You email your report, check the position of your stocks, play your favourite Rahman, and upload new patches for your favourite simulation game—all using the same three-inch-by-five device that fits into your palm. You chat, share, play and blog, even check for directions to the new Italian restaurant in town online. Everyday life is now digital.
Digital Cool examines life in the age of New Media. From Facebook to Internet dating, tablets to Twitter, cyber avatars to Wikis—it tells the story of how human lives today are heavily mediated by ‘cool’ technologies, and how the technologies themselves are mediated by our ways of living, playing, working.
‘Digital Cool’ is simultaneously about individualisation, with its make-believe detachment (‘Cool’), and the fierce collectivism facilitated by New Media. There’s the young woman waiting for the tube while swishing through the bestseller she’s just bought on her iPad, indifferent to her surroundings; there is also the fury of the mainly online Pink Chaddis campaign of 2009, the collaborative radical political critique of kafila.org, or the arrival of Spring in Tahrir, with its unforgettable images of Google executive Wael Ghonim coordinating revolution on Facebook, accessed on his smartphone.
US Congressmen tweeted President Obama’s first State of the Union address as he spoke, the world was alerted to Andres Iniesta’s World Cup-winning goal on Twitter, and the incredible landing of US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson was first reported on the microblogging site. Twitter is today the cool way to update ‘followers’; YouTube is the platform on which a participatory culture and the sense of belonging to a community play out.
Digital technology empowers, enthuses, informs and mediates new forms of community, activism and identity. Culture jamming, participatory journalism and commons knowledge are all components of the activist new media, but also of popular culture.
Wide-ranging, accessible and incisive---welcome readers, to the world of Digital Cool! Click here to enter.
Pramod K. Nayar teaches at the department of English, University of Hyderabad.
He is a widely published author. His previous publications include:
The Digital Everyday: Mediated Lives and Cool Technologies
Chapter 1 ‘Only Connect’ I: Mobile Communications
Chapter 2 Game for Anything: Digital Play
Chapter 3 ‘Only Connect’ II: New Socialities
Chapter 4 Geography Lessons: Digitised Spaces
Chapter 5 From Inactive to Interactive: Reality Media
Chapter 6 Genetic Muses: Posthuman Arts
Cool Lives and Mediated Technologies: The Posthuman