March 31st, 2012
We have become a generation of inspirational stamp collectors. With the proliferation of lightweight infographics posted on Pinterest and Facebook, we have outsourced the personal tweet and the status update.
We are present at a pivotal moment in the decline of modern civilization. The preeminence of these prepackaged ponderings is a step forward in our relentless march to illiteracy. Lightweight infographics are the SMS of critical thinking.
We have reached a point in our rhetorical inclinations where we have outsourced the tweet. We’ve gone from the hand-written letter to the email to the text message in less than 10 years. And now we have lost the desire to write 140 characters, or a few dozen words, of our own thoughts and post them for our friends to see. So instead we like, retweet, reblog, and repin the thoughts of others.
Maybe it’s not a function of time. Maybe we lack the confidence to stand behind our own thoughts, and must borrow them from other people who seem to be smarter, more credible, or more erudite than we are. With a few clicks we can either post or share something seemingly profound, or add a comment as we nod in knowing agreement, “It’s funny ’cause it’s true!”
Where do we go next? Enterprising Web 2.0 entrepreneurs have already launched sites where you can enter your own thoughts and automatically generate one of these graphics, so maybe there is a way to reintroduce original thinking back into the process.
Pinterest is the first step in automating the unoriginal thought curation process. Today, you have to go in and click “repin” to repost the things you like. Soon, we will have the option to have Pinterest, or a third-party add-on, automatically repin graphics, based on our profiles and repinning history, at pre-set intervals, so we don’t have to do a thing.