So I never tied that David Foster Wallace passage to any concrete thoughts, mostly because those thoughts were fluffy and dumb. This recent post by T got me piqued enough to try. Long story short, T noticed a link on his fathers delicious feed and decided to preemptively blog post about the link. The content of the link and the post are both quite interesting, but what I’m focused on is the preemptive blog from a piece of life stream. T subtly asserts that his father might have deliberately delicious-ed that link in order to provoke an argument.
Which is awesome.
Life streams or life casts are a big thing right now. (Think facebook updates) In future, our life streams will probably be more fleshed out and include a lot of data sensed, mined or sampled from activities, but a good chunk of it will just as it is now: personally constructed. And like all constructed things (read: “the built world”) it has the capacity for falsehood as easily as truth.
Like the video phone face masks of David Foster Wallace, people are just as interested in constructing alternate lives as they are in broadcasting their own. Take this site for example, that, given a few key words, builds a “clever” twitter for you post. Or this story from election time, of a woman who lied (via twitter and flickr) about getting beaten and mugged for wearing a McCain sticker. Or even how Kottke’s RSS feed has Kottke Recommends “Sponsored by…” ads inline.
Last night, I read an article in the NYTimes Mag about advertising in the age of the internet. It kind of made me sick to my stomach. (Although, since my job is mostly marketing, I’m probably cut from the same moral cloth.)
Anyway, what I find exciting behind the practice of false lifestreams is the idea of narrative peeking through. It’s an odd (and somewhat communal) way of writing a story. One of my favorite books, Miss Lonelyhearts, was supposedly written on notecards, a sentence at a time, one sentence per card. Nathanael West might have written his novel on twitter or delicious with equal aplomb.