Feeds

Douglas Coupland on bloggers, YouTube and Bubble 2.0

Generation X, Microserfs author spooked

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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like that doesn't matter, but at the moment I think after a certain age - I tag it arbitrarily at 22 - everyone's more withdrawn in fear.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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'
PM urged to 'prioritise issue' after Facebook hindsight find
Assange™ slumps back on Ecuador's sofa after detention appeal binned
Swedish court rules there's 'great risk' WikiLeaker will dodge prosecution
NSA mass spying reform KILLED by US Senators
Democrats needed just TWO more votes to keep alive bill reining in some surveillance
'Internet Freedom Panel' to keep web overlord ICANN out of Russian hands – new proposal
Come back with our internet! cries Republican drawing up bill
What a Mesa: Apple vows to re-use titsup GT sapphire glass plant
Commits to American manufacturing ... of secret tech
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.