marr 9/8/12 Divoce from techA lack of membership has its privileges. Walking away from technology is one of them.
I’m going through a divorce . . . with modern technology. It’s has never been my way to follow the pack, to take part in trends or fads, to follow the yellow brick road simply because others were walking in the same direction.
Thus, as a start of my divorce proceedings, I’ve deactivated my Facebook and Twitter accounts. It was very simple . . . the click of a couple of buttons.
I won’t comment on Twitter, because there is no need. I only signed up in an effort to market my guitars. It was less than useless in that regard, and those who sought to connect with my account (about 90% of the time) seemed to be auto-generated spam bots. Twitter, for my purposes, was a little like tossing an oversized basketball into an undersized bushel-basket at the county fair. You learn very quickly that the Twitter exercise is pointless, without merit, a waste of time.
Leaving Facebook is a somewhat different story. I could begin and end the tale by saying that I find the site increasingly creepy, and that for once in my life I succumbed to peer pressure and joined the crowd. Both of those statements are true, but the real reasons run a bit deeper, a bit more philosophical.
The popular misconception is that Facebook is about sharing, about establishing some much-glorified connection with people across the planet. A greater degree of hogwash I’ve never heard. Facebook is a business; little more than a data-mining operation functioning under the guise of something that is caring and benevolent. It claims to “bring people together.” In fact, it does nothing of the sort. It fosters the illusion of connection, attempts to convince people they are “friends” simply because they post some pictures, reveal what they had for lunch, describe the weather conditions or speak of their latest adventures.
Friendships require give and take, deeper revelations than are possible via cyber-narscissism. A Facebook friendship is give and take . . . but only with a mirror. You might have minor interactions and passing acquaintances with Facebook, but they are roughly akin to nodding at a vaguely recognizable somebody in the grocery store.
That may not always be the case; there are exceptions to every rule. I like to say that I have a few friends that happen to have Facebook accounts. Those people, I assume, will keep in touch no matter if I’m on that website or not. Maybe so, or maybe not . . . I guess time will tell.
But, and here’s the big point, I find that Facebook actually inhibits real connections, real conversations. Writing a letter (pen and paper) was rendered virtually obsolete by email. Taking the time to send an email – fleshing out your thoughts and describing your feelings – has now been rendered virtually obsolete by Facebook. I suppose it simply takes too much effort.
Or, maybe it’s that people really don’t want to have conversations. Maybe, they just want to talk about themselves. It’s a close cousin to text messaging, which is an area into which I won’t delve because (A) I don’t own a cell phone and (B) I’ve never sent a text in my life. I do know, anecdotally, that more and more people would rather text than talk.
Perhaps I’m simply anachronistic. Perhaps I simply don’t like the kind of modern technology that scans anything I have to say, identifies keywords by algorithm, and sends me advertising come-ons based on the repetition of certain pertinent nouns.
Yup . . . that's a sure sign of a company that strives to unite mankind.
Further, watching Facebook and other of the more insidious online technologies, I see that people will say things – when hidden behind a silicon curtain – that they would never say in public or in polite literary discourse. It serves to break down the rules of civility, turns people into something of a cross between narcissists and anti-social loudmouths. There is very little room for tolerance or differing opinions on Facebook; but there are lots of insults and attacks. Lots of dysfunction there . . . lots of stupidity.
But . . . when all is said and done . . . I'll go back to my basic premise. I find Facebook creepy.
We live in odd times, times when people are nearly as dependent upon perceived (and false) technological connectivity as they are on food, water, and oxygen. It’s an addiction . . . and the only addictions I enjoy are those that provide some aspect of personal sensory pleasure (in my case, dogs, guitars, pipe tobacco and fishing).
Now . . . long-time readers of my stuff know full well that I’m not exactly what you would call a people person. I have a handful of friends with whom I’m very close, but for the most part the pups and I prefer to hang out by ourselves Hell, if such were possible (and at this time it’s not for a variety of reasons) I’d be ensconced in the deepest of deep woods and as far way from technology as possible. I’d be in the type of place (and I’ve lived in the these places before) that are invisible even to the intrusive eye of Google Earth.
True . . . our culture has devolved to the point where I have to accept some fleeting rapport with technology (there’s a not a publication in America that would accept article submissions via the US Mail . . . or at least not one that pays worth a damn). Thus, I have come to accept email as acceptable. I view it in the same way I view my table saw, drill and surface planer. I need it to make the things I make, to sell the things I make, to better enjoy making the things I conjure up in my head. Email is obnoxious, what with all the spam and scam, but it’s one of those forms of “progess” that has rendered other forms of communication about as useful as buggy whips and butter churns.
I suppose I could do without email. . . but such would make life much more difficult than it needs to be.
So here’s the deal . . . Ignore that Facebook banner that you see on my Missouri Life page. I’m no longer there. We’ll be eliminating that at the first possible opportunity. I can always be reached at my guitar website of www.marrsguitars.com (the email address is at the top of the page in big, bold letters).
I’m divorcing myself from modern technology, or at the very least, from those forms of modern technology that give me the heebie jeebies, the ones that cheapen the human experience and are maybe just a little more than malicious.
It feels good. You should try it sometime