Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Technology is still all a blur

It's the fifth anniversary of the launch of Facebook. Isn't it also the 30th birthday of the Mac? How these things can go from obscurity to ubiquity that quickly has gone from breathtaking to commonplace. These things spread so fast that very soon you can't remember what life was like before they came along. At the same time you can't remember when they came along. I feel we need a new vocabulary to describe the effect such phenomena have on our memory.

My past life is marked out by academic years, the stages of the career of the Beatles, the arrival of punk rock, the ages of my children and the launches of magazines. I don't have a mental timeline that I can consult for the arrival of the mobile phone, the desktop computer, the internet or Facebook. As the snail said after he was mugged by the tortoise, "It all happened so fast."


  1. In real terms, Facebook marks the end of personal contact - invites to events, birthday cards, even condolences - they now all seem to arrive in the form of having a sheep thrown at you, or some such.
    Think back to the last time you got one of these correspondences in the mail - or, gasp - in person. There's your marker.

  2. I've only been Spotifying and Twittering for a month, and 2008 already seems like the Dark Ages.

  3. I am reading the Mitford sisters' letters at the mo. Writing to each other using pen and paper is just better. Where are you going to go to in 30 years to find your twitters when you need to write your memoirs? One lengthy power cut and we are going to lose the "written" history of the 21st Century.

  4. Absolutely right, Gunnerboy, that's a terrific book, I'm reading it right now too. It really makes me want to take up a pen for something other than my workaday journalism world.