links for 2010-02-28

  • "As Internet culture has grown, we’ve come to romanticize certain kinds of unmediated, old-fashioned “human” interactions. But this fantasy ignores how much of normal social interaction is fleeting, bite-size, instant, tweetlike. Humans have always talked to each other via a kind of analog Twitter. These new technologies just get us there with maximum efficiency. Meeting a new person is thrilling, in a primal way—your attention focuses completely, if only for a nanosecond, to see if the creature in front of you has the power to change your life for better or worse. ChatRoulette creates this moment over and over again; it privileges it over actual conversation. Eventually, I realized that clicking “next” was not so much a rejection as it was pure curiosity, like riding a train past an apartment building at night, looking briefly into as many lit windows as possible."

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