I thought about tweeting a condolence. I could possibly chime in on the debate regarding hate speech and Sarah Palin’s role in all of this. Or maybe I’d offer a contrarian view about the pace at which each of us seems to achieve a level of certainty on any given topic. I’ve got to tweet something, right? This is what we do. Read, react, repeat. Sure, I had only known who Gabrielle Giffords was for about twenty minutes, but why should having no background on a topic and knowing almost none of the details about an event prevent me from serving up a concrete viewpoint? - Dave Pell @ Tweetage WastelandHe makes a good point. It isn't new, but it is important to remember. The more that sharing becomes prestigious and the more we learn to value ourselves based on any kind of metric of viewership the more urgent the desire to share becomes.
Keep in mind that our ability to process and introspect doesn't change with this urgency, only our need to share whatever processing and introspection we do. I've been thinking a lot about how to teach my 3yr old about delay of gratification. I know that's expecting a lot, today 30 yr old people have trouble with delaying gratification. Still, if we don't figure it out, we become slaves to our urgent need to share. We will only do whatever minor processing and introspection is necessary to create the least amount of novelty that we can justify sharing.
As this plays out long term we are reducing our role as living thinking human beings to a more limited role as only part of the 'thinking' experience. We each become a cog in a larger thinking machine in which each person performs only a very basic level of processing and it is only through our collective networking that the thinking machine can arrive at actual fully digested thoughts. We are becoming less significant, just one neuron in a larger global brain. (It sounds so b-movie sci-fi but that doesn't make it not true.)