What will our children think of the real-time web?

Not now, but rather… in a few years: what will today’s young children think of the real-time web we’ve posted them to? When they’re old enough to think through what it means. When they’re a teenager going through the awkward years. When they’re getting out of college, looking for a job. When they’re out on a date.

How will their experience be different, when all the world can watch exactly how they grew up?

Little Ryan Soroush Scoble – only a few days old now – will have a chance to live that life. One inside of the real-time web, right from the very beginning after his C-section entry into the world. His father, @scobleizer has publicly Tweeted, FriendFeed’, Posterous’d, flicrk’d, blogged, and a wide variety of other online tool’d the whole process. And I can only imagine he’ll continue the quest for good technology behind the real-time web as Ryan gets to grow up.

When do you think Ryan will figure out what the internet is, and be excited about all this cool stuff about him that he can see live, right now? (I guess 3 years old.) When do you think Ryan will realize that maybe it’s not so cool, and he wishes his dad hadn’t posted that video of him doing (insert embarassing pre-teen moment here)? (My bet is before 10.)

In some ways I had a similar early childhood, with a father who was a technology geek and a photographer. I remember baby pictures (of course), birthday and holiday pictures, and pictures of me every year the first day of school (every year), and sometimes the second day of school, and sometimes my haircut… But those were all private pictures; ones shared only with close family, and now, mostly lost somewhere in the maze of the basement. Heck, even today, even with my high-tech life and open source contributions, there’s still only a handful of pictures of me easily findable on the net. And videos, or stories about me on the net? Only the ones I choose to post, now that I’m an adult.

How will the continuing information revolution change our lives with this brand new and very personal sharing that easy blogs, flickr, and Facebook have given us? It’s an interesting question for adults, far beyond the simple “Dude, did you really mean to post that kegger on FB?”, but one that’s been discussed plenty. What I wonder is, how will it affect our children – those who aren’t aware enough to decide their fates now – what they’ll think about it later, when they realize what their parents did.

I sense an imbalance in the force

A couple of unusual things have happened in the past two days which make me suspicious that there’s an imbalance in the force. That, or I’m just stressed and tired from overbusy $dayjob work, ApacheCon planning, and social events coming at the same time.

  • The Lexington (MA) Stop & Shop has no smoked salmon. OK, they have a little: two brands, one of which is out of stock and the other had 3 four oz. packages left. How can a major Lexington Stop & Shop not have smoked salmon to go with my bagels?
  • When googling “zeff photo coupon belmont, ma”, one of the top 10 hits was to the Star Bulletin, the online version of a Hawaiian newspaper. How in the world did a listing for a local Belmont, MA photo store get into a newspaper in Hawaii? Even so, why would it be relevant?
  • Trying to choose between a super-compact point-and-shoot camera with at least a 5x zoom lens, it turns out that none of the local camera shops carry the camera I think I want, the Sony DSC-T500. Sigh. And of the other models I’d consider – the Nikon S60 and one of the ELPH’s – no camera shop nearby has both models in stock to see in person.

Color me curious that something odd is going on today.