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On Life Without a Computer, Part 4, or: Five ways Facebook has changed our lives for the worse

04/27/2012

So I realized I never finished writing about “life without a computer.”  I probably never will (I mean come on), but that’s besides the point.  So let’s continue what I started with more thoughts that surfaced during the months I didn’t have a computer..

The other thing I realize is that the second (or millisecond or nanosecond or whatever) that I post this, WordPress will automatically post this to Facebook. So if that ironically already kills any possible profundity of anything I’m about to type, I accept the fact.  I guess that’s how the world works sometimes.  Ha!

Anyways, Facebook is fun.  I use it.  It’s a great way to connect with people, stay in touch with people, and stalk people.  I mean…. ok, well yeah.  That’s my point:  there’re some overtly negative things about Facebook that, for some reason, we are incredibly out of tune with.  Here’re some of those things that I’ve been thinking about that may help us consider our relentless use of Facebook (*and other analogous things):

#1- Facebook* is a timebender.

No surprises here.  We waste a lot of time on Facebook*.  “Nuf said.”

#2- Facebook* has redefined what it means to interact with others.

(I say this like I’ve existed for a longer time than I have). From the creation of mankind on forward, the norm was face-t0-face interaction. Over time, technology chipped away at the original concept that in order to interact with someone you had to physically be in their presence.  Be affected and react correspondingly to what that someone said, did, and portrayed.  Physically.  It’s not so much that this technologically-induced efficiency is an incredibly negative thing all the time (queue 1000’s of examples where technology helps us communicate when physical presence is impossible or a considerable barrier to success), but more the fact that now the norm is click-like-comment-tag.  Not spoken conversation, eye contact, hand gestures, facial expressions, or body language.

I’m going to go out on a whim here and suggest that, on a lifestyle/culture level, Facebook* maybe might possibly have something to do with most cases of social awkwardness…

#3- Facebook* lets you craft your self-image.

You get to put out there what you want about yourself.  Or not put what you don’t want to out there.

#4- Facebook* never runs out.

Facebook* provides a continuous stream of entertaining tidbits.  This is where the “*” is especially applicable.  We couldn’t get away from it all, so we made versions that could fit in the palms of our hands and faster versions and slimmer versions and faster slimmer versions and megapixelated video versions and faster…….

The complementary thought is that there is no rest from the bombardment.  There is no pause.  There is no quiet moment.  There is no time to stop and think, no need to stop and think.  Or pray.  Or meditate.  You get what I mean.  Instead, just feed your brain with more tidbits.  Next video.  New status.  Like the like about likes.  Back to the newsfeed for more!

#5- Facebook* makes it easy.

(Been thinking a lot about this concept lately).  With Facebook*, information is free.  Not just any information.. but all kinds of stuff.  Information about other people’s lives, pictures of who hung out with who, statuses of what’s going down at any given moment.  Freshly updated, right at your fingertips.  Not exactly the kind of thing you would easily stumble across if it weren’t so finely presented on a clean blue-accent page for you.  Before, for the same amount of information, you would’ve had to: ask about, describe, develop (pictures), imagine, paint, hear third hand.  Etcetera.  For hours.  And you still wouldn’tve gotten it all as nice and accurate like Facebook* gives it to you.  Shortly: the product social media yields does not match up with what is put into it by an individual.  Positively reinforced laziness and a distorted view of effort and work.

Alright, let’s all use Twitter* instead…

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