communication unlimited?

Sensory Circus Backstage

In the context of my mini-exhibition of spam art at the FHP, I had a very inspiring conversation with Christopher and Martin (who study at the FHP as well). It started off from the exhibits themselves and that spam might be the Basis for the Pop-Art of our time as it is more typical than a Coke Bottle.

On the other hand, it is a radical interference with our communication needs and intentions, which should be one of the reasons for the strong emotions (fierce hatred?) towards it. That relation builds the link to my master thesis, which is focused on the organisation of our addressbook according to our communication behaviour.

At the moment, it seems as if we face a heavy communication overlaod: Twitter, Skype, ICQ, Blogs (with shoutboxes and comments), SMS-connectivity, Plazes, Facebook/StudiVZ, messages even via last.fm. Is there a goal everything is converging to, one “integrated commuication application”? How intense and instantaneous do we want our communication to become? Sometimes it looks as if we try to connect our brains. Or at least, we make publicly listenable what we usually would mutter to ourselves at best. Is it all about being afraid of feeling “un-connected” and alone when anyone else is excited about the new possibilities for interpersonal conncections?

[update 070705]
Sascha writes:

By fetching one’s different traces (ie. RSS-feeds) from blogs, Flickr, etc. and contextualizing it with time and location-information from Plazes, it really succeeds in creating a kind of presence of that friend.[…] Jaiku’s Jyri Engeström argues that it would ultimately lead to greater honesty of such a Hyper-connected generation, bold statement.

So, we haven’t met the final destination of convergence, clearly. In his article, he also adds some interesting aspects about localisation.
[/update]

With email, we can witness another momentum that technology, once deployed, can develop by itself. Usually, emails get delivered within minutes if not seconds. In consequence the recipient could answer just as fast. Often, this becomes a more or less subconscious expectation of the sender, a requirement for the recipient and can end in disappointment easily. In contrast to these possiblities, a couple of studies proved that our way of working suffers seriously (our short-time memory especially, that helps us producing coherent thoughts) if we are interrupted every couple of minutes by new mail or IM-messages popping up. Having read an email, we need some moments to find back to the context of our current work. We could stay away of this kind of accelartion driven by technology and go by our own speed but noone tries to. The Blackberry using business community has become notorious for going ad ultimo with this process.

All the services have their own way of registering our friends and social network. Some say their only reason to stay with StudiVZ is the contact list they have there. From many directions we receive new aquaintances today and we try to store them all (why not, after all?). Do we feel more “at home” when we see so many people available for chat in Skype? Or do we want to prove our social status by raising the number of friends in StudiVZ? In which community do we organize what kind of friends? Do we need/want a “Meta-Network“? One example of convergence is the possibility to have one’s MSN and Xing contact lists synchronised automatically. Obviously, the organisation of these ever growing data masses becomes more and more important to us.

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