第二次正儿八经的恐惧是在2005年看了一部叫《White Noise》的电影之后。片子也是正儿八经的烂片，但里面正儿八经着实提了番“超自然电子异象”（EVA），很是煞有其事。信奉EVA的人认为，死去的人可以通过某种电子噪音在电子设备上传递的声音和影像与现实世界沟通交流。收音机上的某个杂音段，或是电视某个雪花屏幕，都有可能是去世的人的灵魂显现。世界上确实有众多EVA研究专家，每年通过等待和收集这些白色噪音来验证EVA的真实性。而《White Noise》之所以是一部恐怖片，也正因为对此无法证明其存在，也无法证明其不存在。
那时的小清新们基本不研究什么角度拍什么照片，而是研究些超自然理论。而我，就是其中一个清新得不能再清新的小清新。那时候翻过Dr. Duncan MacDougall关于灵魂21克物质存在实验，看过众多濒死体验记录，扯谈过脑电波远距离感应，还半信半疑过念力场和集体潜意识改变事物发展。那是一个人对于生死宏大的敬畏之心作祟，总希望能求得一份笃信，好为那份遥不可及拾掇好嫁妆，做份打算。后来看得愈来愈多，觉得无甚可取。不是说不信，只是这世上总有道行精深的害群之马，也总有人能将杀人犯的故事讲成一人一虎的温情扬帆之旅。这世界上有很多事，不是你非得信什么，而是你选择信什么。
All human wisdom embodies in the pursuit and understanding of information, and that is where their sense of anxiety starts.
From the stories of Gutenberg Bible in 1454 to a core conversation focusing on privacy crisis during the most recent digital experiences, it seemed to be an illusion that 557 years of history for human’s pursuit of technology has been telescoped in a one-day trip. It was amazing, but also thought-provoking.
It was the fourth day of SXSWi. The trip started from the Ransom Center, where we got the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Gutenberg Bible, the first substantial book printed with movable type, as well as the first photograph.
Jeanette Auerbach, a docent at the Center, told the vivid stories of the Bible including how Gutenberg printed the Bible with innovative printing press in 1454 or 1455 and how the “Gutenberg Revolution” that created the age of the printed book influenced the scientific revolution .
“Even in those days, you can see humans trying hard to explore the access to the information,” Auerbach said. “The spread of printed books means knowledge no longer just belong to monks and priests.”
Auerbach also showed us the first photograph, which must be viewed under controlled lighting in order for its image to be visible. This photograph was taken by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, a scientifically-minded French, after at least a day-long exposure of eight hours. “That was amazing and unbelievable. It tells a very good story about how we explore the world.” Auerback said, with an enthusiastic tone.
As I still immersed myself in the sense of awe of those noble struggles, the conversation titled Privacy vs. Relevance: Who Smells the Tension soon pulled me back to the reality of technological anxiety.
Obviously, digital technology, together with social networks, provides us with better access both to information and to each other. With the technology collecting information at an unpatrolled rate, however, people begin to concern about the risk of this information being breached.
“The tracking is the first step that users are retargeted, but our individual data has been taken to do something very awful,” said Chris Kerns, Director of Social Analytics at Bazaar voice, taking a Time with its cover page reads, “Your Data—-Everything about you is being tracked”.
“It is just like a technological anxiety. We start feeling overwhelming and complaining about that,” One of the attendees said.
Apart from this core conversation, I also attended the other two, one of which focused on how we use social media in crisis management and the other with a heated debate over “Has Facebook Jumped the Shark”.
While those amazing ideas continue to make us breathtaking, SXSWi also reveals the dark sides of the social networking. As for me, I feel excited. As one of the presenters put it on the first day of SXSWi, the technology revolution may not happen if we are grateful all the time.
From Gutenberg Bible to privacy concern to the exploration of the future of social media, I think we can see that something exists continually. It is a power that pushes us to build a better understanding of technology. And it is a way we explore the world we are living in.
For those who still have a hangover from SXSW 2010, it would be happy to see SXSW 2011 is gearing up. And for those who love great ideas, it would be more than happy to see that the interactive portion of SXSW2011 grows by 30 percent over last year.
