Social, mobile, local … but what about “humane”?

Yesterday, I got the sad news that a friend of mine in India passed away. I had never met him, but he was a collaborator on a couple of comic book projects I had worked with and we were facebook friends too. Even though we lived a few continents apart in the “real” world, the wonders of social networking kept us in touch. Facebook would keep me abreast of his life, one news feed item or tagged photo at a time. I knew when he got married, what new projects he took on and most importantly his “mood” — being a true artist, his posts would reflect the infamous ups and downs of the artistic whim. His forte was horror and the supernatural. He could tap into some dark cavern of his subconscious and come up with monsters and dreamscapes like only a few gifted ones can.

I got a mail from one of our common friends in the weekend that he had suddenly passed away. It was a shock on many fronts. But, as the day progressed, something even more shocking happened. Our friends started posting on facebook and remembering his work and life. He had influenced quite a few friends and fans and some of them (actually most of them) started @ tagging his facebook profile in their posts. Everytime I logged into facebook, it was a bit creepy to see his name hyperlinked to his profile pop up on my ticker. He’s survived by his wife and I can’t even begin to imagine the pain she must live through again when the same items pop up before her (a tagged photo of my friend smiling, an image he worked on, condolences from a common friend). Loss is something we all have to deal with, but I can’t help but cringe at the thought of the connected social/mobile world of ours scratching the tender wounds of a departed loved one again and again and again.

We hype our world as being connected, social and mobile. Everything is converging, everyone is connected and everything is shared. But that is not necessarily a good thing… always. 🙁

Image from here

5 Replies to “Social, mobile, local … but what about “humane”?”

  1. I do share the sentiments, being social only makes us more connected on a different plain of existence. The natural state of the human being is a touch and the tap on the back near the shoulder. No social network can actually give you that.

  2. thanks for the comment, Siddhesh. My point is that we’re so connected that we don’t think of or are not aware of consequences “frictionless sharing” might have on others. We live in the age of the firehose and we rarely stop to bend down and look at the blades of grass in the way.

  3. I will say however the boat of us being aware has passed away. I don’t think we can turn back now sadly. The age of firehose as you say is going to increase soon. There is nothing we can do to make it the way it is.

  4. I think a bit of self-discipline and a deep breath before hitting share + click + like or +1 would go a long way. Just because we have faster cars, doesn’t mean we just floor the gas.

    I love being connected, but my point is not everyone is aware of just how connected they are or how far their actions carry over the diameter of the web.

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