Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I don't get it

Maybe I'm anti-social, but I don't get social networking.

What is the purpose of Twitter? Why would anyone want a running commentary of my life, beyond the words that you see here? Why should anyone want to see your running commentary?

Just now, I tried to listen to the Symphony #10 of Alan Pettersson -- and after ten minutes of thunka-THUMP-thump-blort-blat-THAP-THAP, I switched over to Beethoven's Eighth just to remind myself what a tune sounds like. Did you need that glimpse of my Winamp playlist? Is your life richer for the knowledge?

Why can't a private life remain private?

I don't like other people paying attention to the trivia of my existence.

I loathe, despise and abominate situations in which I ask "Where's the maple syrup?" and the answer is not "We're out" but "What do you need it for?" Then I have to explain that I intend to place maple syrup in oatmeal -- I have justify doing a thing like that -- and suddenly there's an entire room-full of people opining on something that's none of their damn business: "You can put fruit in it!" "There's grape jelly!" "Vanilla extract..." "Brown sugar, not cane sugar..." "Here, let me look up oatmeal modifications on Google..." "You know, oatmeal is great for lowering cholesterol but you ruin it by adding refined sugars which your metabolism stores as fat and..." There's no polite way to tell this team of experts that I did not ask for their aid, that this is my fucking oatmeal, not theirs. What was supposed to be a thoughtless, capricious action -- grabbing a bowl of oatmeal -- becomes annoying when I must subject every insignificant aspect of the thing to Groupthink.

Twitter simply expands the number of people prying into your oatmeal-customization habits. Why on earth would any sane person want that?

Twitter collects personally identifiable information about its users and shares it with third parties. Twitter considers that information an asset, and reserves the right to sell it if the company changes hands.
Which brings me to another Web 2.0 thang that I just don't get: Facebook.

Frankly, I believe the many reports that Facebook shares all information with the CIA. See here and here and here.

Let me tell you something about the CIA: It operates on a need to know basis. The entire point of Facebook and MySpace is to scream details about your life that strangers have no need to know. Why would you do a thing a like that?

Does the concept of a private life even exist anymore? Our professional porn actresses can no longer make an honest living because so many of America's daughters feel compelled to display their fellatio skills on the internet gratis. As an entire generation grows up without secrets, young people become convinced that the unshared thought is a toxin, that life is an uninterrupted broadcast of The Me Show, that snoopers need more access to more details, that a webcam should capture the magic every time someone scratches a hemorrhoid or extracts a particularly recalcitrant booger.

I disagree. Socrates got it wrong: The examined life is not worth living.


katiebird said...

I've mostly used facebook as a way to spread interesting links to friends. And by friends, I mean actual friends and family.

Recently though, I've reconnected with several of the "kids" I went to grade school with and it's been one of the most interesting events of my life.

I don't post anything on Facebook that I wouldn't post on my blog or in a comment.

DancingOpossum said...

I'm completely with you here. The whole idea of Twitter leaves me cold, I have not the slightest curiosity. And whenever I've had the misfortune to be told to visit someone's Facebook page, I want to cry from boredom.

Bob Harrison said...

If I use two minutes of cell phone time in s month, my domestic supervisor thinks it is a big deal. So you might rightfully assume I agree. And I do.

Anonymous said...

Even though it's been suggested that I'm your sockpuppet (or you're mine) or that I have a mancrush on you (or you on me) I could really give a shit how you spend your day.

I only care when you post something worth reading (which, thankfully, you do several times a week)

Why would someone as anti-social as myself care about social networking?

Anonymous said...

Are sociopaths anti-social?

Anonymous said...

I sort of thought for a second there that your post here was an angry outburst at our well-meant but unsolicited advice offered for Bella, and not about social networking at all.

I don't get facebook or twitter or any of that. My daughter puts pictures of my granddaughter (3) on her page. I don't know if I like that. And the thought of getting or giving 144 character updates on one's life? WTF for? Now I sounds curmudgeonly or hopelessly old fashioned. But I don't 'get' texting either or hours on end on the phone.

Anonymous said...

I personally feel that social networking profiles and activities should be treated like a role playing game. Everything should be fabricated. Tell your friends that you run that account, but leave it at that. Even Twitter and Facebook don't need to know who you are if you take a few basic steps to protect your privacy.

