A Phone, Yes. But Smart...?


Those of you who follow me like hawks on Twitter (the many, many people who are all up in my @AcroRaven junk) know that I found a convenient excuse to make the plunge into so-called smart-phone territory. I coyly tweeted from the purchase, "no, not THAT smartphone," thereby piquing the curiosity of the entire nation. Well, Nation (I will someday be Colbert's body double), peek at this. That's what I done and got myself. And so far, I'm pretty happy about it.

Ironically enough, it's actually a much better phone-phone than the last I had. The sound quality's better, the overall ergonomics: entirely better. So I feel non-silly about that. And I have to admit that the purchase has me on some much better habits of communication so far. Something about being alerted to incoming emails keeps me vigilant about sending them back out, and that leads to better communication and more things getting done. It also lends itself to more things being on my plate at a time, of course, but that's rather what I was asking for when I joined this technological demographic, idn't it? That and, naturally, endless Sudoku puzzles.

Friend Sarah and I have occasionally exchanged emails about a collaborative theatre project that addresses information and communication technologies and what effects they've had on our behavior. The irony of this is that Sarah lives in San Diego, and frankly the only reason we can begin to contemplate such a collaboration is because of the devices that have developed in the past five years for exactly this type of communication. I have a rather love/hate relationship with the new forms, particularly with regard to how they've influenced theatre, but there's no escaping their relevance. We can outright deny them, sure, and there's value in that approach, but frankly I'm enamored of them all. The prospects of Google Wave are exciting to me, I must confess. Would I rather sit in the same room as people, read their faces and experience their energy (or be aware of a lack of it) first hand? Yes, a thousand times. Yet I also get a charge out of being connected to friends and collaborators in Pennsylvania, California and the United Kingdom.

Now I am a giant leap closer to being entirely plugged in to the "ambient awareness" of which so many write. I can let anyone who may be listening know where I am and what I'm doing in great detail at the very moment of my existence. I've done a bit of this, but frankly, I can;t keep up the way others do. If I tweeted and Facebooked-it as much as others, I'm not sure I'd actually be accomplishing anything else. Yet many do, and I suppose I envy them a bit. perhaps I'll get better at this whole thing with time, but I'm not certain that I want to get better at it. I rather like having this many choices about how I communicate with folks, but the choice itself is defeated if it gets to the point at which I'm serving the mode, rather than the mode serving me. So in spite of my recent acquisition, people will still be hearing from me in person quite a bit. In fact, I rather miss the days when it was a little more socially acceptable to show up at a friend's door. Now such a surprise would be considered rather creepy by all sorts of otherwise friendly and open people.

I know someone who had this advice for his child upon her moving to New York: YCNYDLNYCY. That translates into, "You change New York; don't let New York change you." (I wonder if he ever sent this advice via text?) It's a fairly inspiring bit of caring wisdom, and can easily be applied to all sorts of information-technology applications. (I'm tempted to type YCHTMLDLHTMLCY [and so I have] but I don't really know what I'd be saying with it.) It's impossible to deny, however, that the relationships in any case are utterly reciprocal, if not nigh symbiotic. We can't change anything without it changing us right back, and we're not adrift in a world that is rapidly dehumanizing us, nor one that is creating splendid multi-cultural interconnectedness, either. As thinking, feeling, viscerally connected creatures, we are engaged in this dialogue and responsible for every aspect of it. I embrace that, to my modest capability, and with a little luck it will help me to create with a little more truth, a little more connection.

K thx bai.
 
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