Sunday, November 28, 2010

The places I go with no effort at all.

Oh! The Places You’ll Go!  written by Dr. Seuss popped into my head this morning as I checked my Facebook page thingy to see what everybody was up too.  And why this poem?, because it dawned on me that none of us really have to go anyplace but to our computers to go everyplace with everybody else.

I did not have to answer my door for trick or treaters this year to see any cute costumes. All I had to do was click on those albums posted by those with kids and I got my fill of ankle biter angels and toga wearing toddlers.  Black Friday was easy too, but why are you taking pictures of crowds and putting them on line to show that you are standing in line? Does this mean your arms are not full of enough stuff yet because one hand still remains free?  I’ve been to several parties that I would never have attended in person. All those album shots of alcohol infused antics provided enough fun with no designated driver needed.

Thanks to those online albums I have been on several vacations as well. However, do heed the advice of local law enforcement who says to not post that you will be away. Far too many home invasions happen because the “bad guys” read postings all the time and know exactly where to go and when. 

I find the back and forth banter pretty funny. So many times I have longed to jump in with a snarky snippet of my own, but wish to avoid any potential addictive habits. For now, I am content to follow the airing of issues that others may have. Some information I find to be a bit too personal for public consumption at times, but then again, I am learning that there are people who need copious amounts of feedback for one reason or another. The whole program (and after all that is exactly what FB really is, one big computer program that is as close to artificial intelligence as we may get outside of top secret developments), is akin to a school lunchroom. If I could paint that concept I would. Envision along with me what I mean….

Certain threads and connections of “friends” are like lunch tables of different “cliques”.  The same individuals tend to congregate every day on mutual conversations. Those who lurk and on rare occasions post a comment are the lunchroom monitors. There are very little cross conversations which I believe is because various groups of “friends” know different people and not all the same people so not all postings are on everyone’s page….or something like that.  The albums of pictures are akin to Monday morning weekend wrap ups, but every day is a Monday on FB. And yes, those employers, college admissions officers, and even law enforcement are checking those pictures too, making their jobs so much easier (so are parents who can gain access through other’s pages).  I will admit to telling a parent that his then 14 year old son was listed as being 22 on his FB page and interested in women and other inappropriate content.

Like all trends, fads and eventual cultural shifts, I wonder where this program will be in 10 years. Humans tend to be an impatient species, always looking for something new, improved, different or better than before (which is a good thing or we would not have cars, planes, cell phones etc….) but I wonder just how long it will be until we so isolate ourselves that the ability to communicate in full paragraphs and in conversations of thought provoking length and depth are a thing of online archives.

Unfortunately the saddest thing I have witnessed recently is a commercial showing some type of flat screen reading device (a kindle perhaps?).  The commercial had three vignettes that appalled me. One was a parent and child crawling into bed for a bedtime story and the child hands the parent this device.  Umm…where are the illustrations that encourage a child’s imagination? The second scene is a couple on beach chairs looking at these things. Now if one falls asleep reading at the beach using this device, I give it 5 minutes before some other person swipes it right off their lap and runs. Nobody would ever take a crumpled paperback, but electronics are fair game.  And lastly, people are shown standing around “reading” off of one of these things. A bit hard to fold down the corner and close the cover if interrupted as one has to “save” the current page nor is any one likely to start a conversation with you about the book you are reading. How ironic if the book happened to be “How to meet people and make friends in the digital age”.

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