So technology has huge effects on society, and I think it’s pretty naive to take for granted that all the effects will be wonderful. One instance I’m still figuring out is Google. So you get a machine that sends you to an authoritative(?) source on any subject. So instead of having to wade through pools of useless information (called context in eras past), you get the bit you want and you get out. Also, instead of forcing people to congregate in their geological communities, it allows them the option to cocoon into ideological communities. The perils of perpetual entertainment are probably a tale for another post. Let me finish Infinite Jest first.
Enter twitter. What are all these journalists and politicians doing on twitter except for embracing a trend for trend’s sake? Not analyzing or sharing useful information, that’s for sure. At the risk of soundy geezerish at 23, I’ve never found anyone’s twitter page interesting or funny. I coming to a nuanced and valid conclusion regarding technology and culture requires doing a lot of social science that I haven’t done. But with my reading of the philosophy of language, I’ll render a verdict on twitter right here: language-use and thought are intimately connected. The logic of thinking and the grammar of writing/speaking are parallels, and if you take away the nuances of language, sophisticated thinking inevitably follows.