In Cloud We Trust: Web-Enabled Collective Dependence and Consciousness

In Cloud We Trust: Web-Enabled Collective Dependence and Consciousness

Thoughts on passing an artificial yet telling milestone: using 1000MB of storage space on gmail...

Today I passed the 1000MB mark for storage on gmail "for good." I'd hit the mark several times before recently, but the number receded below 1000MB after I deleted spam and/or trash. Not any more. Although I'm only using 13% of my currently allotted and ever-growing storage space, it still seems like a huge amount for someone whose first computer had 40MB of storage space on its hard drive. It also indicates my growing dependence on storing information on the web, which prompted me to think of the phrase in cloud we trust.

That sounded pretty clever to me, so I immediately Googled it, something I have become accustomed to doing in this emerging age of web-enabled collective consciousness. The phrase "in cloud we trust" produced about 31,200 results on Google dating back to 2009, and it produced 76 results on Yahoo (why such a big difference BTW?). So I was original (in the sense that the phrase originated from within my brain) but hardly the first. Still, I'm thinking about ways to work it into the book manuscript.

By contrast, Googling the phrase "the cyberization of education" yields results which can be traced to just two sources: a Chinese paper which discusses the topic, and postings on this blog. So apparently that's a phrase for which I'm being more "original" relative to other netizens. Which makes me wonder if -- make that how many -- people are going around trying to come up with original phrases and then testing their originality through web searches. An interesting pastime for some, perhaps? An emerging hobby even? Sounds like one I might take up someday for fun.

I also find myself wondering what "for good" means. Things we put on the web have this somewhat odd persistence which is annoying and at times a bit scary -- how long will those postings to comment boards live on anyway? To me, it's another telling characteristic of web dependence that using >1000MB of gmail storage feels like it has a certain permanence to it, which is all the stranger given that Gmail is less than seven years old. So where will all this stored information be in another seven or 70 years?...

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