Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Twittering Ecstasy of Communication

About a decade ago a good friend of mine and I were discussing the on coming evolution of humanity toward a more united, more immediate, interconnected borgification-like thought process. He recommended I read Jean Baudrillard's Ecstasy of Communication. The French philosopher, as I recall, was arguing that communication is basically without meaning, that it is the communication itself that is communicated -- Baudrillard saw humanity as becoming all consumed, "orgiastically," by its ever increasingly sophisticated ability to communicate.

It is an interesting point, and one that I've been sensitive to. On deciding to blog, adopting social networking apps, etc. I've always had this nagging sense that these activities have an innate element of narcissistic junior highschoolness about them. At the same time, I've always felt this instinctive need to broadcast communicate -- from late in my teen years when I studied creative writing, to subsequent technical publications, to more recent blogging efforts.

Many reactionaries to the "Twitterification of the Web" tend toward a Baudrillard-esque take. By the "Twitterification of the Web," I mean the increasing emergence and dominance of the "What am I doing now" type functionality that Twitter introduced and social networking sites like Facebook extended through automatic status update broadcasting. I often hear the argument that this "crap is just a giant waste of time" -- certainly there is some truth in this, but recently I ran across an article by HorsePigCow that discusses some direct benefits of Twitter in particular. I was struck by the one line, that Twitter is a "serendipity enabler" -- its an interesting idea, that broadcasting snapshots of life minutia provides entry points for the interested listener to latch on and react to -- and perhaps, this one I'm really holding out for, we can create a rural-like social encounter experience in the urban world, i.e. just run into our friends instead of planning a priori encounters. The author provides the example of her tweet of arrival at an airport that led to a serendipitously present friend to hear the tweet, and arrange to meet.

Well, to make a long story short, I thought I'd finally dive in and give Twittering a try. So as an experiment, I'm now tweeting. You'll find my last few tweets available on the ChaloBolo website in the right column below the post topics section. You can follow any of the links should you be a fellow tweeter interested in subscribing.
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Monday, August 25, 2008

Chameli to Rahul Bose to Shantaram: More Meandering through the Entity Web

One of my favorite movies of all time is Chameli. So I decided to check out our Chameli page. Once there, I recalled really liking the male lead performance by Rahul Bose. So I quickly wound up on the Evri Rahul Bose page. I then was curious about the videos -- one was about an interview with Rahul Bose and a guy named Gregory Roberts -- the name Gregory Roberts sounded familiar to me, but I couldn't remember why. I started watching the video below, and quickly realized it was the author of the book Shantaram, that my wife just bought and is sitting right next to me on our night stand. A couple weeks ago, I had read the jacket of the book -- the amazing story of an Australian philosopher turned druggie turned Mumbai mobster turned into redeemed author -- it seemed a little too amazing, so I wasn't motivated enough to crack it open. Needless to say, after watching this interview, I am pretty intrigued. Warning: the host is a bit annoying, and the interview is in Hinglish. And a final warning: the links above require you to have a beta account with us which you can get HERE.

And here are links for the remaining interview parts: 2, 3, 4, 5

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Last Days of The Raj - The end of British rule in India

I just watched an interesting dramatized documentary on the last days of the British in India. The documentary starts with the arrival of the emergence of independent Pakistan and India. Viceroy Mountbatten, sent to India to formulate and execute a plan to end British rule in India and transfer power. The film tracks the violent events through till the birth of independent Pakistan and India. The film is available HERE.
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