To adapt the phrase “hyperreality” from Baudrillard, who revealed the concept of real life imitating a simulated version of reality. Typically referred to “art imitating life.” But his concept did not stop there, the really hyper part of hyperreality is that the simulated reality is based on the first reality, but when real life imitates the simulated version you get a second version of the first. Now it gets confusing when you compound that with the continued pattern of simulation and the subsequent real life imitation of that simulation. It gets to a point where people’s real lives are so divorced from the original version that they can only identify with simulated or manufactured realities.
Okay, now that the simple explanation is past us: hyperstimulation is the future of communication as we will come to know it. It’s already happening, when you’re watching TV and are simultaneously on a computer/tablet/phone that’s the entry level of hyperstimulation. These multiple channels of information, flowing both to and from each user will compound as we continue to get increasingly accustomed to additional channels.
It’s difficult to imagine getting used to the sensory overload we will see in the near future. Wearable tech is here now, and will only become more sophisticated. Imagine a college student in a classroom, listening to their professor while taking notes on their laptop, while their twitter feed scrolls past their eyes on their glasses, while their smartwatch is monitoring their heartrate in response to various stimuli and sending that data back to a server which notices that your heartrate increases when you see a tweet about a certain topic, it then notifies a database to push out more products/services/information related to that topic. Think contextual ads that display things based on what you tend to look at, but complimented by biometric data that tells computers how you feel about it.
It is because of this that we see the value of information itself approaching zero. Wait, don’t react just yet! Information still holds its original value, however, due to its accessibility and in the coming case of hyperaccessibility you practically don’t even have to pursue it, it is given to you. That is the role of all these media outlets. The greatest value add of the future rests in packaging, and disseminating information, not in the creation of the information.
As people are more and more pressed to view your content, they will want it presented to them in the most digestible, effective, and efficient manner possible. Recently Slate has taken to adding the number of minutes next to headlines to notify their viewers how long any particular piece of information may take to consume. It’s a huge value add and one I wouldn’t be surprised to see become commonplace.
The way we consume information is rapidly changing, and people’s preferences for their method of consumption will be in my next post about Micro-cultures.