The Internet, Facebook and the Death of Culture…
The internet has been around for quite a while now. For me, it started in 1994 when my then-roommate Rich, purchased a Packard Bell PC. It was a great machine; it had an internal modem and everything. Two weeks after he got it, lightning struck near our home and fried the modem. Somehow, I got blamed for it.
Our forays into the Internet started with Prodigy and soon progressed to America Online. AOL was a killer company; the stock went to $60, put everyone else out of business. Then AOL bought Time Warner and the whole thing fell apart. At that time, the internet was little more than E-mails, chatrooms, and message boards. Internet porn hadn’t taken hold yet, there was no Youtube or Youporn, or Google maps. It was all pretty basic, but it caught fire rather quickly.
Somewhere along the line, the term Social Media was born. I’m not sure when or how, but my introduction was about 10 years ago. I was at a Bar/Nightclub when a comely young lady approached me for a light.
“Are you on myspace? You should totally go on there.” I mumbled something stupid in reply. She gave me her name and left. I raced home and joined Myspace. I looked her up. She was 19. I was 38.
I didn’t use Myspace all that often. My PC was ancient. I would load my page and go make bacon before the page was fully up. Not long after that, I got an invitation from my friend to join this thing called Facebook. It looked boring. It was all text; it had none of the graphics that Myspace had. You couldn’t customize it like you could on Myspace. On the other hand, it didn’t take a month to load either.
After a few weeks, I had found a few friends, then a few more. Pretty soon I had 100. Then I started ‘friending‘ people I didn’t know. Mostly models and female body-builders. Most of them didn’t respond.
I even reached out to every James McAllen on Facebook. Most of them didn’t respond either. Two of them friended me. Then one de-friended me. A few of them blocked me. Turns out that I’m not the only asshole named James McAllen.
Some people think that Facebook is just another life waster. I think golf is a life waster, but no one really cares what I think about golf. The truth is, I spend entirely too much time on Facebook. This is time that could be spent working out or writing. This is also time that could be spending eating Bon Bons and watching Steve Harvey, so I’ll go with the lesser of the evils.
By far the best thing about Facebook, is the ability to re-connect with old friends and distant relatives. I have about 100 cousins. Most of them are my FB friends. I’ve even discovered a few relatives that I had never met before. We correspond all the time. It’s like we are best friends. The only thing is, other than their FB pics, I probably couldn’t pick them out of a lineup.
The other great thing about FB is that I rarely have to use the phone any more. I can just send a message or a text. Texting is the greatest invention ever. Got a female friend that you don’t really want to speak to, but don’t want to lose contact with either? Just send a text. “Thinking of You”. Greatest phrase in the history of the language.
The other day, someone asked me if I had seen so-and-so lately. “Sure, I see him all the time.” Well, its kinda true. I see his profile picture every time I log on. I haven’t seen or spoken to the dude in 3 years, but we converse in cyberspace constantly.
The bad part about FB is the bad quotes and misinformation. People see things that look clever and post them without doing any research whatsoever. Recently, I have been seeing more and more quotes attributed to Marilyn Monroe. Most of them are really insightful and brilliant. Somehow I doubt their validity. I’m pretty sure Marilyn’s most famous quote was “Can you get me my pills?”
The other by-product of Facebook is the ability to market yourself and your work. Nowadays they call that branding. Branding is what they do to cows and horses. Coincidence? I think not.
I recently published a book of short stories (Maybe you heard?). I started promoting it on my Facebook page and I got some really good responses, but after all my immediate family and friends got wind of it, the buzz stopped. Someone suggested that I go on Twitter. We all know what twitter is; it’s a time-waster on steroids.
I tweeted that I had a new book on Amazon. No one responded. I didn’t know that you had to have followers. I’m not sure how you get followers, if you don’t have any followers. Now I have 4.
Kim Kardarshian has 17 million followers. Kim K. has a great posterior, (until Kanye ruined it), but I can’t imagine why anyone would follow her. What could she possibly have to say that would be interesting or insightful? The only thing I would want to hear Kim say is “Good Night.”
Evidently, now that I’m a big time blogger, I need to increase my social media footprint. Someone told me I need to be on… Pinterest, Instgram, Reddit.. and 3 or 4 other things that I can’t remember. I don’t know if I’m ready for all that. It all seems like a pain in the ass to me.
So has all this technology helped us, or hindered us? I know that having all the world’s information and knowledge at my fingertips has helped me, but I fear that it has damaged the rest of society. No one seems to be able to focus their attention for more than an eye blink. If I post a funny comment, I get 20 likes and comments instantaneously. When I post a blog, about 6 people read it and I’m lucky if I get one comment. And while I’m grateful for all the people that have purchased the book, I know that most of the copies will wind up being used to level out picnic tables. I wouldn’t mind if I could manage to sell a million picnic table levelers. It’s an honest profession, but in order for people to hear about this great new picnic table leveler, it has to be read first.
I’m not sure if any sentence without an LOL in it, actually gets read anymore.