This morning, EG called out from the living room.
“I can react to things now.”
“Is it a long-press?” I said.
“I just hover,” she said.
“Oh, right,” I said. “Probably a long-press on mobile.”
This does not seem like a conversation from the future, and while technically forevermore it will be a conversation from the past, it reminded me of how one way to write about the future is to write about how technology changes the world, and another way to write about the future is to write about how it changes breakfast conversation.
On Medium, you can read this post from Facebook Design about reactions. Much like watching The Social Network in 2011 in Korea, it’s fascinating to consider how much Facebook, much like NBC’s one-time Must-See-TV Thursday, has become a collective cultural experiences. Both happen within, more or less, the same sort of virtual space, except what happens on Facebook isn’t exactly a story–there’s no change in the relations of characters, no reveal about Ross’ new wife, so much as a change in the way we tell stories with each other, or, as in this case, with the simply way we react to the stories we tell each other.
And this is what feels like the future. The sense that changes to our virtual reality become changes in our reality reality. Changes that we all notice, and which, whether we think much about it or not, speak so loudly to the assumptions being made on our behalf, assumptions that define what’s best, or as is often the case, what’s both best and most *convenient*, for our relations with one another.
And maybe that’s what feels like the future, too. Media has always shaped us. Buster Keaton, a very long time ago, included in his film a scene in which, after seeing a dashing young man kiss his dashing companion, Buster Keaton performs the same kiss with his dashing companion. Books. Television. Newspapers. Cameras. Pen. Paper. Everyway that we relate to the world, and each other, changes how we relate to the world and each other.
And, for a very long time, giant companies played a larger and larger role in the stories we consumed, and the manner in which we consumed them, and so shaped more and more of how a lot of people saw the world.
What’s different now is that giant companies (Facebook, Uber, AirBnB), our playing larger and larger roles not in how we consume stories, but in how we share our stories with each other. This is not particularly good, or bad, so much as the future of our present.
And it’s only going to get more futuristic.
I would say one thing, though. You could call it advice. Or hope. Or the first inklings of, “Kids these days…”
I don’t know.
But here’s what I’m reminding myself today.
Don’t forget to live outside of what others have created for you.
And here’s what I’m wondering, though, which is if that’s even possible. Considering our languages, our cultures, have been created by everyone that came before.
I suppose, though, that whatever has been created, has been created by people like us. And there’s no reason we can’t keep making things up as we go along, like everyone else has, or ever will.
Happy reacting to things, readers.