43 thoughts on “Facelook

  1. Dennis Lang says:

    Great subject, beautifully expressed. I still wonder if connecting digitally really brings us closer together or serves as a reminder of how ultimately estranged we are from each other and becoming even more so. Maybe it’s both.

  2. Mike Kennedy says:

    I’m fascinated by Facebook and just started using it not too long ago. My son has a lot of friends and sees them at school, hockey etc. but then is on Facebook in the late evening hours. I always wondered why. It appears he uses is to connect with friends from other high schools etc. whom he doesn’t see regularly.

    I don’t know because he will not friend me. He doesn’t want me peering into his social life.

    It seems the thing has a purpose, but I don’t get the people who constantly update every insignificant moment in their lives.

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      Re: “I don’t get the people who constantly update every insignificant moment in their lives.”

      That’s a common observation. But still we keep going back to read those updates. We make fun of it, but we keep using it. Why do you suppose?

  3. Momkat says:

    Just another way to stay in touch, I guess. I joined FB to stay in touch with a nephew who spent 6 months working out of the country. Now it’s kind of a habit. I update my status occasionally but mostly lurk. My favorite FB feature however is ‘Hide’.

    1. Dennis Lang says:

      Yes, I can understand a pragmatic value. But how did we socialize and manage our time before the onset of networking sites. This activity must be replacing something else. How deeply do people become preoccupied with it? Is it a genuine enhancement? Seventy-five years ago when I was kid I think I watched too much TV.

  4. Newt says:

    Joe – you nailed it this time. Facebook creates the illusion of being connected when, in fact, it fosters isolation.

    I also wonder about the people who post dozens of redundant images of themselves, mugging for the camera. The typical post is even more pathetic.

    Or how about the ones with 1,769 “friends”?

    I predict Facebook will flame out as a phenomenon after users experience marginally decreasing utility over time.

    Real friends get drunk with each other. Talk shit. Go to events. Facebook doesn’t even give a buzz!

    1. Dennis Lang says:

      I don’t know, while some flame out there will be others–the latest new twist on the technology, a more evolved way of self-presentation. A generation and those to come are being conditioned in this form of digital interaction. What does it all mean? Perhaps it’s just innocent entertainment.

  5. Joe Loveland says:

    At my daughter’s college, administrators say that freshman transitions have gotten more difficult because of Facebook. Reason: So many people are living in the past via Facebook — keeping up with every move of their high school friends — that they don’t transition to the present — prying themselves away from Facebook long enough to make friends on campus. Also, there are questions about whether those who use Facebook have worse grades.

  6. Mike Kennedy says:

    My kid uses Facebook and his grades aren’t where they could be — but I don’t think I can blame it on that. He is either hanging with friends, playing high school hockey (season just ended) or flying or spending time with his girlfriend.

    I certainly don’t think Facebook helps but there are so many distractions today with kids. When I was young, life was so much more boring — which made focusing much easier.

  7. PM says:

    When I was a kid (lo, those many years ago…) it was all about the football game and parties after, getting the phone without your parents being within listening distance, getting the use of a car (or one of your friends getting the use of a car), and then driving around trying to find out where everyone else was.

    basically the same things–trying to communicate socially, but a lot more face to face, and a lot more hit and miss. and the only opportunity to talk to more than one person at a time was at a party–mass communication really was not an option (unless some asshole stole one of the notes you wrote to a girl and put it up on a bulletin board…)

    What really amazes me is the new GPS enabled hook up apps for the I Phone!

      1. PM says:

        yeah, i remember the single wing. We even used it a couple of times, just to throw the opposing side off. And, certainly, black rotary phones!! The kind you rented from Southwestern Bell for something like $1/month. But no Ford flat six.

  8. Joe Loveland says:

    To clarify, I’m not criticizing Facebook, or the follks who like to post a lot. I view Facebook regularly, so my Facebook Friends’ postings obviously do something for me, and that is what I’m trying to understand. This is more about self-reflection than a criticism of others.

