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The Lawnmower Man Effect

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 confidently speculate that we all have a deep-seated need to be connected.  This is often driven by our peers and the excitement surrounding social media and technology, all compounded by numerous and favorable data packages offered by both fixed and cellular providers – nowadays, we have every opportunity to ensure our daily IP-fix.

I have penned the term, the Lawnmower Man Effect (LME). Image LME is used to conceptualize a new generation of consumers who seek this perpetual connection or, as I have suggested, our daily IP-fix.  It originated from the 1992 film starring Jeff Fahey and Pierce Brosnan, The Lawnmower Man.  In the film, 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 and we remain emphatically connected to one large virtual community.


The Lawnmower Man Effect (LME) represents the consumers 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.

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, Facebook or Google+ message.  Indeed, there are some who are eager to oust their colleague to become Mayor of a popular establishment on Foursquare.  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 and instead, we all have 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 global, indirectly supported by the Lawnmower Man Effect.

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  • Daguyoverhere's picture
    Aug 21 Posted 4 years ago Daguyoverhere

    Well, at the end of the original (never bothered looking at the inferior sequel,) the lead character falls into his machine unable to re-emerge into reality.  It seems to me that that is a metaphor for people who need an alternate reality too much.  Constant consumerist consumption on a daily basis seems to be more of an addiction than a liberation.  My original comment was just a plea for us all to recognize the lack of civil public discourse in our governance (might have gone off on a tagent there.)  All these terms can be easily defined at  I am in favor of the internet as a means of increased public communication & agree the film "The Lawnmower Man" was a significant work of art.

  • grattonboy's picture
    Aug 21 Posted 4 years ago grattonboy

    'Daguyoverhere' to be honest, I have no idea to what you're referring to - your rhetoric baffles me.


    I simply used an analogy; a conceptualisation of how we (consumers) have become so reliant on the need to remain permanently connected (to the Internet).  As such, I created the term, the Lawnmower Man Effect to explain how this need is perceived.


    That"s all.


    Best wishes


  • Daguyoverhere's picture
    Aug 21 Posted 4 years ago Daguyoverhere

    Seems to me that movie didn't have a very happy conclusion, so I'm not sure how to interpret the tone of your post.  If we all limit ourselves to socializing with those who agree with us outside (or inside) of the public sphere we're turning away from the founding tenet of civil public discourse that allowed us to reach an American common ground. Civil public discourse with those who disagree with us leads to guarantees for all of essential basic freedoms and the pursuit of happiness we all recognize as universally fundamental & self evident.  Without civil PUBLIC discourse we appear to be on the road to some mutated form of a Fascist Oligarchal Governmental manipulation from those blinded by an overwhelming addiction to Greed & Power.

    So the LME could have a disastrous result, especially if you're tying to the plot of the original movie.



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