RedDragon said...

I personally do not see the hype when it comes to Twitter. I agree with you about "Updating" people to what I am doing every 2 minutes.I just can't see myself twittering while I am sitting on the toilet trying to evacuate that taco I ate last night!

No...No...No! Somethings are sacred!

OTE admin said...

I find Facebook a great way to reconnect with people I haven't seen or heard from in years, such as high school classmates. It is great. I have posted many family pictures and such on my site to share with others.

I don't really understand Twitter, though.

Joseph Cannon said...

Oh, the advice on Bella was very much solicited. And I am very grateful to my wonderful readers.

Just got back from the vet. Pancreatitis. Bella got some pain meds and other meds -- and she is not to eat or drink anything this day. After that, bland chicken and broth.

Thanks to all...

Joseph Cannon said...

Let me add that one reason I blogged about Bella's condition was to open up a more general discussion of animal diet. I am not sold on the BARF diet, but I am researching it.

djmm said...

Well said, Joseph!! I do not Twitter and I have refused a friend's urging to join Facebook. I like privacy.

Besides, none of it is as interesting as your blog and a few choice others. Enjoy every bite of your oatmeal and maple syrup!


Nicole said...

I'm so glad you can now put a name to what ails Bella.

And I'm happy (even if you're by no means sold) to read that you're researching the raw food diet. (Please know I've nothing to gain by pushing this...I've seen how diet has completely revitalized aging, ill dogs, so I'm passionate about getting the word out.)

I hope you have many more years with a healthy Bella.

Lori said...

I remember a blog tale of the FBI trying to track somebody on Daily Kos (?). They searched his user name, found his blog, where he had stuff listed on Amazon that he wanted people to buy him and there was his home address for the whole world to see.

One must be careful. Now, that was a situation where no one was alarmed by the FBI tracking the guy down, but I'm sure it isn't the first time they've done that.

Anonymous said...

Since the MSM has been pushing Twitter so much in the past month I have wondered why. I went and checked out the little video and I couldn't believe that anyone would waste their valuable time doing "that". I think it's just another way of controlling the masses. Twitter is for Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dumbbbbb...must be why Ashton is so fond of it...or maybe I'm just too old for this...I'd much rather read a book!

New Orleans said...

For me, Myspace has been terrific for discovering new artists - musicians, photographers, graphic designers, etc.

Twitter has been great for business tips (links to informative articles, websites, etc) and for up-to-date info on programs, apps and news.

But I could care less that so-and-so just ate a slice of pizza, just finished bleaching their roots, or took their dog out to pee. Unfortunately, way too many find sharing that inane info just far too hard to resist. And wading through the drivel can be exhausting.

It's quite extraordinary, though, the amount of (really) personal info people will share with total strangers. And it seems the younger they are, the more they are willing to share. It's frightening.

Dakinikat said...

It's those damned reality shows! Every one is now an exhibitionist or a stalker because that's what they learn on tv!

The Fabulous Kitty Glendower said...

I put syrup in my oatmeal too. It is the only way to go in my opinion.

I don't twitter though, I think it is stupid. There, I said it. I equate it to those annoying people I have to step around at Walmart/Target who have their cell phones glued to their ears, saying stuff like "I just got to Wal-mart....I am now getting a cart....Wait, I can't hear you......yes, I have a cart now..."

It's like get the fuck out of my way already you needy fuck. Honestly, I do judge. Yet, I don't feel any guilt. That's it, that is what I hate, the neediness. Now, I'm all for people needing people and such, --to a degree, but come on. Who needs someone to validate their every fucking move? It seems like they will not believe they are alive if there was not someone on the other end responding, "I'm pinching you right now."

Just give me a break already. You know, and learn to deal with some alone time. Oh, but, there it is, if they had to deal with some alone time they would have to self-reflect and we cannot have that in a land of unicorns and frat boyz running around patting each on the back for farting.

2Truthy said...

"Oh, but, there it is, if they had to deal with some alone time they would have to self-reflect and we cannot have that in a land of unicorns and frat boyz running around patting each on the back for farting."

Fab Kitty,
Your summary is an all-time keeper.

Thanks Joe for this great post. I thought yours truly was the only one who just can't abide the Groupthink machine(ery).

