on the ideas of portability and speed are doing the same – moving the dialogue from idea-based to the easier exchange of emotional response.

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