The Virtual Life and The Physical Life.
I’m writing this post on my mac. You are reading it on your computer or mobile device. We may know each other. Or not. We may have met once. We may never meet. But now, even if it is for just a moment, we have made a connection. One that can only be done through technology.
We are gradually progressing towards the creation of virtual identities and virtual lives that consume more and more of our time and attention. At some point, we will cross the threshold where our virtual lives will become more dominant than our physical ones. This is happening mostly because of two reasons: 1. The technology has become so integrated into our lives that we can connect with more people in an instant through technology than through physicality. 2. We have the perception that we have more control over our virtual life than our physical one.
I wonder if what we are losing is worth what we are gaining. The control is, of course, an illusion. As is a certain part of the process of creating your virtual self. If you don’t think you have a virtual self, you are in denial. The tone and content of your emails. Your choice of photo and information you convey on Facebook. What you write on your twitter account. Whatever you choose(or not choose) to put out there for public consumption is—in effect—part of your identity. How much time do you spend doing this? Do you think about it? How does it sync with you in real life? What is real life?
I’m not suggesting this is totally new. We all put on masks in order to face the outside world. What we put on the resume. How we act on a first date. What we are like at home. At a party. In front of a group of people. We shift our presence—sometimes subtly, sometimes dramatically—to match the situation. Our true self gets revealed over time.
Perhaps it is not a big deal. Perhaps the life we live through our technology is no different than than the technology of the clothes we wear and the cars we drive.
But, I don’t think so. I think it will change us in ways we can’t even see yet.
I think it will be life—amplified.