Aside from not wanting to open myself up to this collosal In-Our-Shorts bullshit, I'm too cheap to pay for text messages coming to my cell phone from a bunch of strangers.

Anonymous said...

Twitter is a media hype. Narcissist in the media and celebrities like the concept of people following their every move, but most people stop using after 1 month.

Anonymous said...

I keep getting invites for family and friends on various sites. The thought of having one of these sites for myself is like nails on a chalkboard.

That said. I did sign up for twitter for the ability to get WA state DOT information from the horse's mouth. When those huge storms hit this winter and took down their main site. Their DOT was still able to get information out via a blog and twitter.

My only post is asking about road information for my husband which apparently wasn't visible to WA DOT and was just linking up to their site so they could answer my questions in the future.

Maybe next winter I will have another

kenoshamarge said...

Oh thank God/Goddess/Whatever for people that don't want to "share" the minutia of their lives with everyone on the planet.

I find the pinheads that can't disconnect their needy selves from their cellphones long enough to go shopping repulsive. Used to find them pathetic but the constant barrage of their dreary lives has killed any bit of compassion I might have once had.

Go home, turn off the lights and sit with the damn thing glued to your ear for all eternity for all I care. But get the hell out of the way in stores so that I can pick up a can of peas or a bottle of maple syrup and go home. (I pour maple syrup on vanilla ice cream, but you really don't give a damn, do you?)

Ditto for twitter. I lead a dreary, uninteresting life too. I just have the good taste and common sense not to inflict the details on anyone else.

Caro said...

I need my private time. When I was an IT director, I refused to wear a beeper. You'd have thought I had tried to start a revolution. But I always told them where I'd be if they needed me, with phone numbers. That was before cell phones.

And speaking of cell phones, I only got one for emergencies. I can't stand the thought of being interrupted at all hours.

I don't twit at all, and I only use Facebook to let people know when I've completed my daily posting.

Carolyn Kay

Caro said...

Just saw this video, you will ROFL.

Real Life Twitter by CollegeHumor

Carolyn Kay

Tina Tequila said...

No Twitter,No Facebook and NO MySpace in this household either. If someone wants to know our business,they need only track our debit cards,snoop around our internet search or follow us around. I guarantee,they'll be BORED to tears.

Anonymous said...

I like Facebook, but then, I'm an extrovert (MB) and the reaching out is something I like. I've found old school friends and some really cool new ones as well, who've asked to befriend me after seeing me joust with someone else. To each his own. I post nothing on my page that I don't want strangers to see as I am not operating under any delusions of privacy. What I want to keep private I do.

Twitter - got an account, almost never use it, mainly because I'm not able to post anything pithy in 160 characters or less, and my followers are too diverse for me to post anything about local goings on. I could give a rat's posterior about whether someone is driving into town, just bought a pair of shoes, etc. But I check it every once in a while for updates from Greenwald, the CDC, dipnote (State Dept), etc.

Oh, and maple syrup drizzled on link sausage is heaven.

glennmcgahee said...

Listen, I can't even stand the cell phone. Just the idea that you have one means people expect you to be available at any moment, at any time for conversation. If you don't answer, people become insulted since they KNOW you have your phone on your person. Then it has moved to texting. No thank you. I can't get my fingers to work on that teeny-tiny keypad. Now twitter? Talk about dumbing down the masses. In this sound-bite mentaliity, 144 character limit means nothing but that -a sound-bite.

glennmcgahee said...

And as for facebook or my space, one day, I expect to have the authorities looking for me. I'm not gonna help 'em find me.

b said...

I was bored recently and read someone's account (on an educational forum) of how she'd had a one night stand with someone whom she thought was very nice but who she had decided that because of another relationship she no longer wanted to contact her. I start like this to stress that she didn't think there was anything wrong with the bloke; there was no reason to think he was a stalker or any sort of a pain in the butt. Anyway she was afraid he might drop in at her Facebook space and then her friends, and one friend in particular, might get to know about him.

What???In the name of freedom, the youth are constructing themselves a prison. Licking the hand that whips them.

Get the wider perspective. A couple of generations of ostentatious consumerism. People carrying around those vile microwave tracking-devices called mobile phones (US: "cellphones"?), thinking they've been made free.

