Nora Young on what our virtual selves are building

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Nora Young / The Virtual Self

As we Like, tweet, post, pin and share our way through our daily lives, we're adding to a staggering repository of information. Exactly what are we creating – and do we have a choice in how it's used?

That's the question Nora Young poses in her new book The Virtual Self: How Our Digital Lives Are Altering the World Around Us. The host of CBC Radio's technology series Spark came to Vancouver last night and spoke to a packed Third Tuesday crowd about how we can – and should – start asking ourselves what we want all of this shared information to add up to. It could be a future of everything from smart cities to crowd-sourced disaster relief – or a future where our own information is used to manipulate us against our own interests.

Here are my sketchnotes (click for a larger version):

Sketchnotes from Nora Young's presentation

If you've listened to Spark, then you'll know Nora is a very sharp thinker – and that she avoids falling into either digital utopianism or knee-jerk fear of the new. And if you've heard one of her presentations (I say this as someone who had to follower her very hard-act-to-follow keynote at Northern Voice a few years ago), you'll know she's a warm, engaging speaker. So you'll want to catch one of her upcoming appearances: Third Tuesdays in Toronto June 25 and Ottawa June 27 (with tickets including a copy of the book, and free admission for students), the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival September 16, Word on the Street Toronto September 23, Edmonton's LitFest September 28 and 29, and Toronto's International Festival of Authors in October.

(One last thing: great events like this happen when a few terrific already-busy people become even busier. Thanks, Tod Maffin and Joe Thornley, for making Third Tuesday such a great series of events.)


Joseph Thornley says

June 25, 2012 - 4:54am
Rob, I love the Sketchnotes you created at Nora's Third Tuesday Vancouver appearance. It's a totally new Virtual Nora. And thank you for your kind words. It's the community in Vancouver that makes it's Third Tuesday so interesting. And Tod is bringing them together. With the positive reaction to Nora and the other speakers this year, I hope we'll continue to be able to attract interesting speakers next year.

Rob Cottingham says

June 25, 2012 - 2:25pm
Nora sets a high bar... but then, so does our community. :) Thanks again Joe (and Tod!!) for all you've done.

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