Culture Social Media Tech

Newness Is Nowness


What’s new isn’t always better. Sometimes it’s simply an adaption of something old. Facebook is the modern newspaper. Google is the modern phone book. Wikipedia is the newest encyclopedia. Spotify is the record store. Netflix is Blockbuster, etc.

Digital technology is always reformatting experiences from the real world. But occasionally something entirely new emerges and transforms society forever. The first transformative innovation was the railroad. The second was the Internet. These discoveries changed society and culture in every way. We still ride trains. And we’ll be using some iteration of the Internet 100 years from now.

But unlike the old days, all this technology provides too much choice. All you can eat subscriptions and ubiquitous connectivity create a constant need for discovery. There’s zero scarcity. Files are in infinite inventory, and the web is the biggest copy-paste machine.

People crave newness today faster and more than ever. We expect the likes to come in the second after we share something on Instagram. Newton laid the groundwork: for every action, there’s a reaction, but I don’t think he imagined a world where the return would be so instant.

Newness fulfills nowness. Stimulation is the newest obsession.

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.