Zen and Web 2.0 – Melissa Dickinson

Posted: January 26, 2011 by melissadickinson in #2 Zen and Web 2.0

It’s inevitable that technology plays a huge and important role in the development of today’s society. There isn’t a moment in the day where we aren’t consumed with technology in some way. There’s the obscene amount of people who own and make great use of their cell phones. As technology develops with everyday, it is insane the amount of stuff a cell phone can do. There is no need to pick up the paper from the local newsstand when you can browse a world of information in the palm of your hand.

Robert Pirsig writes about how technology can be overwhelming and hard to face at times. These words that Pirsig wrote in 1974 still relate to the world we are living in today. I, myself, have a hard time keeping up with the new technology presented to the world everyday. True — I own a Macbook Pro, a Blackberry and an iPod touch. However, I can say in all honesty that I don’t use these technological resources to their fullest capabilities. Blackberry users today can check and send emails from their phone as well as browse the web. I simply use my Blackberry as a means of communication through texting, phone calls and Facebook. Just as Pirsig writes in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I sometimes find the technology, when used to its fullest capabilities, too overwhelming. What is the purpose of having three devices that are capable of doing the exact same thing? I personally think it’s the novelty of the device, rather then what it is capable of doing.

Pirsig presents the idea of “what’s new” vs “what is best.” I believe there is strong blur between these two lines. A large number of news sites are more concerned with providing the breaking news headlines while possibly blurring fact with fiction. Instead, news sites should be more focused on presenting the news with integrity, while still trying to be the best. I believe new sites have lost sight of what it means to be a true journalist. We, as journalism students, are taught to report the truth and to be conscious of what is fact and what is fiction. What bothers me is how news companies are more focused on being the first to report the big headlines that they often give their audience false information.

Ultimately, what I believe Pirsig is trying to relay in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is that the world is progressing at such an intense speed that it is hard to stay up-to-date. Today I may learn a concept that initially seems to make my life easier. However, in only a short matter of time technology develops and we are presented with an entirely different way of conducting our everyday, technologically consumed, lives.



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