Feeds

Douglas Coupland on bloggers, YouTube and Bubble 2.0

Generation X, Microserfs author spooked

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

That optimism that the technology as a whole has grown up to care about its effect on the world, subtly contradicts his unease over the barrage of self-awareness expressed by Twittering and videoblogging at SXSW. The paradox is not lost on Coupland.

Coupland: It cuts both ways. With things like YouTube you've got people who in a previous era would never have done anything remotely creative doing nine minute animation segments of dancing marshmallows or something, which is really great because they are using better parts of their brain.

The other edge to the web 2.0 knife is all too clear. As a veteran of SXSW in the early 90s grunge-era days when it was just a music festival, Coupland was shocked by the attack of the bloggers.

Coupland: For about four months back in the 90s I kept what was once called a diary, and I enjoyed doing it but what happened was - and I think this is a very common response - is when you start living your life inside your diary you become quite mercenary, and it's all about 'will this make a good entry?'

Suddenly your life becomes that Warholian thing where every moment of your life should be something you can sell, you're always taking pictures, taping everything, and then I think it's just psychologically strange.

There is a tendency to become like a hermit and sit in your house in a persistent state world or something and your avatar is more real than you. I think it's really fucking spooky. It's so scary.

In the future, all these kids now with MySpace pages who put absolutely everything out there, like number of tampons they used, everything, in 40 years there'll be a political culture where stuff like that, minor details, don't shock anymore.

Now in the States if you hire a maid who doesn't have her papers you have to withdraw from politics. I hope I live to see the day when stuff like that doesn't matter, but at the moment I think after a certain age - I tag it arbitrarily at 22 - everyone's more withdrawn in fear.

Earlier, in a brief book reading to fans at the Austin Conference Center which hosts the show, the author voiced his own fears that everything he said would end up in a mash-up on YouTube, but even an established artist and tech cynic is not invulnerable to the internet's tempting outlet for more of our thoughts and ideas. Coupland's next novel, The Gum Thief, comes out this Autumn. He has registered its two lead characters' domain names and is building mock personal websites as a side project. "The book comes first though," he was quick to insist. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
Bose says today IS F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.