Peter Rojas is the cofounder and editor-in-chief of Engadget, which is a daily weblog covering gadgets, consumer electronics and personal technology. He is also the cofounder of Joystiq, a weblog which covers video games. Rojas has worked as a contributing editor at Cargo, an editor-at-large at Sync, a technology editor of VMan, and a columnist for The Guardian, writing on emerging technology. He is a frequent contributor to a variety of publications both on- and off-line and appears on radio and television regularly as a technology commenter. Rojas was educated at Harvard University and the University of Sussex. He lives in New York City.
Question: How is technology changing the way we live?
Peter Rojas: Well it’s changing in . . . in so many ways that it’s . . . It’s one I think, you know, the Internet facilitates an intimacy which is difficult . . . It can be diff . . . It can facilitate an intimacy that can be difficult, you know, when you’re interacting with someone in real life. It can make people . . . obviously make people feel comfortable going into the chat rooms, and chatting, and sharing, you know, intimate details of their lives anonymously with people in chat rooms, or in Second Life, or other online areas because they feel protected by the anonymity. And then they become close, and then maybe even reveal their real identity to people. So it’s sort of becomes like a lubricant for that kind of intimacy, which I know sounds kind of weird, but . . . You know it . . . It can help facilitate, you know, those sorts of things. I also think that it gives us some news ways to connect and . . . and . . and become friends, but also to . . . to deepen our relationships and friendships with people that we already know. I find it interesting that . . . that, you know, the friends of mine who aren’t . . . don’t use Instant Messenger very much tend to be the people . . . or are becoming people that I am less intimate with – less close to. And it’s not that we’re, you know, don’t have anything in common. It’s more that being able to very quickly connect with someone on a regular basis like that . . . It becomes sort of like a lifeline; sort of like a tie that binds you to another person. And that’s what Facebook and other social network sites have become for a lot of young people. They way that they sort of bind together their social . . . you know their social life. And people that don’t participate in those things, it’s not that they’re not gonna have friends or they’re not gonna . . . It’s just that those friendships are gonna be different. And you know what seems natural about the way you interact with someone is different now.
Recorded on: 10/2/07