Glass Books Question #19 ~ Computers & Glass Books

by Gordon Dahlquist

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Glass Books Question #19 ~ Computers & Glass Books

Unread postby Liz » Fri Jan 23, 2009 11:34 am

Comment on the following from an interview with Bookreporter.com:

Q: The concept of the Glass Books is a seductive one: a keepsake place for vivid memories that can be experienced again and again. What prompted this?

GD: A lot of the thinking behind the glass books themselves simply comes from thinking about computers, and specifically thinking about them as things that have profoundly changed how we see ourselves, how we communicate, our basic notions of society and social interaction, even how we think to begin with. This happens in various degrees throughout history with new technology, of course, but in our time many of the crucial questions revolve more explicitly around how the intimate experience of others is that much more available to us --- and so quickly! --- as ours is served up to others. Not that this is news, but in the same way how we write was changed by the arrival of word processors (without people at that time being quite aware of what that meant), I think communication technology is changing so fast that our basic social assumptions are being constantly nudged without our realizing it.
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Re: Glass Books Question #19 ~ Computers & Glass Books

Unread postby trygirl » Fri Jan 23, 2009 12:34 pm

After reading Mr. Dahlquist's reply, I can definitely see the connection between computers and the glass books. And I think fansmom touched on this with the allegory question about how the media and the price of fame makes celebrities' lives so transparent, so naked for all to see...very perceptive. I think computers have definitely opened the pandora's box of communication...long gone are the days of a simple telephone call or letter. Information is so much easier to access now, and it's so easily disseminated. The computer has become the perfect glass book. There's tons of footage out there of anyone, doing anything, at anytime and once something is in cyberspace, it's there forever. You can save whatever you like and few it a thousand times over...all the while taking pleasure from others' experiences. Computers engage us in an intimacy, that before their creation, the world had never known. So in a way, the glass books were a stepping stone, that new piece of technology that takes things to the next level. The books are the new cell phone, the new VCR, the new DVD Player, the new Ford Model T...the new piece of the puzzle that advanced civilization. Or it would have been, if it wasn't wielded by people so uncivilized.
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Re: Glass Books Question #19 ~ Computers & Glass Books

Unread postby ladylinn » Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:17 pm

I agree with trygirl that the computer has a new means of communication. Communication is no longer personnal. One can use this means without having to divulge themselves to others. And as you said trygirl - it is there for all to see forever. As with progress thruout history, there are those who abuse and use the progress for ill means. Thus the blue glass was used for control and power. Maybe they weren't ready for such powerful thoughts that the blue glass cards and books demonstrated. We live in an age where computers and communications are improving daily and available to more and more people. We have a responibilty to see that we and all those we touch are aware of its' power and its' wonderful means to inform at an instant. Thus we must be stronger and more senistive with its' use. We must be aware when our social assumptions are being nudged.

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Re: Glass Books Question #19 ~ Computers & Glass Books

Unread postby Liz » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:05 pm

Heavy thoughts for a Friday morning—or other time of the day for some of you!

This interview excerpt was an aha moment for me…..and it scared me at the same time….because as you and he say, the Internet is a very powerful force that disseminates information instantly…..whether it be accurate or not. And it can have a powerful effect (both good and bad) on our views and our lives. Look at how finding the Zone affected my life.
:-O
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Re: Glass Books Question #19 ~ Computers & Glass Books

Unread postby gemini » Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:20 pm

Well, being so hooked on my computer that I even choose it over television makes me wonder about the will power it took to pull away from the glass books. The computer for me is like a crutch that I can not give up. I guess his comments make me understand the glass book much better than I did before. I just thought more of them as a weakness than a learning experience.
Last edited by gemini on Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Glass Books Question #19 ~ Computers & Glass Books

Unread postby fansmom » Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:35 pm

Liz wrote: the Internet is a very powerful force that disseminates information instantly…..whether it be accurate or not. :-O
Liz, did you see this?

"Wikipedia: Black and white and wrong all over. Free-content Web site is your No. 1 source for late-breaking inaccuracies."
Apparently on Tuesday, some ghoul repeatedly changed Wikipedia to show that Ted Kennedy was dead.

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Re: Glass Books Question #19 ~ Computers & Glass Books

Unread postby nebraska » Fri Jan 23, 2009 4:24 pm

I, too, am very computer addicted! Or perhaps I should make that internet addicted. But I do believe it is different from the glass books because the glass books contained real experiences and the viewer literally would experience what the real person in the real memory experienced. The internet contains all sorts of information and stories, people baring their souls and emotions and experiences.......or not! One always needs to take the internet information with a grain of salt, as it were, unless dealing with "real life" personal acquaintances. So there is an element of fiction (or the possibility of fiction) that wasn't present in the glass books. But in my old age I have become more and more cynical that way with everything -- newspapers, television newscasts, my coworkers........ :lol:

When I share thoughts and feelings on line, I sometimes feel as if I am journaling and the responses that come back to me are as much my own internal dialogue as they are the real responses of real persons on another computer out there somewhere.

Mr. Dahlquist's point is very scary, though, if you think about it long enough.

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Re: Glass Books Question #19 ~ Computers & Glass Books

Unread postby fansmom » Fri Jan 23, 2009 4:34 pm

nebraska wrote:When I share thoughts and feelings on line, I sometimes feel as if I am journaling and the responses that come back to me are as much my own internal dialogue as they are the real responses of real persons on another computer out there somewhere.
Hey, I'm real!

nebraska wrote:Mr. Dahlquist's point is very scary, though, if you think about it long enough.
Hmm, the intern here at work and I were just talking about the dangers of putting too much personal information up on facebook. (Not that I've ever been on facebook . . .)

