Saturday, August 15, 2009
The Facebook Intervention
I love the internet. Seriously. I love it. I blog, I Facebook, I Twitter; I love it. I find it a wonderful little outlet of thought and idea. Since I’d be writing anyway why should I not do so electronically?
I also play poker; badly, mind you, but I play. I sit in on one of the longest standing poker games in Southern New Jersey. It is a group of interesting souls who make up the seven who sit around that table, including yours truly. We meet and play on the first Friday of each month. So, it was no surprise that on 8/7/09, that is where I was. We grilled and it was great. We played cards and that was a lot of fun too. And then came the intervention. After one hand of Texas Hold ‘Em one of my comrades told a story of his wife giggling about some piece of silliness that I wrote on Facebook. Apparently I had used the words, “good night”.
“Why… WHY, on God’s green earth would you say “good night” to anyone on Facebook? I just don’t get it.” Said the man to my left. The man to my left happens to be quite computer savvy and in some circles he is near the top of his game.
“Yeah, it doesn’t make any sense.” Said the man to my right. He is a brilliant man as well.
“I don’t have the time for any of that stuff.” Said the man opposite of me.
“Hey, I just got on to share photos with my family.” Said the man next to him trying to distance himself from yours truly in any way possible for the moment. He could see the tide turn.
“Yeah, you Twitter to, don’t you?” another asked who happens to be on Facebook as well.
“Yes, I do.” I said with a smile.
“You know what I think it is?” the man to my left asked. “It is just a group of people starved for attention. Look at me! Look at me!”
“Like a narcissist.” I said.
“Yes.” He said. So why do you do it? Why do you think that I CARE what you have to say?”
“Well, I think you can make a case for narcissism in some cases when it comes to Facebook.” I said. “But you would be painting with broad brushstrokes.” I understand that whether you care about what is written on Facebook or do not is subjective and up to the reader to decide. “If you don’t like what you read stop reading it. That’s why they make so many flavors of ice cream.”
“Then why?” Asked the man to my right.
“Social networking. It’s a tool.” I said. “Facebook is a wonderful way to be personably impersonal.
“That does not answer the question.”
“Look, I don’t have to tell any of you sitting here at this table how much I despise the phone.” There was a general nodding of heads around the table. They know (and now you do too, Gentle Reader) that I hate talking on the telephone. The contraption just demands entirely too much of my attention at any one time. I like information in digestible, well reasoned, bits – say in an email, on Facebook or on Twitter. It is simple; to the point, and just how I like it. “Facebook is a social tool. How the reader reads it or does NOT read it is purely up to them.” The simple fact of the matter is that’s the way it is with anything. I could tell you that there is a wonderful world to be found in the pages of a book but unless you pick it up and read one for yourself it is pretty much moot. People either will accept a message or reject it. The gentlemen on either side of me remain in a reject it frame of mind.
Oh well. These friends of mine and I just don’t socialize on Facebook. And the world keeps on moving. We socialize while playing cards and that is a good thing.
As for narcissism, “I” am one of my favorite subjects but I am more than well aware that the world does not revolve around me, my blog, my Facebook account or my Twitter feed. These gentlemen were casting aspersions that it did. Ah the power of the written word – even if it is electronic in nature. And, dare I say, even if those casting stones did not have their own Facebook or Twitter accounts.
Que sara sara.
As much as I hate the telephone I wonder how many people said to Alexander Graham Bell, “Why would you ever want to use THAT thing?” Only Bell knows and he’s not saying. I guarantee he heard it though. Fast forward to a hot summer night in 2009 with a group of friends sitting around a poker table some willing to use a different form of communication and some not. No matter what technological advance may come to us now or in the future there are going to be those who resist. Some will get it some will not.
Oh well. Que sara sara.
As for yours truly, Gentle Reader, I know enough about addiction to see that I have not yet hit rock bottom. It is only from the bottom that I can truly make progress and admit that I have a problem. Until then, I’ll see you on Facebook, on Twitter, and right here on the electronic pages of Chicken Scratch – LONG MAY SHE WAVE!