Sunday, January 4, 2015

Best of 2014

Sitting in Puerto Natales, Chile, at what has been called del fin del Mundo, reflecting on the past year, before entering Torres del Paine national park.  The terrain and flora remind us of New Zealand in many ways, but Patagonia is also a very unique region and a wonderful part of the world.

This is not a travelogue about connectivity, but I have been reminded of the power of language to connect or disconnect humans.  And, more profoundly, I have witnessed how a single individual, in this case one of the young members of our group, was able to make more friends in the space of 4 days in El Chalten than anyone I have ever seen.  The point is that some Gen Y folks are capable of networking in real life and new environments as well as they do on line.  A reminder not to pigeonhole or pre-judge generations.

As for the best of 2014...

I am presently reading the best novel related to our connected world, not just of 2014, but probably of the past decade.  The book is The Circle, by Dave Eggers (Vintage, 2013).  Not since Douglas Coupland's Microserfs has there been such an astute account of tech culture coupled with an intriguing contemporary story line.  The story takes place on a over-achieving tech campus (think Google meets Facebook on steroids), where seemingly helpful and well-intended utopian desires of tech mega-corporations reveal the dark side of universal ubiquitous connectivity and shrinking personal privacy.  A great read!  I highly recommend it!

Best non-fiction documentary of the year in my view is Generation Like, a PBS Hard Line report on the high need for teens to be liked on social media and the general medias exploitation of this phenomenon.  Notwithstanding my comment above about not judging generations, this video account makes for scary watching, if one considers the implications of high needs for social approval, especially when played out and manipulated by masterful marketing.

That's it for now.  Off to the mountains to disconnect.

No comments: