V I R T U A L E N G A G E M E N T I N R E A L T I M E
VIRTUAL ENGAGEMENT IN cyborgTIMe<br />By Michael Adams<br />
Intro:<br />Marshall McLuhan realized the persuasive extensions to human beings abilities and senses that have come directly from exposure to a media dominated society. Since 1969, Mcluhan coined Western society as dwelling in the electric age where children have experienced a profound shift in learning and interaction circumstances. The extensions of individual perception are causing deep and lasting changes that transform the landscape of communication , both where we communicate and the way in which we communicate. <br />As media technologies immerse humans and their extension of senses into a world of virtual representation –the direct result alters the way identity is formed. Traditionally, reality of self and identity was formed throughfamily and peer interaction but, because of the “electric circus” the youth of today are searching for themselves through and in amongst virtual communication via; internet sites like facebook, skype, and telephone texting to name a few. Through advents such as the latter, immediacy have created an environment that mimics real interaction that have become the realm of virtual communication and what Katherine Hayles claims to be posthuman interaction. <br />Media and especially the internet have created an environment that parallels McLuhan’s global village, children interact and engage in virtual networks of family and friends that are increasingly shifting reality towards the realm of the cyborg. Shaped by the way in which we chose to communicate, extract information and spend leisure time, individuals have become intertwined in electric interfaces and virtual representation. <br />While there are exceptions to the rule, (most) western citizenry have and are engaging in the convenience of electronically based interaction . As a society, the environment of virtual communications are gaining ground on person 2 person interaction and in some cases like teenage girls, is the preferred form of communication. Are we becoming detached from one another (ourselves) and also nature as a result of these technologies.<br />
Media domination<br />Growing up in the electric circus has created some very interesting character traits. These are my two boys and they love to interact in the virtual realm of both video gaming and science fiction animation. I have observed that after engaging in these facets of media—interaction in peer environments exhibit somewhat of a compromised attention span whereas, electronic interaction holds their interest exalted. Do children demonstrate the truest form of integration , it seems that they are somehow naturally drawn towards and absorbed in the lure of electronic media.<br />
Forming early networks :<br /><ul><li>Very interesting here, is how children are competent towards media technologies that seem to evade more aged users. The aptitude of children prove superior, they are sponges absorbing the effects of cyborg orientation without realization.
Networks formed early secure the transition foryouth into a multiplicity factor of identity and subjectivity inmedia. As interface users, children have begun a shiftinto a new consciousness and new social practices. </li></li></ul><li>Escape or play:<br />Media technologies have become the domain of a cause and effect relationship that seem to rival that of the illusionist. The persuasive call of virtual engagement leads individuals to blur the boundaries of the real as represented through images and text that are manipulated. As a result, this paradox evokes certain emotions, identity, or feeling. Distortions of identity in this way have undermined perceptions towards face to face communicationbecause visual markers have been withheld.<br />
Virtual rivals real:<br /><ul><li>Texting has become the mainstay for teen communication says, these young texters. A personal interview revealed a matrix of obsession with virtual communication. These teens state that they ‘love’ texting because of the way their emotions are left out of interacting with friends. In this regard, it seems that for teens, emotions hamper face 2 face interaction. Because the humanistic sense of emotion is left out of communication here—teens like these have opted for virtual interaction over personal interaction.
Cyborgs communicate without emotion </li></li></ul><li>Fun just for fun:<br />Texting on occasion up to 300 times a day, these sisters love to text because it is fun. They chose how they want to act by integrating un intrusive creativity into communication. Their father also prefers this form of sibling communication because of the sometimes invasive verbalization in the household. Are the youth in Western culture transitioning towards a post-human reality more rapidly than that of other demographics ? I am not sure however, these interface users might think differently. It seems to me that it is more convenient to text than to get up and really interact on a personal level for some.<br />
Disillusioned:<br />As technologies invade citizenries lives, progressively it becomes difficult to discern between place and time. In respect to McLuhan’s maxim, “the medium is the message”, users have succumbed to the persuasive calling of technology. Boundaries of virtual time and real time have become skewed as technology beeps for our attention. It seems to me that at the most inappropriate times, media of some sort is beckoning for userengagement in virtual time. Resistance to this call is difficult as it is human nature to be inquisitive. A call into the virtual realm temporarily distracts from real life engagement.<br />
Detachment from nature:<br />As media technology proliferates, human-nature interaction increasingly becomes separated. For most children , nature education comes from T.V programs or internet sites. The physicality of human-nature interaction makes humans what they are, an important part of a complex ecosystem. Whereas virtual interaction threatens the archaic human matrix by forging new parameters towards man-machine integration –sending humankind into the unknown landscape of posthumanismand cyborg communication.<br />