    Normally, short-form communications is not my thing. I like a more extended back-and-forth conversation. But still, I regularly lurk on Facebook for some reason…

  9. Ellen Mrja says:

    Is there something wrong with me? (Don’t answer that.) Joe: I think you’re an incredible writer. This post is an excellent example of that. And, the one and only time I laid eyes on you, I thought: “My, my, my. If he were only ten years younger…”

    However, I have never awakened in the morning nor finished dining nor gone on my evening stroll with the following question in mind: “I wonder what Joe Loveland is doing?”

    I’m not on Facebook. I don’t want to be on Facebook. It’s not that I have enough friends because, in actuality, I can count about three people I’d trust my life to. This is a pathetic number.

    I guess it’s that I sort of want to be left alone.

    My daughter, also, does not want me on Facebook. Who can blame her? With all due respect to anyone who has handled this differently, I think it’s sort of creepy to have your mom follow you on Facebook.

    It’s even creepier when your grandma does.

    So you won’t be able to gawk at me from Facebook, Joe. If you want to gawk, you’ll have to drive down here and peep into my windows with your binoculars ala Jimmy Stewart.

    1. Joe says:

      You’re right, Ellen. It is kinda creepy. I’m not defending my lurking. I’m confessing my lurking ways, and wondering why I, and millions of others, are drawn to lurk. This post presents a more noble theory about my skulking, but maybe we lurkers are darker than the theory supposes.

    2. Dennis Lang says:

      Hmmm… Of course, an underlying and insidious psycho- pathology. A subtle potentially virulent strain of voyeurism. Loveland, your legion of faithful followers are increasingly concerned. Please, before it’s too late, consider help. (Thankfully, self-recoginition is the first sign of recovery.)

    3. PM says:

      Hold on–couldn’t he manage to come to the SRC get together THAT MK IS PLANNING? Then he’d be able to gawk at you all he wants!

      1. Dennis Lang says:

        Yes, and now that Benidt’s Key Largo tan has assuredly faded, thereby more effectively blending in with those of us pathetically maintaining cadaverous Siberian complexions, I sense the time for confrontation is drawing near.

      2. Dennis Lang says:

        What, Benidt is still on vacation? Nice life. I’m sure, after months of reflection (the rum and tonics plus miscellaneous psychotropics can be revelatory), he will be imparting profound wisdom on his return to TSRC headquarters.

  10. Ellen Mrja says:

    Hey, Newt! Do conservatives lurk on Facebook? Or is this just another weakness that comes from being a lefty? (And I know you speak for conservatives everywhere, Newt.)

    I’ve read Sarah Palin is on Facebook and have HEARD she posts some pretty dopey stuff. Maybe that’s not a good idea for someone who wants to be taken seriously as a TV commentator.

  11. Newt says:

    I would agree, Ellen. Facebook has contributed to the dumbing-down of some figures who can ill-afford it.

    There’s pressure to appear hip, but it comes at a price. Just like when Bubba appeared on MTV and was asked about boxers or briefs.

      1. Ellen Mrja says:

        Hey PM: I assume you’re referring to conservatives vs. lefties and not boxers vs. briefs. So here’s my two cents:

        I learn so much from you on this blog. But I’ll tell you what: I’ve come to enjoy Newt’s commentary, as well. Why? He is a person of convictions.

        OK — now this next part is going to make me very unpopular. But I refuse to believe any sentinet well-fed adult American does not at heart know if she is liberal or conservative on most matters. There are times I find the moniker “independent” sort of irritating. People who claim themselves to be such say it with too much smugness: “I’m not a Democrat or a Republican. I’m an independent. I vote for the man.” (Admit it, that’s what you’ve said.)

        But what if “independent” simply means uninformed? Or ill-informed? Or self-interested? Or disinterested? Is an independent simply an “undecided” who drives a fancier car?

        Make a choice. Have the courage of your convictions. On this, Newt and I agree.

      2. PM says:

        But, that said (I refuse to choose either boxers or briefs), I do not see why there has to be an “either/or” choice, nor do i accept that one or the other is necessarily correct. Indeed, I would suggest that more often than not both are wrong–that there are almost always better choices out there than those put forward as the “liberal” or those put forward as the “conservative” options. And, even more to the point, both sides in their attempts at orthodoxy do more harm than good.

