Introducing my new new geeky obsession:
Anthropologist Mike Wesch presenting a very cool “digital ethnography” of youtube at the Library of Congress.
“New forms of expression, new forms of community and new forms of identity [are] emerging” as people from all over the world make connections via channels like youtube, social networking and so on. Wesch talks about the new “integrated mediascape” in which individuals are situated at the center. Media, he specifies, “mediates human relationships” and that it is not content or simply “tools of communication” [I’m quoting from the lecture cited above] and that “when media changes human relationships change.”
Aye! I love it! How are we changing? A few weeks ago I was meditating and realized my entire body was positioned to avoid my center. After another few meditations and some directed asana practice I began consciously addressing this misalignment. As I practiced and reflected I realized–physically and emotionally–that when I left the United States and moved abroad I severed myself completely from my past. Putting geographic distance between me and my home of origin made it possible to forget…a lot. How does this relate?
So, I began searching for names of old friends (on Facebook, on google and so on) and finding old friends. Old old friends. Even family members that I haven’t talked to in ages. Suddenly, I could see their pictures, I could read about the minutiae of their every day lives…and it really really freaked me out. At first, this reconnecting brought in a huge rush of memories and as those memories played out in my mind it became clear to me that for many years my past has ached like a phantom limb–still there in a strange and invisible sense–but severed. It has been a powerful and strange experience to find my old friends and to realize that I very much miss them.
This big, glowing, open space has helped me make some new friends too–people from all over the world who make contact with me after watching one or all of the three short videos I’ve uploaded on youtube–all three parts of the interview with Rabbia. I know it’s not new…but still, it’s so freaking amazing. And Mike Wesch has some brilliant insights into the ways in which our ways of knowing and knowing one another are changing. So cool.