Thursday, February 11, 2010

The most powerful communication tool since the printing press and this is all you can think of?

This is going to sound elitist or at least grumpy-old-man-ish. It's about the paucity of "clever" in social media. Here we have a growing array of social media applications (just added Google Buzz) and devices galore with which to access them and so little of anything interesting to read.

One of my greatest pet peeves (responsible for many unfollows and unfriends) is the posted aphorism or quotation. What is the point? Do somebody else's words of wisdom mean anything to you or are you just too dumb or lazy to write something original. Maybe some of you think you are passing along encouraging words to your equally dim friends but Ben Franklin wore this thing out in the 1700s. It's OK to read them and draw inspiration from them but don't pass them along as if you're the only one to discover them. Recently, a respected friend quoted a passage about the importance of being original and didn't see the irony. Upon reflection I just realized that most people aren't clever or original and need something to say that sounds clever or original even if they didn't say it. It's complicated.

Facebook, because of it nearly universal acceptance by the millenials is probably the worst example of dullness run amok. Young people without much experience using words in interesting ways, post the least amusing things imaginable and with great frequency. I wish I would learn to NOT post anything on young people's pages because I know that, all day long, I'm going to be informed of the inane things their friends post after me (and YES, I know I could disable this Facebook feature but there are people whose responses I may be interested in reading.) If your friend is having a birthday and all you can think of to write is "Happy Birthday" that's really sad. Better you don't write anything at all. Unfortunately, this proliferation of boring isn't restricted to the young. Of all my 300 some-odd Facebook friends, there are fewer than ten who have something interesting to say and several of those only because they're good at ferreting out interesting things from the Internet.

Twitter is a bit of a wasteland for many of the same reasons but also because of the sheer randomness of it. Every day I wonder why in God's name some of these people are following me and worse, why am I following them back? But Twitter and Facebook are numbers games and how many friends or followers you have are measures of your social media worth. I have one follower who only tweets info about getting more followers but I really don't want any more dumbasses filling up my Twitter feed with garbage causing me to miss something I might really want to see.

My wife is extremely sensitive about her followers and takes it very personally when one of them stops following her--especially if she thinks she may be still following them. I haven't quite figured out why people follow me in the first place so don't notice or care when they stop--unless it's someone I know personally and then I want to know why they don't love me anymore. Surely it's not because I wasn't clever enough because I work hard at that; harder than I should probably.

I guess trading bon mots with people of my same generation is the best I'm going to do. At least they get my cultural references and respond thoughtfully most of the time. Of course the smartest thing for me to do is ignore social media altogether and restrict my cleverness to my rants here but so much of blogging is just hollering down a well it makes no sense to waste time here either. Maybe I should start writing cranky letters to the editor like the other old cranks. maybe then the would care. Nah


Post a Comment

<< Home