So, I’m sitting on my couch in Conway, SC. My phone line has mysteriously gone out as has half of the AC in the house so analog technology isn’t doing so well at this moment. I get an IM from Sam Levin. He tells me that he’s at the Always On conference and sends me a link to the webcast. Through him, I’m saying hello to Steve Gillmor who is seated next to him and whose podcast I had just listened to two separate episodes today. I’m watching and listening to the presentation from my living room, interacting with people across the country.
Almost a decade ago, I interviewed the science fiction writer Sage Walker about her book Whiteout. This book chronicles a high tech commune, where they were bound together not in agrarian pursuits but in a techno-cyber-public relations firm where they were always in contact remotely. At the time, I told her “I don’t want to read the book, I want to live it.” Today, I do in fact live 90% of what was in the book. I work for guys 800 miles away who I mostly talk to via instant message and VOIP. Earlier today, I talked with Brad Sucks about music and life via Skype. I’ve had similar talks recently with John Rogers, Cory Doctorow, Michael Butler and I’m sure there will be many others.
The tech is nifty, but what matters to me are the people. Skype, VOIP, IM, webcasting, podcasting – what I most care about are the humans at the other end of the packet stream, the folks on the far side of the TCP socket. There is a lot I don’t like about our modern life, but I’m on board with our emerging infotopia.