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Re: Glass Books Question #19 ~ Computers & Glass Books

Unread postby Liz » Fri Jan 23, 2009 4:37 pm

fansmom wrote:
Liz wrote: the Internet is a very powerful force that disseminates information instantly…..whether it be accurate or not. :-O
Liz, did you see this?

"Wikipedia: Black and white and wrong all over. Free-content Web site is your No. 1 source for late-breaking inaccuracies."
Apparently on Tuesday, some ghoul repeatedly changed Wikipedia to show that Ted Kennedy was dead.

:yikes: That is just awful! I'm glad that I combine my use of Wiki with other sources.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Glass Books Question #19 ~ Computers & Glass Books

Unread postby gemini » Fri Jan 23, 2009 6:22 pm

fansmom wrote:
nebraska wrote:When I share thoughts and feelings on line, I sometimes feel as if I am journaling and the responses that come back to me are as much my own internal dialogue as they are the real responses of real persons on another computer out there somewhere.
Hey, I'm real!

nebraska wrote:Mr. Dahlquist's point is very scary, though, if you think about it long enough.
Hmm, the intern here at work and I were just talking about the dangers of putting too much personal information up on facebook. (Not that I've ever been on facebook . . .)


There is something to talking to people we know are real but not seeing them that has the feeling you describe, Nebraska. Sometimes I find it strange to learn so much more about people I dont know than some of those I see daily.

I think the computer can be a place of great enjoyment or a dangerous place because we sometimes forget how it is connected to real people out there.
(like facebook or myspace and many sites where bloggers go to find and meet othes in the real world.) Here it does resemble the glass books for danger.

I was rather thinking of it resembling the glass books for pleasure when I compared it to my computer experience. The Internet is like the rest of the world, it holds many truths, many errors, and even danger but I still find it fascinating and addicting just like I do the world.
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Re: Glass Books Question #19 ~ Computers & Glass Books

Unread postby Liz » Fri Jan 23, 2009 8:42 pm

Well, we are all real here and are connecting to each other even if it is not in person. Maybe we do share here or in email more than we would with those who we see every day. Sometimes it is a lot easier for me to express myself in the written word than in person. I have more time to think about what I want to say because I’m not on the spot, and I don’t forget as easily what I want to say, which can happen to me when I get nervous or bashful. And I’m a lot more articulate in my writing than in my conversation. But I also think that there is a certain safety in posting anonymously here vs. on Facebook. I joined Facebook about a month ago because a local friend invited me. As I was filling out my profile and posting a pic I became very uncomfortable. I have posted my picture here and it has not bothered me. But the idea of posting my picture along with my full name gave me the creeps…so much so that I deleted my account after a couple of weeks.

Gemini, I’m addicted to the computer and Internet also. It can be very hard to pull myself away at times. And I go through withdrawal when I am unable to access the Internet.
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Re: Glass Books Question #19 ~ Computers & Glass Books

Unread postby stroch » Fri Jan 23, 2009 11:27 pm

His statement that our basic social assumptions are changing is true. It is just astonishing to me to go to a bar -- let's call it a tavern or a pub -- where people go to meet and be with other people and watch all the younger people sitting next to each other texting someone else.

My students are constantly wired -- via cell phone, ipods, or laptops, and they interact more with the virtual world than the physical one. They have grown up in the digital age, and that's what they know.

It amazes me that people post such intimate details about their lives on line. Just think how well we got to know people in Wisconsin via their blogs -- probably better than we know some of our neighbors.

Can't wait to see what the next decade will bring.
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Re: Glass Books Question #19 ~ Computers & Glass Books

Unread postby Liz » Sat Jan 24, 2009 2:53 am

Stroch, speaking of texting and the next decade….I was having a conversation with my brother-in-law on New Years day about how our kids text constantly in the presence of other people—especially us. They can say whatever they want about us, and we are none the wiser. He suggested that at some point someone will develop a way for people to communicate in the same fashion but without having to talk or type. He was speaking of mind to mind somehow. That really creeped me out. And it made me think of Glass Books.
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Re: Glass Books Question #19 ~ Computers & Glass Books

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat Jan 24, 2009 12:52 pm

It's true that the experience one saw via the glass books was a real one while something experienced via the internet can be true or not - anyone can be what they want to be to some extent when there is no face to face conversation.

Dahlquist's point, "I think communication technology is changing so fast that our basic social assumptions are being constantly nudged without our realizing it", is a good one. I'm sure sitting down and writing a letter would seem quite unnecessary to the current generation of young people, they don't even have to pass notes in class anymore, they just text. :lol: We were at dinner the other night and a table of high school girls was sitting next to us. While they were talking to each other they were constantly texting with someone else. Liz, as you and your brother-in-law discussed this can create some challenges for parents. Social predators have certainly taken advantage of places like My Space and Facebook. Employers now regularly check such sites as a part of the interview process. There also seems to be the potential for individuals to become more isolated in society. We don't have to interact with each other face to face anymore and we can become more anonymous. Just look how many people walking down the street are isolated from their fellow pedestrians by their iPods or their cell phones. On the other hand, this instant communication has allowed the world to become a smaller place and gives us the opportunity to learn about and understand other cultures and ideas that are foreign to our own.
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Re: Glass Books Question #19 ~ Computers & Glass Books

Unread postby Liz » Sat Jan 24, 2009 4:00 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:On the other hand, this instant communication has allowed the world to become a smaller place and gives us the opportunity to learn about and understand other cultures and ideas that are foreign to our own.

And I would be devastated (beyond repair) if all of a sudden tomorrow we woke up, and there was no more Internet. :ohno:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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