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Sunday, March 21, 2010

What does offline or online even mean anymore?

I was in a diagram kinda mood, shoot me. With apologies to Venn freaks everywhere, I tried jotting down on a Post-it how much time during the day I was wasting/spending/using up online.* (Pick one, depending on your frame of mind.) It looked scary, so hello, CS. Where “you” is really “me” and the logos are any social networks you happen to live on, the center area reflects the typical overlap of those worlds.

As I looked at that overlap though, the typical diagram like this so popular on the net seminar tour circuit doesn’t really show how much “Me” and “you” are crowded out of the equation accurately enough, and even frames the dynamic incorrectly. I suppose that’s what you get for trying to describe life using a 2D model.

This is where the talk lately of just what is offline or online comes into play. Is there really a difference between the two experiences anymore? If that mindset is ever going to change, then just stop referring to it as an either or deal. It’s all one experience. Reconfiguring things a bit, the above becomes something like this:

These things are always “there” and take on varying degrees of importance in your life based on your level of involvement with them. Twitter some days is huge for me. Facebook, most days, is not. (Again, swap out your own media channels in the mix here.) For some it could a be lot of TV, etc. Point is, when you’re not in front of one thing, you’re in front of another, and the lines between what’s off or online are faded, if they’re even there anymore.

*This is where I try and make things seem more complicated than they are. Check back often!

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