Sunday, March 08, 2009

Our Most Basic Human Desires

Twitter co-founder and CEO Evan Williams was a recent guest on Charlie Rose. During the talk, Williams offers that the Internet has evolved over time to "more efficiently tap the most basic human desires." 
Among those desires, he says, "the desire to connect with other people socially is a big one." 

I'm not so sure what is social about sitting alone at a computer (see photo above). Even when people gather socially nowadays, often they feel the need to start showing each other videos and clips on youtube, pretty much grinding any genuine conversation to a halt. That ain't sociable!

As I get more entrenched in social networking and the phenomenon of social media, I actually feel like less of a social creature. I spend more hours per week than I care to sitting at my laptop and the computers at school. Poor time management is partly to blame. I really need to develop a system for how much time I spend online. But I also feel a lot of pressure to keep up with the onslaught of information that comes from Twitter, facebook, the blogs I follow, and email.

I can scarcely remember the period in my adult life when I didn't "need" to be in arm's reach of a computer all the time. I vaguely recall reading a lot more books, watching more movies (something I feel I haven't had the time to do much these days), playing more sports, going for more walks, hanging out with more friends, even talking on the phone more. It's all of these things that I miss and that I need to reconnect with. Information overload is really doing a number on me at the moment. With spring on its way, and school soon finished, I am determined not to let the Internet use me anymore. Time is too valuable. 

Twitter's Evan Williams on Charlie Rose:


kyozoku said...

Now THAT'S how you tell a McLean Stevenson joke. I agree with everything you've said here, and have been having these exact same thoughts over the last few weeks. It sickens me sometimes how I have a physical urge to turn my computer on the moment I wake up from sleep. I can't read a book or watch a movie all the way through without pausing to check my email or twitter account every little while. I also find that times moves much, much faster when I'm online than when I'm away from my computer. Well, I think you've done it - I'm cutting this bullshit umbilical cord for a while. You've inspired me to take steps...not sure what exactly, maybe limiting myself to half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening, something like that. Regardless, you're right: there's something anti-social and overwhelming about the Internet right now.

Ima Ventriloquist said...
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Ima Ventriloquist said...

Thanks so much for this post! There are days I really struggle with social networking - personally & what I see of others. One thing that has really been bothering me lately is how social media is causing people to take on these false personas where they are only projecting a certain image (mostly professional) and treating people as viable employers. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the artists out there who use it to connect with their fan base but for some people (not all), I feel like they just aren't being genuine. And for God's sakes, when we do meet up as friends, don't refer to our time together as a 'meeting'.

Going for coffee, picking up the phone or writing a letter is something that I resolve to do today. Thanks for reminding me, Steve. Great post!

jared said...

well put my friend, it's going to be tough for me to break away from all of these electronic conveniences, but once baby arrives, I am looking forward to some much needed downtime.

Skratch said...


Well put! Feeling the same way. Very over-whelmed. Want to do lunch next time i'm in the peg?

mambros said...

Steve sent me a link to this blog... while sitting four feet away from me.