Monday, August 29, 2011

Creaulx 2.0

That's it - I quit!... is what I'm tempted to say with regards to all forms of social networking - Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, etc - in the hopes that it sticks this time.  Having officially turned into my father sometime last year, I realize what a huge waste of otherwise productive - or at least enjoyable - time it really is.  However, I also know my inner teen slacker self well enough to realize that the internerd ain't going anywhere and neither am I, at least in the short term.  Meanwhile, Web 2.0 is now somewhere up around Version 9 and propagating as rapidly as fruit files on a pile of rotten bananas.  Facebook may be the gold standard, but it's become stagnant, inert, and a vehicle for advertising and 20th-Century media to attempt to remain relevant.  Speaking from experience, it's become a home for the over-40 crowd who are too tired and/or busy to actually go out with friends. Twitter is now a "must-have" although I have yet to figure out why, and Google Plus is hugely - and equally inexplicably - popular.  LinkedIn seems to add credibility to their idea of work-based networking, but there are just as many "friend collectors" there as anywhere else.  How many social network accounts must a man post on before you can call him a man?  Seriously, who has the time for all this electronic faux-interaction and is it worth mortgaging your real relationships for?  The answer is far too many and no, respectively.  Remember that in the end, you're really talking to yourself, an effect that is just as potent and has far more staying power when you aren't glued to a flat-screen monitor.

 The bright promise of electronic communication has fallen far short of what my hopes were just a few years ago largely due to the medium's transience.  No matter how good today's posts, there will be something shiny and new to ogle tomorrow, rendering today quickly forgotten.  I'll bet I'm not the only person to have lost three and four hours at a stretch to mindless link-surfing, and the attendant guilt when you realize your time would have been better spent sleeping...  Because of this, I've essentially given up on television over the last decade, no longer have the attention span to properly digest what I'm reading the few times I actually pick up a newspaper and seem to be more scatterbrained than ever due to the mutiple distractions provided by being always plugged in.  Yet my most vivid memories remain those of the pre-electronic age.  Note:  I did not say the Pleistocene Era, so please don't extrapolate too far out.

I've said it before and am ready to chant the mantra again - long-form writing is one good way to forestall early senility, almost as good as crosswords and Sudoku.  The big problem is anyone who would even be apt to read yet another piece of opinion-based writing has neither the time nor gives a rat's ass.  So, I do it for myself.  I consider it free cognitive therapy that may or may not be read by anyone with the capacity to add to the conversation.  It's very nearly the opposite of the quick buzz given by a funny status update or a detached non-sequitur on a social network.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who's noticed that everyone on Facebook is trying to be all funny all the time(!), and that's an impossibly high standard to achieve if you even wanted to.  Nothing valuable is shared or experienced when everyone is a sarcastic wiseass.  When everybody's hip, no one is cool. 

So don't read too much into this diatribe as I'm sure Kim Kardashian or Kat von D is up to something far more intellectually stimulating at this very moment.  All I'm really trying to do is give my undertaxed brain a kickstart.  Here's hoping there's enough viable gray matter left in the ol' girl to make this work.