That Social Networking Thing

January 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

Two mortifying things:

1.  I don’t have a Facebook page.

2.  I have a Twitter account, but I don’t use it.

I know:  it’s weird.  I read an article yesterday on technorati.com in which some interesting statistics were listed about Facebook:  that it has over 500 million users; that 70% of those users are outside the US; and that of people who are active on the web, 1 in 4 has a Facebook page and they’re really into it.  Apparently so much so that about 24% of active Facebook users admit to checking their pages FROM BED as the last thing they do before turning in.  Wow.

And, gross!  What on earth is that important?  I know I sound like an old person complaining about “kids today.”  But seriously, what is the big deal?  I’ve glanced at a few of my friends’ pages.  They are, at best, inane.  “My kid said this today…” then seventeen people reply back something like “isn’t that cute?!” or “how about that?” or the ubiquitous “LOL.”

I don’t have a Facebook page because I don’t believe in sending out news flashes about myself.  And Twitter is even worse.  Does anyone need to know that you read a billboard today on your way to work that made you cry?   Or that your kid still has a scratchy throat? Or that your dog ate your homework?

It reminds me of those salespeople that used to come to people’s houses or even call on the phone–back in the day before people had caller id and answering machines and therefore actually answered their phones.  Maybe they made the sale with you or didn’t, but they always ended with, “…and if you give me the numbers of two or three friends or family members…”  And of course you DIDN’T give them those numbers.  Because what would they do with them?  Call and pester your family and friends!  No decent person would condemn people they  loved (or even just liked a little) to that fate.

Yet that’s what Twitter and Facebook do to people every day.  They’re the modern-day equivalent of the door to door salesmen.  The digital version of the phone solicitor.  People used to put up signs, “No Soliciting.”  I remember  them from when I was a kid selling Girl Scout cookies around the apartment complexes in my neighborhood.  I still see them here and there.  People put them up because they don’t want to be bothered.   Yet they allow countless updates from Twitter, Facebook, or RSS feeds to bombard them with information like, “Margo just completed the 5K with a personal best of 19 minutes!” or “Jared Smith has published his latest article on ESPN.com.”

I know the irony here:  I’m posting on a blog.  I hope some people will actually read this blog.  I’d like to make money from my writing which of course requires me to interact with people who will be reading my writing.  But isn’t there still a time when things get turned off?  Like when they used to play the national anthem after the 11 PM news and then the station went off the air.  Even HBO used to close down for the night.  Maybe that’s what it is:  Twitter, Facebook, email, text, IM’ing–it’s like the last barrier has come down.  As if now, not only are the grocery stores, gas stations, TV networks and movie channels all 24/7, but all us people are, too.

And you know what?  I hate that!  I think there needs to be more turning off:  as in the lights, the TV, the phone.  And a time when everyone goes off the air.  Like Tracey Ullman used to say,  “go home!”

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