Opting Out Of Wearing The Internet

As is always the case, this first full week of re-entry following the holidays has been tough. And maybe this one was tougher than most. The minivan got so cold during the polar vortex that the side doors refused to open, which meant that for about a day and a half, my nine-year-old daughter had to vault over the front seat -- sometimes with her trombone or guitar for music class -- to get into the back.

It also took mammoth amounts of willpower to avoid Christie-fest: the blow-by-blows on the legit news sites, the snarky comments on Facebook, the six-day-long press conferences. I was only semi-successful at avoidance, until I realized that,  yes, if you try really hard, you can book attendees for MediaPost’s upcoming Social Media Insider Summit, at the very same time you’re listening to Chris Christie give Too Much Information about his morning routine. Multitasking at its finest.

But the biggest long-term challenge that came to the fore this week -- thank you, CES! -- was whether I should start wearing the Internet. If you look at Engadget’s list of the alleged best inventions unveiled at the show, you may never feel the same about your ragged sweatshirt again. Among the so-called highlights: the JayBird Reign, one of a slew of “activity-tracking wearables” at the show. It promises to “ log your movements and display related stats, like calories burned and activity duration, then offer up suggestions based on your physical history.”  Did somebody say “NSA”?

Another: the Oculus Rift “Crystal Cove” -- for gaming, I think -- that plunges you into a vibrant virtual world, just by strapping something the size of a shoebox to your head!

And then there’s the Mother, a digital matryoshkadoll made up of a “smart, wireless nesting doll base station and sensor-laden cookies [which] are surprisingly versatile and user-friendly. Rather than picking up multiple modules for different tasks, you can repurpose those tags to monitor everything from distance walked to how many cappuccinos you make in a day.” Good God. I already know I don’t walk enough and drink too much caffeine, OK?

And, finally, let’s spend some time pondering the Mimo Baby Intel, a baby monitor onesie that promises to let “parents know a baby's vital stats, such as activity level and skin temperature.” Brings a whole new patina to the term “helicopter parenting” doesn’t it?

No doubt these items will all have social elements, which will make the whole wearable trend even more grating. Imagine a Twitter feed filled with boasts emitted from digital “clothing” about how many calories their wearer has burned in a given day, or streams of Vines from sweater cameras showing just how great the skiing was. And you were too busy posting your baby’s activity level to Facebook to go out and enjoy it!

Get enthused all you want, people, but if we weren’t there already, we are entering the Too Much Information Era, and we’ll have to fight hard not to be swept up by it. You can start by opting out of wearing the Internet.

On the bright side, though, if Chris Christie were to start wearing a JayBird Reign with built-in Twitter feed, his press conferences would be a little shorter.

2 comments about "Opting Out Of Wearing The Internet".
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  1. George Parker from Parker Consultants, January 14, 2014 at 3:48 p.m.

    Catherine... But the "Wearable Internet," just covers your body... What about the "Internet of Everything?" Then there will be no escape. Now your fridge will bug the crap out of you because your milk is over its sell-by date. Your fresh artisanal milk will be holistically delivered by your personal Amazon curator. Your minivan doors will never freeze up again, because you will never have to leave home... The "Internet of Everything" will have done a "Hal" and locked you in FOREVER!!!

  2. George Parker from Parker Consultants, January 14, 2014 at 3:49 p.m.

    Oh... And your personal Amazon curator will be a drone. G

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