Bob is an ordinary guy with an ordinary computer, an ordinary amount of time to goof around on the internet, and an ordinary appetite to socialize.
Now imagine a world in which Bob lives, is not on Facebook, and in most cases has no idea that you even exist.
In this world you can know:
- Where he’s located on the planet, down to a 3-meter (9.8-foot) radius. You can see what advice people have to offer for that exact location, how many others are there, who has been there in the past, and who the most frequent visitor is.
- Where Bob works and has worked, what he did there and when, who likes what he has done, and how well-connected he is. You can also see what groups he belongs to, what his general interests are, where he went to school, and what degrees he has.
- What music he listens to, as he’s listening to it (not to mention what and when he listened to before that). What his favorite songs are, which musicians he listens to the most, precisely the number of times he listened to an artist, album and song, etc.
- What his favorite kinds of food are, what he thinks of restaurants in his area, who his snooty foodie friends are, even what his last meal on Earth — if he had a choice — might be.
- What books he has read, wants to read, and is currently reading. Hell, even what page he’s on. You can also find out what genres of books he likes, down to individual thoughts or impressions about each work.
- Which Web sites he likes, including the pages, images, video and multimedia he finds interesting, and when he discovered the media.
- What pictures he takes, when he takes them, and where he takes them. You can sometimes see who’s in those pictures and find out the camera body, lens, and detailed settings he used to take the pictures. Oh, and if he did any Photoshopping to those images after the fact.
- What videos he makes, what videos he likes, and what others think about them.
- What movies he’s watched, is going to watch, and likes the most (or least).
- What comments he has left on online content, and when he left them.
- What short updates he likes to provide about his existence and, in most cases, what he finds of interest that is presently happening in the world.
- Most of the above in one convenient little feed.
All of this information can be pushed to more or less any device with an Internet connection.
All of it is archived.
And it’s all available for free.*
If Bob’s mode of sharing his life sounds creepy, exciting, amazing, shocking, powerful, weird, dangerous, conceited, overwhelming, boring, voyeuristic, fleeting, fanciful, or some combination of those words, welcome the modern world.
This is possible — and happening — today. Right now. For millions of people, this is reality.
Now, there are people who “lifecast,” aka walk around 24/7 with a Web camera on their head. But who has time to sit around and watch that stuff? I think this mode of sharing is a better use of the word “lifecast.” It’s a vastly more powerful concept because it’s easily accessible, archival, and more relevant to surfing the ‘net.
Whatever you call this behavior, it’s impossible to say it’s not thought-provoking. Try putting yourself into the past, say, 10 years ago. Could you even imagine this happening? Call it a lack of imagination, but I can’t. And I was — and always will be — a big nerd.
So Cosmopolitanauts… what do you think? Furthermore, what do you think is next?
Photo courtesy Stian Eikeland/Flickr
- FourSquare, Google Latitude
- Flickr, Picasa
- YouTube, Vimeo