We have been socialized, but not civilized. This is not a rant about rudeness on the internet, those have been many and not far between. It is a comment on how connectivity does not lead to a necessarily enriched human experience. The big changes occurring in the world are not online, online life is a virtual world of sharing opinions and data (text,video,pictures) but not intimacy. I have largely left Facebook because of that. I have reconnected with old classmates and friends, but wasn't that the vision of Classmates.com 10 plus years back? I think if I really wanted to reconnect with old friends I would call them.
The virtual world is not accelerating, it is virtually(no pun intended) where it was 10 years ago with more computing power thrown in. It is still a shadow of reality, where every soul has a valid opinion on anything that they choose. It is no accident with the more socially connected we become the lonelier we become. People need to hear, see, smell and touch to communicate and develop deep relationships. The world as it exists now has plenty of one-dimensional communication, that contains some meaningful information but that has no nuance to it. How many times have you had to reread an email or text to figure out what someone "actually" meant.
We are communicating in ways that, we have not been evolved to handle. Our brains looks for queues, subtleties without them we are uncertain. This uncertainty leads to stress for both the receiver and transmitter of information, so we reduce the complexity and fullness of information to reduce stress. This reduces the depth of an interaction and diminishes the relationship. The other response is to throw caution to the wind, and assume that the receiver knows you well enough to know what you meant. This often diminishes a relationship too.
Until communication becomes multidimensional online, we may be more social but not more civilized.
There has recently been talk about how the start-up world is in a bubble. As can be imagined opinions vary widely, and unless there is a crash in valuations of start-ups we cannot really be sure there is a bubble. Bubbles can only be defined after they burst. What can be said is that we are in a time of start-up mania, entrepreneurs and the guys on the street all dream about being the next Instagram. The climate is very similar to people telling me to invest in AOL and Netscape fifteen years ago.
How things are similar is the way things are valued. When the Internet Bubble was expanding in the early 2000's it was all about page views, not actions, not purchases but about page views. Page views were the bees knees since the primary model of revenue was display advertising. The days of getting $50 per thousand banner displays were a heady thing, analytic software really didn't exist and people really did surf, unlike now where the spend there online time in self-constructed silos of social media and blogs. The new yet similar way things are being valued is the app download metric.
Companies send out press releases as to how many people have downloaded their app. Again, it is all about real estate not how the real estate is being used. It is a strange model when potential is worth more than real earnings, and risk is downplayed. We also never hear about daily usage, we just hear about registered users and downloads. I want to know how many minutes a day an app is used by a user, and what kind of media is consumed and what is purchased. One million installs of an app means nothing if it is only used for 10 minutes a day by 20,000 users.