Thursday, December 3, 2009

FACING FACEBOOK

I joined, enrolled, NOT because Fran and Sue and JD, who were helping me create my Website had joined, but because Facebook is mentioned, and quoted on television, and magazines that are my main sources for "what's new at the zoo!"

I can't stand being out of date! So, even though my tick-ticking brain feels it's a waste of time -- I'm giving Facebook a try.

Not Tweet.com, though "tweets" are all over the place -- "tweets" seem to be a major source of news/information/style/gossip/headlines -- and that seems ....

Well ... a "tweet" doesn't seem newsworthy, but I'm wondering why I'm talking about tweeting, wondering if I'm avoiding the issue?

NO. I just wonder -- am I becoming my mother? Doing what she did – disappearing from the present-day world, isolating herself, because what the younger generation was doing, saying, seemed ... what? Silly, bad mannered, grotesque, unfitting, embarrassing?

Uh oh! My "truth bell" is ding-donging. I don't dress like the younger generation. I haven't heard the loud music they've heard, and sung along with rap lyrics, read "Harry Potter," bought low-rise, tight jeans that show off my navel. I haven't read "Vogue" or "Vanity Fair" in a long, long, long time. Eeeeeee ...

When I signed up for Facebook, I used a pseudonym, fake birth-date, fake high school graduation from a school I didn't go to (I knew it existed, because one of our baby sitters had attended it).

So didn't I defeat the basic purpose -- reconnect with your school friends, and find new friends with their friends, and friends of their friends?

I don't want to reconnect with kids whom I knew in high school. We have next to nothing to share, unless I spent time with them, one by one, and tried to help them communicate real feelings, a real sense of who they are. Like Gerald Wynn -- he was cute, a fun but kinda dumb guy, and Jack Ripley (who's mentioned in the monthly reunion letters that someone's mailing to me) -- he was a bigoted "big man" on campus, still is! And Alethea, and Connie -- they didn't like me -- they wouldn't like me now!

I Googled "WHAT ARE REASONS FOR JOINING OR NOT JOINING FACEBOOK?"

I read about LH. He hates Facebook -- they deleted his entire "World Naked Bike Ride: Toronto" group, an annual, family-friendly event he created to protest oil dependency.

I read about what thrills, Zuckerberg, the 24-year-old founder/CEO of Facebook -- the fact that the site added its 150-millionth member; has users on every continent, with half of them logging in at least once a day. "If Facebook were a country, it would be the eighth most populated in the world, just ahead of Japan, Russia and Nigeria," Zuckerberg wrote, bragging about the fact that 374,000 people sign up every day.

Hey Zuckerberg – that's $$ for you and your advertisers. Why should I be a digit in that growing, swelling, ridiculous number of culturally incompatible strangers?

Hey, why am I writing about this? I do not want to be a digit, and I do not need a social club like Facebook to enhance my social life.

It could get yucky, and it's a fad, and it's getting out-of-hand on various college campuses.

Sophia Yan, in Time reported --"Name the freshman sluts!" was a post at Indiana University's gossip site. "So-and-so "has herpes!" proclaims an unsigned post on Texas Christian University's page. Among the nasty stuff is the University of Alabama ACB (Anonymous Confession Board), a multi-school site, loaded with attacks against private citizens, full names included, and victims have no way to respond other than with lawyers.

ACB is filled with posts that used to be scrawled on the walls of toilet cubicles -- racist, sexist, homophobic, vicious stuff -- "It's like the worst of junior high" the dean at Amherst College said.

It's scary, like the Tea Partiers, psalm 109 T-shirts, some of those anti-Obama bloggers ...

Sophia Yan said that ACB logged a record 480,000 hits in one day, according Peter Frank, the sophomore at Wesleyan U., who runs ACB out of his dorm room. When another University asked him to delete ugly threads about the school, Frank refused. He said, "I am not looking out for the school's best interests -- I'm looking out for the students' best interests."

The law is on his side."It's true that the actual authors would potentially be liable for posting libel," Frank said, "But libel is difficult to prove. I just really don't see it happening, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it." And what about Frank? "I'm untouchable," he told the interviewer.

So what does Frank or Zuckerberg, LH, and Twitter, and low-rise jeans have to do with you, I'm asking myself?

The answer is in the question. I need more readers, a bigger audience.

There were 50 million blogs in 2006 -- last year -- 113 million.

Uh oh ... The truth bell's ding-donging -- old friends, new friends, tweets, language barriers -- it doesn't matter who your readers are, as long as you're writing what YOU want to write.

Enroll.

Digit or not, you do what you have to do.

I read this to my husband. He nodded.

EEEEEEE

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