I was on Chat Roulette at work the other day and we randomly talked to a person from Holland. He commented on our office and we small talked for several minutes. This random interaction, made possible by technology made me ponder what effect Chat Roulette and other socially based technologies have on human interactions. Here are my off the cuff ideas about what is happening.
Everyone now has an augmented personality. You are no longer the sum of your personality, but rather the sum of what your profile says. That was hyperbole, but facebook’s importance in understanding who a person is cannot be understated. People will look at what pictures are available and the info page to make a snap judgment about a person.
I think I read in Wired a few months ago (sorry no citation) that secret agents are having trouble forging identities in today’s age. A person has a built-in “resume” of their life, complete with video and images of past. No longer can a forged passport or ID give someone a new identity. Your identity for the majority of people will be linked to a digital body of “work” and networks that are more difficult if impossible to truly recreate.
The modern, professional view of twitter is not life-casting, but mainly mind-casting (thanks Jay Rosen). Personally, I do comment on some mundane events in my life but I usually try to include links to the topics if others are interested in doing similar things. I also try to mind-cast by sharing my ideas and information.
People understand each other based on relevance of information shared. The leveraging of your ability to be an information maven makes a person relevant. A celebrity will get followers on twitter, but for a normal person to do this, they must connect and share information and ideas.
There have been webcams and chat since the inception of the internet. Connecting random people all over the world is a simple, but amazing idea (when people aren’t just masturbating using it). Exposing people to new ideas and points of view are what Chat Roulette could create. The technology is new, so I really don’t have anything other than hypothesis to work with.
This post was somewhat rambling and did not stay on topic wholly, but I think I explored some interesting ideas.