Jan 30, 2011
The other day I was lucky enough to catch the premier of Life in a Day on YouTube. I had not heard of the project previously, but was intrigued when I learned about it. On July 24, 2010 people all over the world were asked to film themselves and submit their day to YouTube. They thought they might get 15,000 submissions but got over 80,000.
The film premiered at Sundance on Thursday night, and they streamed it live on YouTube. I happened to be online at just the right time to watch, so while I pretended to give my full attention the World of Warcraft raid I was a part of I actually spent most of the time watching this on my second monitor.
I was really impressed by how many people submitted to this project. It is truly amazing. There was such diversity in the people who got involved. I think they said people from 192 countries contributed. I was honestly surprised by the wide range of people. For some reason when I think of YouTube “culture” I think of young adults and teens, but these people were of all ages, and cultures, and belief systems.
I feel like nowadays its so common to see conflict, and disagreement in the world. It’s all over tv and the internet. This is one of the first things I’ve seen in a long time where people strove to be part of global community and share their lives with others honestly. It was amazing to watch.
I think one of the things that struck me the most was during the Q&A after the movie. The creators said that they actually had difficulty finding clips that were dark or sad. It’s amazing that that much hope and happiness exists in the world when we rarely hear about it.
This is a very cool project and I recommend that people see it when it finally comes out in theaters or on dvd. Of course I completely realize that this type of film isn’t for everyone.
P.S. I wrote this on my phone so don’t be too offended if there are spelling and grammar mistakes. 🙂
Jan 17, 2011
Back to my morning. As I was reading through my book, I thought about how I wish I could concentrate better. So I Googled meditation. I browsed through a couple pages. I went back to my book. I thought about how this technological world might have an effect on concentration and put too much emphasis on multitasking. I Googled that too. I didn’t come up with anything good immediately, other than one lady in a British publication saying that technology is creating a crisis with our brains. I went back to my book again. Then I decided that might make a good blog topic, so I went to my email so I could start writing and email it to myself for later. But first I had to look at that American Eagle sale that I know I should ignore.
A lot of people say they are easily distracted by shiny things. My shiny things are apparently the thoughts in my head, aggravated by the fact that 90% of the time I have a computer within reach so I can search, play, email, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I love having information at my fingertips whenever I want it. But I have to wonder if it has an effect on my ability to focus.
I’m sure anyone can relate when I say sometimes I sit down to do one thing and 45 minutes later I can’t remember what that was but I’ve learned about origin of the phrase “blond bombshell” (1933, describing Jean Harlow in her film the Bombshell), and seen how many adorable rabbits were for sale on the local classifieds page (too many and I want them all). My husband makes fun of me for constantly having 10 or more tabs open in my browser at all times (hey, I don’t want to forget something I was doing).
Its interesting to think about the effect that technology and the digital world has on how we function. One great place to look is at the differences between what are being referred to as digital immigrants and digital natives. Digital natives are those born during or after the real introduction of digital technology to the mainstream, whereas immigrants are those born before who have taken it up, you might say. This is everything from the internet, to cell phones, to video games. I think that people my age are really some of the first to be squarely in that native category.
Even so I can’t help but compare to kids born later. My first real experience with computers was when I was 8, I owned one when I was 13 or 14. Essentially I grew up with it, as it was growing up too. But I learned to use the internet in 7th grade. I look at my nieces today, and they have never lived without it. They don’t even live in a family that is tech-centric. Their mother (my sister) barely uses the computer, but my nieces know how to get around. I have to wonder what my children will be like growing up in a house where we have three computers (for two of us, yes), and we use them all the time.
I don’t need to delve into it all, but for an interesting read check out Marc Prensky’s “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants” Part 1 and Part 2. It’s a little old but it illustrates the differences really well. One thing he brings up is the fact that my generation is used to getting information and communication instantly. I started using instant messengers in middle school. TV without a built in schedule to browse drives me crazy. I use the internet on my smart phone to settle arguments about word usage with my husband while we’re driving to get dinner. Technology is in every part of my life. And I take advantage of it.
It seems that my concentration problem is both aggravated and relieved by the technology I use. I have to admit though, my smart phone makes everything so convenient that the thought of leaving it behind for two weeks in May makes me a little sad.