What is home in the connected age?

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This past weekend I ended up having coffee with Craig Mod, who in my mind is one of the best thinkers about world of information, publishing, content and its interplay with human senses, especially on the new mobile devices and digital platforms. He ran a publishing company in Japan and worked for Flipboard and is now working on a plethora of projects.

We ended up talking about a whole range of subjects, but the one I thought was worth sharing was the notion of home. Home, in the connected age is such a fluid concept, given how much we are always moving from one place to another, like proverbial free agents. While I grew up in New Delhi, I feel New York is home. Craig who is from Connecticut moved to Tokyo when he was 19 and thinks of the Japanese metropolis as his home. And the reason, he put so eloquently, we think of these two cities as home is because of our formative experiences. Those experiences define how we view the world.

Our physical interaction with a place defines how we feel about that place. New York’s streets and corners have a story attached to them and I guess that gives a sense of belonging, and in the process act as a markers on the timeline called life. I don’t feel that same way about San Francisco, even though I have lived here for 10 years. I guess, it will always be a place where I live, just not home.

Anyway, if you don’t follow Craig on his blog and on Twitter.

Responses

  1. Sakshi (@sakshichopra5) says:

    April 9th, 2013 at 1:47 am Reply

    I think what you have observed is correct. The place where you build your own personality and relationships, is the place that you can call home. I have stayed in New Delhi, all my life, and I always used to think that it is in Mumbai, that I will find my chance to shine and re-start the story as a grown up. (I did two internship for one month each in Mumbai, that led me to form this opinion). Finally, last year, I got married and 4 months in Mumbai, I realized that the reality of being in this city is much much different than what it was earlier, there are no stories or attachment, just a mechanical city, where every one is working to just make ends meet!
    Lovely article :)

  2. Joana Picq says:

    April 8th, 2013 at 7:58 pm Reply

    I would challenge both of you and say we can have multiple home cities. Not because of the forming years we spent there, but for the mix of forming experiences we share with people who later become life-long friends. South Africa, Paris, the UK and Rio feel like home. And it’s not because I love the culture and the people in all these places, trust me. I bloody can’t stand the parisians, they do my head in… But the friends I have there and what we have lived together in those restaurants, parks, streets and bridges make me embrace the other 2.2M moody people and slow moving tourists.
    I also lived in Munich, Sydney, LA and Colorado but the life-long friends I met there have moved since, so these places are now just places full of great memories, but they don’t feel like home. In fact NYC, Seattle and Vancouver feel more like home these days, although I’ve only visited (even if many times).
    If you have spent 10 years somewhere and it still doesn’t feel like home, you really should stop insisting om ;-) Maybe cities are like people – you can’t marry someone expecting you will change them… You only live once (or if you believe in buddhism you might come back as an insect or animal, but that’s not quite as fun in terms of moving cities) – go home or go make a new home out of a new city!

    1. Om Malik says:

      April 8th, 2013 at 10:42 pm Reply

      Joana

      You are a natural born globe trotter so hard to not see your point of view though I think we shall disagree on this one. Next time I see you we talk about this.

  3. Derek Neighbors says:

    April 8th, 2013 at 7:49 pm Reply

    There is a word, Communitas, that is used in cultural anthropology to describe community spirit, solidarity, and togetherness. It is interesting because usually the common thing characteristic of people describing Communitas experiencing liminality together. I think your definition of home makes sense because it is where you rite of passage connects you.

    1. Om Malik says:

      April 8th, 2013 at 10:40 pm Reply

      Derek

      What a thoughtful response. Thanks for sharing and yes, I do agree… our community experience is what defines the idea of home.

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