Lawnmower Man Effect: Our Need For Virtual Perpetual Connection

We’re all connected. As consumers, we all crave a perpetual connection to the wide area network or, as we commonly understand it, the Internet. Personally, I am at a total loss if I’m deprived of my daily IP-fix. I think I can say with some confidence that we all have a deep-seated need to be connected. This is often driven by our peers and the furor surrounding social media and technology, further compounded by numerous and favorable data packages ensuring we get our daily IP-fix.

I have penned the Lawnmower Man Effect (LME), which is taken from my forthcoming book, The Handbook of Personal Area Networking Technologies and Protocols, Cambridge University Press, 2013. The LME is used to conceptualize a new generation of consumers who seek this perpetual connection or, as I have suggested, their daily IP-fix. My supposition originates from the 1992 film starring Jeff Fahey and Pierce Brosnan, The Lawnmower Man.

In The Lawnmower Man, we witness Brosnan’s character conducting several experiments on Fahey using virtual reality to increase his overall intelligence. However, despite Fahey’s character’s malevolent motivation, he eventually becomes physically embodied within the Internet and has an ability to traverse IP-based systems across the globe.

In short, the Lawnmower Man Effect likewise typifies our modern day ability to similarly traverse IP systems across the globe irrespective of our location. We can be sat at our computer, waiting for a train or cheering at a sporting event where we remain emphatically connected to one large virtual community.

I could arguably suggest that social media is perhaps responsible for our psychological shift to ensure we remain ‘virtually’ available. In a society that often demands “We want it now,” it seems we can no longer wait for that all important email; tweet, ‘Like’ or message. The vibrant shift in communication through social media has given rise to a new revolution of fresh knowledge and curation – all supported by a culture through virtual communities mapped across our virtual space.

We all have a voice and we want to be heard!

Suitably armed with our favorite social media platform, we have collectively banished a one-sided dialogue associated with traditional forms of media broadcasting. Instead, we have all become our own promoters, advocates and cynics. We have instilled a sense of community through social media and have indirectly afforded ourselves a sense of community spirit, albeit virtually.

As participants traversing the Internet, we have spawned our petri-dish-born brand ambassadors. We have all become our own key influencers about an event or topic that motivates us to stand up and shout out, “Let me have my say!” No matter where new technology leads us, we are holistically connected in our virtual community, connecting with other like-minded people across the globe, indirectly supported by the Lawnmower Man Effect.

The Lawnmower Man Effect

“The Lawnmower Man Effect (LME) represents the consumer’s ability to traverse digital systems across the globe, all captained from their personal area networking space utilizing pervasive WAN technologies.”

— Dr. Dean Anthony Gratton,
The Handbook of Personal Area Networking Technologies and Protocols,
Cambridge University Press, 2013.