According to Wikipedia, infatuation is the state of being completely carried away by unreasoning passion or love. Infatuation usually occurs at the beginning of a relationship.
I’ve come to realize over the past year that my life is based on a continued string of infatuations that have carried me forward. I am not talking about the traditional sense of infatuation as being characterized by sexual desire, but more that urgency & intensity of being completely absorbed in what you are doing. I am most aware of this passion as it relates to music, literature, and technology.
As I think back on it, there was a time that I thought Aerosmith made the best music on the planet. I was so completely absorbed in that idea for several months that I didn’t listen to anything else. I had to hear everything they had recorded up to that point. When my Aerosmith attachment faded, I was convinced that MeatLoaf was singularly the best recording artist on the planet. More recently it was Neil Diamond, then Coldplay. I get so enamored by a single song that it takes me down the road of fully exploring the artist’s discography. I’ve listened to a lot of B sides that I wouldn’t have otherwise heard because of this infatuation.
In the realm of literature it has been Stephen King, then Dean Koontz, then David & Leigh Eddings, then Wayne Dyer, and more recently Jim Butcher. There have been others, but they didn’t have that large of a body of work at the time I discovered them, so the infatuation wore off pretty quickly; you can only read one or two books so many times before you get bored.
Infatuation with technology follows much the same formula as it does with music and literature. I remember my first email account and how I signed up for every single listserv that I could locate. In those days someone published an electronic mail yellow pages, and I mean actually physically published it. It looked much like that standard telephone yellow pages that are still being thrown on our lawns.
One of the listservs that I was so very excited by was on Astronomy. The idea that a group of Astronomy buffs and respected astronomers could communicate with one another over vast distances thrilled me beyond words. There wasn’t much spam in those days and every email was important. Then I found IRC and realized that I could chat instead of emailing. It never held my attention the way email did. It wasn’t until ICQ came along that I realized how awesome chatting could be.
The next tech fascination for me after email came with the introduction of the Mosaic Web Browser. Now we could all surf the web, not that there was much out there. I find it rather odd that I don’t recall the first page I “surfed” on to. I do remember the first time I visited Yahoo. It’s probably the fact that Yahoo was around first that delayed my switch to Google as my primary web search utility until 2003 or 2004.
In 1995, my focus shifted from browsing to building and it was on GeoCities that I built my first webpage. If I recall correctly, there was no advertising during the early period, but you did have to find a “region” to “homestead” and I thought was a little much, but I liked it all the same.
In the late 90’s and early into this century the flood gates opened and the web exploded into everyone’s homes. It lost a lot of charm during that period and I was fairly sure it was going to become some commerce driven monstrosity and that I’d buy things on ebay, Amazon, pets.com and that be the end of it. Of course, that all collapsed in on itself, and a new term was coined, the Dot-com bubble.
Around that time, I discovered blogs, although it took me a while to see the worth in them and even longer to start one. It really wasn’t until I found WordPress sometime in late 2004 that the possibility of blogging started to excite me. Reading blogs was and is much more interesting, though I am no longer enthralled with Google Reader like I was in the beginning, I still use it every day. I was mildly intrigued with Wikipedia, but I’ve always liked a good encyclopedia.
Today, well I am unsure. I want to be excited by Twitter, FriendFeed, Plurk, Disqus, Mento, and the many other “social media” platforms out there. I like them all, but the fire of passion hasn’t been stoked hot enough to capture my full attention. The same is true with streaming media, I think it is cool and revolutionary, but my heart does not go pitter patter at it’s presence. This holds true for mobile media, although push email and RIM have made me more excited about email in recent years. In fact, Xobni has made me a little more excited about my regular mail box, but not to the point of infatuation.
So what’s next? I have no idea, but I am waiting for it.