Harald Neidhardt, CMO & Co-Founder of Smaato Inc, described SXSW festival as “a hotbed of alpha geeks, leading bloggers and influencers of old-school media”. He wrote in his article Social media, mobile, bar codes vie for attention at SXSW festival that ”This hotbed is the breeding ground for a new generation of creative ideas and discerning audiences that no longer just want to be ‘target groups.’ “
Austin News carries a story “SXSW Interactive Expanding this year”, indicating its high expectation about what social network will bring to us after Twitter launched at SXSW 2007 and Foursqure in 2009. TechCrunch tries to figure out what Foursquare’s detailed SXSW plan is as we see the Foursquare’s blog post says
“SXSW IS LESS THAN THREE WEEKS AWAY! NEW APP + NEW BADGES + PARTIES + CONCERT + MOAR
Everyone tries to make the most of SXSW, whether an individual or a company.
But why the expansion of interactive portion at SXSW and those brilliant ideas launched at this festival mater to us? Cindy says SXSW can be overwhelming to even the most veteran participants. I am definitely not a cynic, but it is more than just normal to feel frustrated when you can’t see how much content is “too much” and how much of them you just learn at first hands will change your life just in the near future.
It seems to be ironical that virtually we bring people all over the world closer, but we still feel alone in the reality. When we expect that those technology companies have got something big planned, we are actually expecting the “social network” that we painstakingly built up and heavily reply on can be reinforced and embellished, whether by a location-based application or other creative ideas.
One good thing for sure is that the cost (means anything expended) incurred by creating a new group or joining an existing one have fallen, or collapsed due to the emergence of social network. As Harald Neidhardt has pointed, more and more people among us are no longer just want to be “target groups”. And it has gotten a lot easier to witness a collective action than ever before—-probably what we need is just a message framed in big terms to inspire interest, yet achievable enough to inspire confidence. And wherever social networking is going, it is all about how to bring people together with minimal cost.
After I investigated what SXSW has offered, I feel the urge to figure out how am I supposed to “survive” SXSW in Austin. I have packed my panels according to what I am interested in (future of social networking, identity) and what I try to figure out (meaning of social networking), but the list is still flexible with huge uncertainty.
1. Enabling New Experiences&Creating Serendipity Through Check-ins
An application that allows friends to track one another’s movements when they’re out? That is a big thing in social networking last year. But what Foursquare is planning for SXSW 2011? More apps+ more badges+parties? Dennis Crowley will be interviewed by Pete Cashmore, founder and CEO of Mashable, about how the location-based service will bring future to the social networking. And it might be interesting to see how Square acts to ensure that it remains the darling of sweaty SXSW and not be upstaged by Mark Zuckerberg and his Facebook Geek Crew.
2. The Net Delusion
Evgeny Morozov is the author of THE NET DELUSION: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom. In his book he argues that the Internet is subject to the power of the state and therefore is largely impotent as a mechanism for promoting democracy. He will focus on the ways that authoritarian regimes have profited from the Internet. Given what have happened in Arab world and what might be ahead of other authoritarian regimes, this panel seems to be my must-to-see one.
3. Fireside Chat: Tim O’Reilly Interviewed by Jason Calacanis
Jason Calacanis, the founder of Mahalo.com, will interview Tim O’Reilly, the founder of O’Reilly Media at SXSW. This is expected as an interesting conversation between two thinkers and an enlightening conversation that promote most of us to think about how the technology publisher can become a legend and how we build and maintain a brand in a new way.
4. Behavior Design: Stop Being Neutral, Start Influencing Decisions
I have interest in behavior analysis and a strong belief that behavior design involved in products and services not only influences customs choices, but also influences the sense of who we are and the feelings of who we want to be. This design is influencing our identity through a commercial way, and it is fascinating to see the future trend of combining the social networking with behavior design. Brad Nunnally, Chris Risdon, Nicholas J Disabato plan to present the power of behavior design and it would be the one that you won’t miss.
5. Can Crowdsourcing Save Classical Music?
I am a big fan of classical music. Chopin, Back, Rachmaninoff. But I never state myself as a classical music in front of people because, you know, it might not appear to be the young people’s thing. So what can be done to save it? This panel seems to be interesting by introducing the word “crowdsourcing” as the social media emerges and people listening music online increase. Juts keep it as a back-up plan for my panel package. Hopefully, it would be a good one.