Earlier this evening I was listening to a discussion on satellite radio about the pros and cons of social media/networking. Both the host and his guest were easily over the age of 40, I would safely assume. The pros they mentioned concerning social media were few and far in between. The easiest to remember is the most obvious — namely, we can keep in touch with friends across great distances, and/or reconnect with lost acquaintances. This, we all know.
The cons were many, and they were subjects touched upon, not only on this radio station, but a few others this week. Larry King even went so far as to say he thinks it’s a disease. And he mentioned going out to dinner at various times with other people and feeling as if he were at the table alone. Everyone was constantly glued to their little smartphone screens, chomping at the bit, it would seem, at the latest bit of information to consume.
There are now over 1 billion people on Facebook. Twitter, Google+, and others, while far behind Facebook, are still growing in populace. I follow Denis Leary on Twitter, Lauren Hill on Tumblr, immediate friends and acquaintances on Facebook, and interesting strangers on Google+. Only 15 minutes ago, I created an account on Vine and uploaded my first six second video clip, (which in turn was auto-shared to my Twitter account, which is connected to my Facebook account, and now I’m blogging about it on my WordPress account.) It doesn’t matter to me if no one ends up reading this entry.
What does matter to me is the ever-growing ability to share the thoughts of my scatter-brain, in hopes of reaching kindred spirits across the world. That sounds contradictory. I can live with it because I know exactly what I mean, and so will my kindred spirits! Ha!
However, getting back to the pros and cons of the internet’s evolution to social networking, the pros will prove to outweigh any con any of you can come up with. From LiveJournal to Bolt to Friendster to Myspace and beyond, I have formed friendships that transcend race, creed, color, religion, time and above all, location. I have read books from authors, and listened to music from artists, and appreciated prints from photographers, and visited certain locales, and attended concerts I would have never ever heard of or come across while living in my little offline box. And don’t pretend to fool yourselves — unless you’re banking like that douche Donald Trump, most of our offline lives are rather small. We work, we study, we play, and hopefully we have a few hobbies to help us forget the routine. Surely, there are exceptions, but I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about us: the rule.
At present, I can agree with some of the cons. Larry King is absolutely right — it’s beyond rude to go out to dinner with people and constantly go to your non-ringing phone. There are very few emergencies on Facebook or Twitter or the like, that need our immediate and perpetual attention. Human interaction, face to face, is still our best bet. Sarcasm has no font, and I’d rather smile with my face than type out the emote. I’d rather genuinely guffaw at a ridiculous joke than type “LOL”. I’d rather kiss your face than press the keys: <3
Privacy falls under another con, but it’s mostly a joke in my eyes. Because of you, I know what you eat, when you eat it, where you eat it. If that statement comes off as creepy, imagine how creeped out I am about how easily you let the world know how important your crepes are, with a picture included! Sometimes, I’m guilty of the same, and that’s why I’m talking about it here. We’re talking. If privacy is truly a concern of yours, unplug yourself for as long as you can. I know one or two of you who unplug from time to time, yet you always return. I always know where to find you; and the latest picture of the crepes you ate that you took with a 12mp camera looked absolutely divine!
Now I’m hungry, so I’m going to cut this off like this: if we don’t blow ourselves to smithereens in the name of Jesus, Allah, etc., there will come a time when I don’t have to set aside a few minutes to type this out with my hands. Oh wait! That time is already almost here! You see, Robert Scoble might have been the very first man to take a selfie, hands-free, in the shower using Google Glass, but damn it, I will promise you this: he will not be the last!