- Internet & the Web»
- Social Networking
Scissors, paper, stone.
A picture paints a thousand words. But:
The pen is mightier than the sword. But:
A sword can rip a picture into smithereens.
According to my extensive research (a quick Google), Facebook may or may not be the fifth most popular website on the internet. It may or may not have 350 million members. I signed up to it once, just to see a picture of my friend with a lampshade on his head in a hotel in Memphis. Then all of his 'friends' wanted to be my 'friend', followed by other people whom I will never meet wanting to be my 'friend'.
I have enough friends. We meet in the pub and talk to each other. We can react to each other's faces, even touch each other. But these 'friends' gave me a spooky feeling. I tried to erase myself from Facebook, but couldn't. All I could do was de-activate my 'account', then told I was free to re-activate the 'account' at any time. Who knows, I could have millions of people queuing by now, all begging to be my 'friend'. No thanks.
The word is now sullied. Friends who you can look in the face will lend you money, come to your party, sympathise with your troughs or ride along on your peaks. Facebook 'friends', or Others, are to be collected, like bubblegum cards or sleb autographs, judged by quantity rather than quality.
Upload a picture of yourself, once having a good time accompanied by real friends, and not sitting at your computer at 2 o'clock in the morning on your own. Tell everyone about yourself, your favourite bands, recipes, celebrity dogs, spam sculpture. Don't tell them that you are sitting alone at your computer at 2 o'clock in the morning on your own with nothing better to do (Before you say it, Hub Pages is a similar environment, but we are only here because we have something to say). Andy Warhol wasn't totally prescient: you are now famous for the rest of your life and beyond, or until the internet implodes.
You are both unique and not unique at the same time. You can tell the world, and future worlds, all about yourself. Just like everybody else. You can tell people about your favourite bands, films, famous people, thereby associating yourself with their hard-earned fame, basking in the reflected light. No-one is impressed by your association. Everyone wants the real thing, not your second-hand version.
So you are free to tell the world about yourself. Harmless. But it gets dark when you can tell the world about other people. Real people or 'others'. Some people I know had a shop which closed. On the walls were some paintings loaned by a friend of a friend and naturally the artist wanted them back. Did he try to phone or even post a note through the door? No, he announced it to the world and future worlds on Facebook. Similarly, I saw that somebody (or nobody) "strongly disapproves of a close relative's choice of partner". Note the mealy-mouthed, non-libelous use of language. Nothing positive can come of these announcements. At best another Other may reply and agree/disagree, but it gets nothing done.
No-one actually cares about what you are telling them, because they are too busy telling you about themselves. If they respond, it's only to put their own slant on it, trying to disguise that they are telling you about themselves. I went to school with someone who is now a famous comedian. He wasn't famous at school. He was just my friend. Everyone has met someone famous, or can tell you that a friend knows someone who has met someone who is, or was, famous.
Social networking, blogging and tweeting have become infected by the pernicious and the venal. If you Google "writing on the internet" you will find, apart from the lovely Hub Pages, plenty of offers to type (not write) buckets of keywords on your blog to make promised money. Of course you won't make any money. You will fall into a horrible world which is all about self-interest, fooled into thinking that anything you post or blog or reply to has some worth. By all means put your picture on the internet, but tell us about something.