In 1989 I started high school. They had experimental classes and you could indicate preferences on a form. My first choice was epistemology, second was IT. Epistemology was already full so I got sent to the IT class instead, but unfortunately there was no teacher. Apparently when they invented the class they had not noticed that IT teachers did not exists yet in high school in 1989. So they sent in the maths teacher, who looked at us in disgust, applied a few drops of perfume on her wrist from a bottle she used to wear as a necklace pendant and declared “I have no idea what coding is”. So she simply taught maths for two additional hours per week, for the next five years. There was still the IT lab technician, a handsy twentysomething who was too short for my likings anyway. I didn’t even consider him a proper grown-up, he was more like a failed student they kept locked in the lab to guard the 8-inch floppy disks. So we learned a bit of Turbo Pascal by studying it on a book and we would write some code just for fun, me and friend A. I mean. No one else was even remotely interested in coding anyway.
Later on I learned there was actually someone somewhere, but they happened to be all in technical schools or at home faking the flue, while in fact they were furiously typing on a cool thing called Amiga and experimenting with BBSes.
Then came a very hot word, cyperpunk. Then came Microserfs. When I was given Baudrillard to read at uni I knew exactly were I was, I had entered a brand new level of collective consciousness, and it felt great.
Now people apparently can’t live without Facebook, the most aesthetically displeasing of social networks and major newspapers report that coding will be soon taught in primary schools. I have now entered the meh level of collective consciousness.
Only Coupland still makes sense to me.
What makes 2012 so much more interesting than 1912 is that we now have this thing called the Internet in our lives, and this Internet thingy has, in the most McLuhanistic sense, become a true externalization of our interior selves: our memories, our emotions, so much of our entire sense of being and belonging. The Internet has taken something that was once inside us and put it outside of us, has made it searchable, mashable, stealable and tinkerable. The Internet, as described by William Gibson, is a massive consensual hallucination, and at this point in history, not too many people would disagree.