The “me, me, me, meme.” What is it?
Cool tech geeks start something online. We jump on the bandwagon. Our friends see what’s going on. A crowd forms, asks questions, then follows our lead. Lifestreams form.
In the video game Final Fantasy VII, the Lifestream is a river of Mako energy coursing through the Planet. The Lifestream is considered the blood of the Planet, which in turn is considered a collective conscience similar to the Oversoul of transcendentalist philosophy, but not quite the same as the type of entity proposed in the Gaia theory.
Our own personal lifestreams, or “public timeline’s” if you prefer, are slightly more mundane than the one from Final Fantasy, however it can still be pondered in an analogous manner. Our lifestream threads together everything that we are. Where we go, what we say, who we interact with, how we express ourselves, concepts inside artwork that we create, symbolism that we identify. All can be considered “us” or “me” in some, hopefully non-banal, way.
We say “me” a lot in our lifestreams. Not always directly. Indirectly also. Off the top of our heads. Well thought out over hours of writing and editing. At the snap of the shutter on our iPhone. While visiting at parties and gatherings. By connecting/friending/following through social nets. Generating our APML wake and bow waves through the public timestream. We are the social seed for our downstream online and offline, everyone has a built-in personal wetware network and many people let this stream filter back online, forming a personal lifestream wake.
When we say “me” we say “we” a lot as well. The “we” message is buried in context of the “me” and provides the rich matrices upon which our lifestreams thrive. “ Frank is watching the Chicago Bears and blogging <link> – #twitter” tells me what Frank Gruber is up to, but the link was meant for his followers -“we”.
When Dave Winer snaps an iPhone photo in the Palo Alto Apple store, I see his Twitter/image post and also note, based on her earlier Tweet, that @StephAgresta is in the store at the same time. @SamHarrelson then notices that Dave might have captured @StephAgresta in his iPhone shot of the Apple store. I then see Stephanie twitter about a happenstance meeting in the Apple store with Dave, Robert Scoble and son. I know all these people, but am I watching a personal version of my own external life unfolding in a Twitter stream? Am I watching Dave’s? Robert’s & Patrick’s? Sam’s? Stephanie’s? Later on I notice (from his Twitter wake) that Robert and wife had their new baby and he might have been in the Apple store in connection with that wonderful event!
Now imagine a person walking up to you, whom you may not recognize immediately, saying “hi Dave/Steph, I just noticed from your twitter stream that you were in the PA Apple store and wanted to say ‘hi’ because we were in the same place at the same time. Our twitter streams crossed in time.”
Wow, new types of meetings are happening in today’s silicon valley technology stores … a new dimension to social meshing is occurring based on bridges being created between online and offline lifestreams.
Me. I’m in this place. I’m in this photo. I’m live video streaming you at this moment. I’m playing pool. I’m waiting at the airport. I’m on AirforceOne. I’m pondering my navel. I invented a new drug. I’m at a funeral. I participated in a Senate hearing. I’m blogging. When saying “me” we don’t like saying it into a vacuum, but that’s the way all lifestreams begin. Erupting from a birth-point in time. The spot upon which we first create a social persona and declare “I am me, and you shall learn more”, like some holy writ dug from the sands of ancient lands. In a world of 6 Billion people we are standing up to say “hello world – I am an individual.”
Now lot’s of folks are saying, “ya, but what about ‘them’, all of you ‘me’ focused people. “Them” – those outside our personal sphere, our socio-economic plateau, our comfort zone. “When you focus so much on yourself you ignore all those people around you.” It seems that if you place your thoughts out into the public consciousness one can be labeled “narcissistic” Who knew this would be the response from people who don’t do it, so can’t “get it?” Duh.
I say create a Twitter wake – drop your social seed and watch it sprout. “Me” “We” “Them” will intermingle. This is the power of connected networks of people.
Of course the solution to the “starting in a vacuum” problem above is simply to participate in life offline as well as online. The wetware networks feed your online social existence. Groupings, micro-crowds, followers, friends, whatever you want to call it, the systems of social interaction which we participate in will subsume our individuality to a greater good if we give at least as much as we receive. However, perhaps when we network in person, face-to-face we can talk about something other than “me” or “we”, I’m so tired of hearing “so, what do you ‘do’?”, perhaps we might re-focus a bit and put ourselves into the shoes of “them” and see what that feels like as a community after the “them” concepts we discuss filter back into our online “we” stream.