In my last post, I reported on a study showing that people massively underestimate how often they use their smartphones. People consult their phones almost three times more frequently than they think they do. Yesterday, Pew came out with the results of a new survey that revealed that more than a fifth of Americans, and more than a third of young Americans, report being online “almost constantly.” Given people’s tendency to underreport gadget use, “almost constantly” means “constantly.”
Media seeks sovereignty over all experience, and its goal would seem to be in reach. “Ever in flux and process, reality cannot be approached directly,” wrote Siegfried Giedion in his 1948 masterpiece Mechanization Takes Command. “Reality is too vast, and direct means fail. Suitable tools are needed, as in the raising of an obelisk. In technics, as in science and art, we must create the tools with which to dominate reality.” An easier option is to use the tools others create for us.