I read an interesting article the other day about this concept, one that I hadn’t heard of before. Surprising, given that I’m in the IT industry and I try to keep at least somewhat current with these things. But for those of you who, like me, didn’t know what the worldstream was, let me explain.
(Oh, and if I hadn’t become incredibly absent-minded lately, I’d have saved the link so you could go to the source article. Maybe I’ll find it later and stick in the comments or update the article…)
(Update: Found it! It was at Wired.com)
Anyway, the worldstream is basically the merged sum of all of our individual lifestreams. What is a lifestream? It’s essentially your online diary of memories, information, or events, organized by time.
For example, say you’re a blogger, or you’re active on twitter or facebook or some comparable site. Every time you post something, whether a picture or an update or a file, you’re making an entry into your lifestream, just like a 1950s teenage girl would jot something down in her diary. But it’s more than just a static collection of data. The key is thinking of it as a living thing, organized by the one dimension that plays the biggest role – time.
Here’s a useful metaphor – imagine standing on a bridge over a river. As you drop items into the water, you watch them float away, carried by the current, one after another after another. Each item represents some moment in your life that you’ve chosen to capture, either by blog or picture or some other mechanism. That’s your lifestream. It’s constantly moving, constantly floating away from you. But as you traverse it, you see not only the important moments of your life, you see how you’ve grown or progressed as a person. Or, for those of you with too much time on your hands, we see every thought that passes through your head.
Now imagine taking that concept and multiplying it by every other person, entity, business or object in the world that has it’s own lifestream. Basically every facebook page, twitter feed, instagram account, myspace (is that still a thing, even with Justin Timberlake?), etc., becomes merged together into one giant worldstream. Instead of a lazy river, it’s a firehose-gushing torrent. How overwhelming is that?
I’m fascinated by this concept, though, which seems both magnificently complex and childishly simple. Mostly because I wonder where this is leading us. Think about the ramifications of that much information. It’s almost Borg-like, isnt it? All you do is increase the amount of information everyone is putting into their lifestream and speed it up, and you basically have a collective consciousness, provided we could keep up with it all. Although I doubt even the most hard-core of information junkies could do that.
But by blogging, or posting, or doing all of those things that we do as part of our ebook marketing on the internet, we’re contributing to the worldstream, all in an attempt to keep from floating downriver. Any stream, life, world, or otherwise, must be current to be relevant. The farther it drifts away, the more it becomes a distant memory… or an outdated blog post. So constant information is what everyone strives for, and because we live in a world where Oreo strikes it big by making an ad about the Super Bowl blackout DURING THE SUPER BOWL BLACKOUT, you know marketing and sales will be salivating at the prospect of tapping our collective worldstream.
So what comes next? Is the worldstream even a thing yet? It’s not a real thing, at least not in a physical sense. Not until Facebook, Google and a dozen other companies even think about playing nice with each other. But you can see them trying in their own ways. Facebook buying Instagram was a step in this direction, whether they intended it or not. And their Graph search is another, much more obvious step.
But it definitely exists on an abstract level. We’re already well aware of the hassles of standing out amongst the thousands of authors and books and blogs in the publishing/reviewing industry. It’s easy to get lost in all of it. In fact, it’s more than easy. It’s common. It’s almost expected. It’s the rare author who stands out amongst so many peers, and by giving that clutter, that noise a name, it almost makes it even more real.
Or, for some people, overwhelming.
Hmmmmmm… I think I’m getting an idea for another science fiction novel…
Please keep in mind that comments are moderated and
rel="nofollow" is in use. So, please do not use a spammy keyword or a domain as your name, or it will be deleted. Let us have a personal and meaningful conversation instead.