It's interesting to witness the seismic shift instant messaging has created. When a Big, Important Event is taking place, say a concert or sporting event (or even a first date), we're now expected to send reports from the field using our iPhone or Blackberry. Rather than simply experiencing life, we're asked to record life, placing it in tidy digital context for others.
This isn't surprising: much of what we think we "like" are things we sense we're expected to like. Our tribe tells us what's important, and by reporting back to the tribe, we reaffirm our sense of belonging. Twittering and posting about how awesome the Super Bowl is only confirms what everyone senses deep inside: the Super Bowl sucks. But wait -- the Super Bowl is important! If we're at the Super Bowl, therefore we're important.
Mad Men's Matthew Weiner touches on this:
"When I look at digital, the dark side of it for me is the physicality that's being presented alongside the Internet. I think about that movie The Matrix, and about these bodies that are human batteries that support computers. I met this guy who was creating software where you could watch Mad Men and you could chat with your friend while you're watching it, and things would pop up, and facts would pop up, and I said, "You're a human battery. Turn the fucking thing off! You're not allowed to watch the show anymore. You're missing the idea of sitting in a dark place and having an experience. Are you just like sitting with your phone and you're kissing your girlfriend and saying, 'I'm kissing my girlfriend! This is so great, we're having sex!'" EXPERIENCE THINGS!"
Before long, the idea of recording an individual's entire life, cradle to grave, will be reality. We'll no longer speculate if a George Washington really chopped down that cherry tree - we'll just refer back to his Twitters for proof. The internet will be full of these archived "Lives Lived" for us to study. How will yours measure up?