sometimes sharing is not caring

Mark Evans feels digitally inundated today. The massive amount of constantly updated information, particularly from the firehose of data produced by social networking sites from Delicious to Flickr to Facebook) is crushing him. He points to a post by Techcrunch blogger Eric Schonfeld (curiously, someone I knew in college) about Friendfeed in which Schonfeld similarly calls for help (actually he says “kill me now”).

To be sure information overload is a major issue for us today. But here’s another danger with the “new economy”: as we’ve converted to a service economy, we’ve produced so much “experience” that we’re massively overloaded. Not only are we overloaded by all these feeds, we’re overloaded by experiences. We pile signature work of architecture atop signature work of architecture, smash movie on smash movie, fashion on fashion, gadget on gadget. But we’re bored of it. Crisis in capitalism are typically crisis of over-accumulation: too much money has been made (not by you) and people stop spending. This crisis is a bit more complex, but make no mistake, there is massive over-accumulation out there. Apart from all the cheap junk produced in China by exploited laborers, there has been far too much experience out there. Please, we don’t want anymore. In high school in the 80s, stuck in a rural community in Western Massachusetts, I was bored to tears by the lack of information around me. Connectivity, at that point, was over a 2600 baud modem so you can imagine how limited that was. Still, it was a lifeline. Today I can be endlessly amused until the end of my years by what’s already available online, I don’t need anymore. Sometimes sharing is not caring.

I called the collapse of the real estate market years ago (some day I’ll check to see when, but I’m pretty sure it was before Nouriel Roubini, no offense intended). I’m calling the collapse of the experience economy. Moreover, it has already happened.

4 thoughts on “sometimes sharing is not caring”

  1. On the experience economy
    You’re calling for its collapsing. Well, all 2008, people has been talking about it. I suggest you the link to my homepage, where it talks a little bit more about it. Nice blog, by the way.

    • well, almost

      Glad to hear there are people who’ve come to similar conclusions, although it seems like the bloggers at  experienceology see the collapse of the experience economy as the product of the recession (and most of them seem to think experiences are still crucial to marketing). My argument’s a bit more different. It’s not that the experience economy is in trouble because of the recession, but rather that just as there is a massive backlog of automobiles at the Port of Long Beach, there is a backlog of experience. In other words, there is such over-accumulation in the service sector that this in itself is going to compound the recession.  


  2. A call to ideas.

    Great post. I have started down an attempt at slowing down my work, slowing down my production, slowing down the rate of information. Quality is oft ignored for quantity, and while also having grown up in the seclusion of a foreign country, at least the experiences were real. I suddenly find myself missing a childhood that included a broken commodore 74, that only played frogger and miles of land to run about on plus pencils to draw with. I right now teach in a poor public school, and the kids are more interested in their sidekicks than anything else (amazing but true: those same kids who have a sidekick told me they don’t have colored pencils at home because mom and dad said they couldn’t afford them). What are Hardt and Negri up to now? What sub-structure / super-structure might result in overload? Are we headed to some creepy Cronenenbergian future of information / technology addiction? eek. I suppose we must meld with it. Cheers, hope you are well Kazys! Catherine

  3. I suddenly find myself
    I suddenly find myself missing a childhood that included a broken commodore 64 that only played frogger and miles of land to run about on plus pencils to draw with.


Leave a Comment