Tuesday, July 20, 2010
"As the World Turns" has been part of millions of people's lives for 54 years. After 13,858 episodes, it will go off the air September 17th of this year. It's been a story, a fictional town, and characters, fictional people audiences have identified with, kvelled over, worried about since 1956.
"As the World Turns" and "The Edge of Night" premiered opposite each other, on the same day, same time ( 4:30 pm EST). and were the first daytime shows that ran -- not fifteen minutes long, but thirty minutes in length. By 1959, about ten million viewers were watching the "World Turns" stars -- Helen Wagner, Don MacLaughlin, Don Hastings, and Eileen Fulton every day.
When that final episode airs, what will the audience do? Watch "General Hospital" perhaps? Find another daytime show? Dr. Phil, Oz, Rachel Ray, Ellen DeGeneres, Judge Judy?
The huge number of viewers -- their devotion -- what "As the World Turns" means to them has me wondering what it means, what it signifies to me and to you?
Do you have a show you always watch? A midday, afternoon, tea-time ritual, a routine -- a something that you do every day that brings you a sense of peace? safety? Or puts a period, a check mark on your inner whatever you call it -- and once you do it -- you've DONE it?
I think Facebook is doing that for me/you/us.
What are we doing by logging in every day (once? twice, more?)? How often doesn't matter, but we are logging in, and sharing hum-drum personal events, events in the news -- all sorts of minor, major dramas.
Each of us is a lone, single person. You learn that early on as a little child. You may have siblings, and parents, but you cannot tell them what to do, or think/feel. Things (events) happen. You fail, succeed, win, lose, try, forget to try, hope, pray, wonder, stop, go, look, nap, hurry! There are signposts -- birthdays holidays, someone's schedule, hopes, dreams -- visions of things you craved -- doll, bike, skates, ring -- or a person you love, you pray will love you ... (This list is an endless list each person makes for himself/herself.)
You, the same as a planet -- have your orbit. And pass/cross/ collide with, are parallel with, or unified temporarily with -- another orbit, but YOU are one entity.
The need, the yearning to be part of another orbit, is there because you are just one person.
The people who watched "As the World Turns" became part of an orbit, many orbits, by joining a family -- growing, changing, traveling with them -- sharing with them more intimately (probably) than they shared with their sisters or brothers, or parents.
Why? Because your family knows a real YOU.)
That is what Facebook is. (And "Tweeting," but I haven't gone into tweeting -- mostly, it's peeps -- trifling, futile, little nothings that don't seem worth the effort).
Here goes an EM blanket remark: I THINK FACEBOOK IS THE SOAP OPERA OF NOW.
I have 700 friends that I mostly recognize -- I remember names and faces. And you are doing that also -- gathering names and faces.
When you join Facebook you create a character, a vague aspect of yourself, or more. You set forth in a profile what you want people to see, as you announce weather, your dinner menu, or something that's important to you -- a party, maybe a show you're in. (I announce every day what I've posted on my blog, Em's Talkery).
Pick any "page" (wall, or person) and there are statements, photos, drawings that make you, the visitor, wonder who is that -- how odd-weird-interesting -- where does he/she live -- she/he does what?
Some Facebookers have 4999 friends and graduate to a "fan page" where (the same as a "famous" celebrity), they're sort of known/recognized/familiar to their visitors. But we -- you and I who are reading this -- have created a place where you live, and share with a family YOU choose, the who/what/when where of YOU, whom you choose to be.
You are my soap opera. I am yours.