Why women, not mobile tech, have provided the most profound changes

[ Thu. Feb. 13. 2014 ]

There's a splendid interview with Kevin Kelly on edge.org. He points out that, in the early days of the web, everyone assumed it would turn into "TV 2.0": "5,000 different sources giving you the specialty information about a horse channel and a dog channel and a cat channel and a saltwater aquarium channel... and you could get it all in your home.

"But, of course, that missed the entire real revolution of the web, which was that most of the content would be generated by the people using it. The web was not better TV, it was the web."

This story struck me when I was reading an article in The New York Times. In the 70s, an American academic shot scenes of ordinary interactions on street corners. A few years ago, another academic, looking to understand the effect of mobile devices on social interactions, realised he could use those films as a baseline comparison. So he went out and shot movies of the same street corners and squares. Then he got his students to compare both films – noting carefully the number of interactions, the amount of smiling, chatting and talking, and the texting and phoning and game-playing. Thousands of interactions later, they had a few interesting findings. ...