You’ve probably seen this commercial. Two guys in lawn chairs at a tailgate party entranced with their cell phones. Every time a real person comes into the scene to ask a question, the lawn chair guys have the answer that they smugly give with the tagline, “That so ___ – seconds ago.”
Now, I get it. AT&T, known for their fickle technology, wants to convince us that their network is fast, and so they put these quirky commercials together to demonstrate that their phones are fast.
In another one, two women are sitting side-by-side in a cafeteria, equally dazed by their cell phones. When one character asks the two if they knew Fred was leaving, the girls reveal that they had already thrown the party and consumed half the face-cake. They show an online video to prove it.
Beyond the humor, though, there is a disturbing commentary found in these commercials. And not just the “get your head out of your cell phone” rant that many people angrily posted in the comment section of YouTube.
All good humor stems from a little truth. And in this case, there is this idea that life happens faster and fuller on the internet, and that what we find going on in front of us is a delayed reflection of our online experiences.
In other words, living in the 4D world is like a quaint, boring Victorian movie where women wear dresses that go up to their necks and men where wigs and tights. Living online is “the now.”
Further, you have the opportunity to become a part of “the now,” even if you are nowhere near the actual site. Just look at the top ten hashtags for 2011. Among them were #egypt, #tigerblood, and #japan.
Not only did these hashtags give people an opportunity to read about what was going on “live,” but also to comment about it in “real time,” and in so doing experience the event as a participant.
Historians, hundreds of years from now, just might read what you tweeted, making your words primary source material.
Thus, the AT&T commercials aren’t just highlighting a faster technology, but a faster reality. A new state of hyper reality that we seem to be heading toward, where what’s happening to us in the physical world is already in the past