Made you look
You dirty crook
You stole mama’s pocketbook
You turned in, you turned it out
You turned it into sauerkraut
A silly old rhyme, you may remember, chanted after one kid points, another kid looks, but there’s nothing in particular to see. This annoying little game of deception used to be popular. The perp acted smug, the victim embarrassed, and pissed-off. Nobody likes to be fooled, knowingly.
Finally, I’ve realized why I have such an aversion to antisocial media. Why I’ve been calling it antisocial, and why I’m wrong, again. Wrong in that it’s not adequately accurate to call it anti-social. It would be more precise to call it pseudo-social media.
So, I’m on this harangue, once more, because I’ve been feeling additional pressure to conform. I feel out of the loop. I feel the need, almost an obligation, to keep others informed of my daily doings, and to keep my nose in friends’ business. At the same time, I find myself a bit unsettled when a friend relates back to me, in person, of some event or gathering I attended, or something I did that’s been posted on pseudo-social media, without my knowledge. I know it seems little different than ordinary gossip, but there’s more going on here. It’s not just a mere mention, “Oh, we had lunch with him on friday.” It includes details, sometimes photos. I feel like I’ve been plastered on a billboard, put on display without my approval. “Hey everybody, do you what so-and-so did yesterday?” It’s unsettling.
But others don’t seem to feel the same way. Most of my friends and family are pseudo-social users. They feel it’s important. It keeps them informed without actually making contact. They share all sorts of daily tidbits, pics, and emojis, and trite little personal scraps, and banal blurbs, and half-exposed grimacing faces. They’d never know what’s going on without it. They wouldn’t know what to do with themselves without it. You’d think that life before these apps was a social desert void of communication, deep in the cold darkness of a moonless night.
Not quite. We had (and still have in case you’ve forgotten) the post. Slow, very slow, but it was personal. Do you remember getting handwritten letters? You could hear the person’s voice in your head as you read it. You could reread it. You could ponder over it. You could save it. And do you remember the sacrosanct nature of mail addressed to a person? You never open someone else’s mail.
We have the telephone. Instantaneous, subject to the person’s availability, yet more accessible than ever. Do you remember talking to a friend until your outer ear was hot and red? You could hear the voice in real time with all the natural inflections of real speech. You could talk for hours. Now we have the added feature of video calls. (Although, I don’t feel video adds much to the connection.) Plus, like opening someone’s mail, it was verboten to surreptitiously listen in on an extension.
We have email. Almost instant, a little more time consuming than talking if you consider carefully what you’re saying and check it for errors before sending—not handwritten, but the written word nonetheless. There’s something more substantial with writing. It takes more effort. (Could be why it’s falling out of favor.)
We have SMS. Quick, easy, convenient. Perfect for little messages without the interruption of a phone call or the formality of email. Not substantial, but it’s direct.
We have pseudo-social networks. Broad spectrum, open, convenient, accessed on one’s own terms. And socially disconnected.
When I write a letter it passes through the hands of the postal service, but it makes a direct connection with the person I wish to contact.
A phone call passes through the phone system—then it makes a direct personal connection in real time.
An email passes through a digital network, an SMS passes through the cellular system, and both, too, are direct connections, person to person.
Pseudo-social networks pass through a central hub/server. An intermediary that collects your personal effects, claims ownership of them (read the terms of service), and in any way it chooses, makes use of them, manipulates them, monetizes them (without sharing the profits with you). It can censor or delete them, after all, they’re not yours. Your connection is not direct, not personal, and definitely not private. The social connection is mediated by a foreign entity. It’s a fool’s connection. It’s fake social. It’s distanced. It’s superficial. It’s artificial.
Welp, ya know, ya git whatcha pay fer. And you’re paying for it, in hidden ways. But it’s free! We likey free. 👍
There must be some sort of mystical addictive quality that keeps you going back for more. It dupes you into thinking you’re getting something useful, even though there are many other options more social, more direct, more private, more personal.
Looky. Free, convenient, and sharing. Everything you never knew you didn’t need.
Enough. Go forth, give away your private life to artificial strangers. It’s a free world, sorta.
Enough of my opinion, try this one on for size : Read.
Or this one : 1985 & Now.
And my take, if you missed it the first time : Dubble Bubble.
And should you link to nothing else read this one : Fromm Here to Nowhere.