Rodney stares longingly out the grimy window of his second-story apartment at the orange glow of the slowly setting sun, reflecting on the day’s tasks and achievements, taking his last draw on a dying cigarette. He can feel his heart pounding violently within his chest as if trying to break free from the horrible darkness racing wildly through his veins. One final rush of hot blood to his face and the calm takes back over — he has a new MySpace friend request.
Rodney is fictional—his name has been changed to protect his innocence, or his guilt. What do you see when you look at MySpace? Pathetic people with too much free time and nothing better to do than to waste their life reading and posting frivolous content to a digital world rife with puerile adults and aspiring anti-socials? Or an altruistic society; a virtual utopia garnering limitless praise from its denizens, limited only by the bounds of the author’s creativity?
“Technology is what we make of it, and neither business nor technology will change the basic nature of human needs and yearnings. As with everything else, the evolution slowly but inexorably will cause technology to move away from plain survival through a society based on communication and finally into the realm of entertainment.”
—Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux. From the book Just for Fun, the inspiration for this post.
Don’t bite your thumb at the new shift in society. Instead, be glad the web has finally evolved into a source of perpetual entertainment and communication. Take comfort knowing that we are now more connected as a species than we ever have been; drop your preconceptions and bias — maybe even get involved. Sitting on the sidelines just means you’re missing out on where the world is heading. (Think of MySpace as a way to connect Eleanor Rigby with the priest, before her funeral.)