        What we need is more attempts to take the best of both worlds–in health care, for example, I think that what we need to do is to accept the “liberal” goal of universal coverage, but that we need to adopt “conservative” methods of bringing that about–by using market incentives and principals. By becoming only and forever a “liberal” or a “conservative” we become tied to ideologies and lose sight of the important things in life–improving peoples lives whenever we can.

        Frankly, i do not think that either “liberalism” or “conservatism” have served our country well in the past. The most American of philosophies is the pragmatism of John Dewey and William James and C. S. Pierce–and this is i think the best way to think of the issues that i have ever seen. We do not need to be defined by rigid philosophical ideologies. To hell with them! we need to do what works well. If it is conservative, great! If, in another instance, a liberal idea works well, then fantastic! And if any political party tries to tell me what to think or who to vote for, then to hell with it as well!

        This isn’t about the welfare of any party or any ideology, it is about what is best for all of us, and if you think that what is best for us can be found in a rigidly defined political ideology, then you are a fool!

        Sorry to be so intemperate, but you (not just you, but all of us) should spend more time thinking that maybe we might be wrong or mistaken, rather than digging ourselves further and further into the hole of our “convictions”.

      3. PM says:

        Frankly, most of the time our “convictions” are really our “prejudices”, the hoary old shibboleths that we were either raise on or that we were indoctrinated into–whether at school or church or at the dinner table or college classroom or wherever.

        Free your mind and the rest will follow!

  12. Joe Loveland says:

    Recent data about the ever-evolving patterns of youth social media use:

    Two Pew Internet Project surveys of teens and adults reveal a decline in blogging among teens and young adults and a modest rise among adults 30 and older. In 2006, 28% of teens ages 12-17 and young adults ages 18-29 were bloggers, but by 2009 the numbers had dropped to 14% of teens and 15% of young adults. During the same period, the percentage of online adults over thirty who were bloggers rose from 7% blogging in 2006 to 11% in 2009.

    Much of the drop in blogging among younger internet users may be attributable to changes in social network use by teens and young adults. Nearly three quarters (73%) of online teens and an equal number (72%) of young adults use social network sites. By contrast, older adults have not kept pace; some 40% of adults 30 and older use the social sites in the fall of 2009.

    Additionally, teens ages 12-17 do not use Twitter in large numbers – just 8% of online teens 12-17 say they ever use Twitter, a percentage similar to the number who use virtual worlds. This puts Twitter far down the list of popular online activities for teens and stands in stark contrast to their record of being early adopters of nearly every online activity.

  13. Ellen Mrja says:

    Teens don’t do Twitter – and neither do students in college – because they are texting and Facebooking.

    I’ll tell you what they do not do: watch TV.

  14. Dennis Lang says:

    Ellen (above): At what point can you separate having “convictions” from being dogmatic? I agree, Newt is terrific, but like most of us, maybe he (she) listens only what he wants to hear and that which reaffirms what he is already comfortable in believing. A fluid commentary through many posts, yes, but not exactly a paragon of open-mindedness. Is this personality type capable of learning anything beyond his predisposition?

  15. Ellen Mrja says:

    Hi, Dennis. Well if you want to equate convictions with dogma, I’d ask at what point can you separate “open minded” from being spineless?

    And you are correct: we all listen only to what we want to hear. But my point: I’ve come to enjoy reading Newt’s commentary because they do express a point of view.

    1. Dennis Lang says:

      Ellen–Sorry, that was weak. “Open minded/spineless analogous to “convictions/dogma”? You’re joshing us, right? Substance counts for zero? Newt’s commentary becomes compelling when it ‘s evident he has researched and supported it. Otherwise we’re all just blowing off steam and this is truly an onanistic experience (and we don’t require blogs for that). At it’s best the posts and commentary here have exceeded that. There!

  16. Ellen Mrja says:

    Aww..I’m just saying it’s a lot easier to be an “independent” and float above the messiness of smelly old partisan politics. But smelly old partisan politics is still the way business is conducted.

    It’s hard to be a writer; it’s a hell of a lot easier to be an editor. And a critic has the easiest job of all.

    1. PM says:

      Well, i can’t argue with that. That’s why I’m a solid “no” on the briefs/boxers issue–its the easy way out!

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