Posted by: Tony Carson | 20 October, 2009

Google Wave as comment string

Google Wave: it’s billed as ‘the future,’ or what email would be if it were invented today.

At first blush it’s an unfathomable abstraction that combines all current individual communication components into a single synchronized entity. But I wonder if it isn’t much more than that. I wonder if it isn’t an entire paradigm shift.

Throughout history man has invented an infinite variety of ways to communicate, from cave paintings, to printing presses, to computers. In each case, man sought new ways to pull from himself emotions, thoughts and insights as a means of expression and to communicate these expressions to others.

Right from the get-go we knew that what we were holding inside ourselves was original and special and brilliant. And needed to get out.

Man, by her very nature, is a born blogger.

But something has happened in the past few years to change everything. When all the technology, arriving in bits and pieces, finally came together and was synergized with the computer and the world wide web we discovered an unalterable truth: man doesn’t have anything much to say.

True, there is brilliance out there; there are the occasional Goethe and Mozarts and Leonardos but they only occasionally surface out of the morass of amplified mediocrity.

The fact is, once we discovered the ultimate tools to express ourselves to an unprecedentedly large audience we have proven beyond any doubt just how totally mindless man really is.

Happily, that problem hasn’t proven to be insurmountable. The Tchaikovskies of computer code have sized-up the situation for what it is: an opportunity. And they have moved us on.

And it’s the best of all worlds.

In this global village of crushing humanity, buzzing broadband and empty thoughts there are some really, really bright guys in Shanghai and gals in Bangalore and gal-gays in Whichoneofthestands who are fighting really hard to be heard. Can they go it alone? Unlikely. They’re working 24/7 but they’re living in the emerging world, what chance do they have? Not much.

Until now.

Now, we have Google Wave. The Next Step. The Way.

Wave takes it as an unassailable truism that each one of us in the First World has absolutely nothing worthwhile to say. That all the isolated selfs out there, grunting into our blogs, our tweets, our chats have created a cacophony of nothingness, an audio-visual Black Hole.

But, Wave asks, what if these individual nothingnesses could collaborate? What if all these microscopic selves had an opportunity to inter-act before their expression? What would happen then? Could the messages be more than the sum of their mediocre parts? Could a dullard in Duluth collaborate with a genius in Goa and create something of modest value and made in America?

Could we finally break the shackles of thoughts as pedestrian absolutes?

The brains at Wave answered, Yes We Can!

With Wave, thoughts can now grow organically; they can grow in different colours, in real time and never have a conclusion; they can just go on and on and on with increasing collaboration like an interminable comment string after a prickly article.

Today, in the nauseating crush of sameness, the individual has become redundant, superfluous. The self is as dead as an empty thought; as confused as a blog; as sophisticated as a tweet; as profound as a text message.

But, lying pinned and wriggling, if we reach out, if we connect, consult … collaborate, there is a chance that the infinitesimal flicker of brilliance in all of us can join with another and another and another to light the way forward …

or at least to plan a BBQ.


  1. I concur.

  2. I have to admit that this is the best reason for wave I have ever heard!

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