Wall-to-wall follow-the-Joneses idiocy. Internalisation of marketing influence, as if people are doing what they really want, what the really choose. Of course they aren't!

It's all about neurotic pseudo-freedom.

Western-centred (all right, US-centred, New York-centred) culture is all about perceiving the most highly-'socialised' (in a completely alienated sense) sort of exploitative, dictatorial society the world has ever known as if it were all about the "individual" and "freedom".

What's happening is that stuff is getting more so. Back in the 1980s, having soaked up Guy Debord's writings on the spectacle, I didn't even ask whether the spectacle and schizoid social conditions might become, in a deep historical sense, more so. I took it as read that if you followed fashion, drank yourself silly every fortnight, bought a new sofa every few years, cared about different kinds of car or musical albums, then you were a sucker, and that was that.

I still think so.

But stuff, nonetheless, is getting more so.

And involving the often not-so-under-the-counter idea that if you're not into living the life of a consumeroid fake-individual publishing to the world whatever you've had for breakfast, then you're not just weird, but a threat. Ask any youngster.

We lost. We're not putting up a fight against the opponent's rushing in to new territories, changing everything for the worse...

How long will it be until mass chipping starts?


DancingOpossum said...

"Listen, I can't even stand the cell phone. Just the idea that you have one means people expect you to be available at any moment, at any time for conversation"

Yeah Glenn, I hate that too. In fact, my cell phone's voice message clearly states that I DO NOT check my messages and if it's important, call back later or text me (I do check those). Yet every day people leave message after message on my voice mail. Then they whine at me for not getting their messages. Phewff.

DancingOpossum said...

Another thing...

My coworker and I were having a discussion the other day about people who put real photos of themselves, or of their kids, on web sites where they post. We both thought it was odd, like invading your own privacy in a roomful of strangers.

Zee said...

AMEN...!!!....Joseph, fab Kitty, and Glenn!!!!!

"...I took it as read that if you followed fashion, drank yourself silly every fortnight, bought a new sofa every few years, cared about different kinds of car or musical albums, then you were a sucker..."

Oh, come on, b!! fashion, drinking, sofas, cars and music are valid and vital modes of expression.

Twits who twitter, etc, are the epitome of tedium at the LEAST.

b said...

My card tells people that phone calls to my number are answered by arrangement, and that if they want to arrange a phone call they should text or email me.

Most of the time I don't communicate by phone at all, but if I'm doing so for a period of a day or two for unavoidable reasons, the idea is that I check for text messages once a day. As for walking around with a switched-on microwave beacon in my pocket, right near my balls, so as to be at the beck and call of any fscker who wants to go "hey you!", no fscking thanks! That'd be like wearing a servant's bell-pull. There'd really be no excuse against the charge of having shit for brains. Talk about false needs and followerism.

For very special occasions I've got another card which gives my mobile number as if I were a "normal". But that's only if I've got good reason to want to take a call from someone from whom I want to obscure my real attitudes. Like a journalist or something. Happens about once every 1-2 years.

I used to get angry when walking in the countryside I spotted some idiot speaking on their mobile phone. Now I just get sad. So many people just don't know where they are nowadays!

No Facebook, Myspace, Twitter etc. either. Haven't even got a landline connected at this rented hovel where I'm currently constrained to live. I do know how to download torrents using Vuze though! :-)


Gary McGowan said...

social networking is 21st century manipulation of popular opinion in action

the kids get it

current system is finito and the oligarchy knows it

currently perfecting the twittering of jacobin mobs



WHAT will REPLACE the dead system

God forbid it should be something, like,

Constitutional and rational.

Anonymous said...

Just letting you know that I am typing the sentence "Just letting you know I am typing the sentence...."

Sergei Rostov

b said...

Off-topic, but what the hell? Don't those Dutch 'royals' putting their hands up to their mouths remind you of British footballers putting their hands behind their heads when they've shot at goal and missed? Training, that's what I call it.

Mr Tates crashed his car into a 50-foot obelisk. Makes me recall Alan Moore's depiction of John Netley's last moments in From Hell.


Howling Latina said...

Twitter will go the same way as pet rocks, rubick cubes and Beanie Babies. Worthless hype.