Saturday, November 20, 2010

Anti-Social Networking

The internet is growing.

Wow, what a dumb statement. I mean it's obvious, right?

It's like saying "space is expanding". It's a given. As I speak, there are hundreds of sites and services being added, making the total useful output of the web reach unimaginable proportions. Though the majority of the internet is porn, there are some other (useful) things available via the World Wide Web. If I said I didn't partake of the occasional bit of porn I'd be a liar... it has it's uses. Ebay has it's uses, supposing I wanted to find a rare item I had to have for whatever reason. So I definitely make use of this particular option when it's necessary. I could honestly go on about what I use intermittently, over time, on the interwebz, but I' going to give you the benefit of doubt by assuming you're intelligent and assume that you get where I'm going with this  observation.

There are staple things we require as human beings, however. There are things like food and drink, which we must use to survive in general. There are basic relationships like family and work, things we may or may not want depending on our moods. It is said that friends are the family of the 21st century, if we are to believe what Simon Pegg quipped in "Spaced". It's true... friends are people we choose to be around rather than feel obliged to spend time with. We choose their company based on traits that we decide suit our specifications... I dunno. We just take a "shine" to certain individuals for whatever reason there is to like someone. We even choose to dine or get smashed with said individuals. Isn't it great?

Now, assuming that we have friendships on this also-assumed little prerequisite, why is it necessary to "like" what someone says if you are friends with 'em anyway? Even if a friend says something I don't like, I appreciate it anyway. It's what makes friends friends, and what makes old friends, "gone-friends". See it's a case of, "this doesn't suit me any more so I'm moving on". You ultimately decide whether to stick by your friends or not. They choose whether to stick by you or not also. If a friend is not a real friend, they won't. That is it. If they have disappeared for years and suddenly resurfaced, it's probably for a good reason, like being lost in the Everglades for 20 years or been a political prisoner or something. Anything else is not really a good reason to just disappear unless it's on a moral or personal ground. It's like when you have a racist friend and you think "OK, you are making racist jokes that I personally am not offended by, but seeing as I don't agree with you or your narrow single-minded viewpoint, I am further on going to disassociate myself from you". And you move on. You haul ass out and find new friends, friends that are more like you are. If said racist friend wanted your "likes" or support on something, they'd want to generally not piss you off, wouldn't they? Now it's also likely that your situation or circumstances will just propel you in a different direction than your real friends. You may be countries apart, decided by work or love or maybe that friend just got a pain in their hole with the whole routine of their life. Either way, it's a given that you will make the effort to stay in contact, regardless of distance. If you are concerned that friends will not stand by the decisions you make on a personal basis, you should ask yourself just one thing... "if they cannot take me at my worst, do they deserve my best?"

And so I now move on to social networking, as I see it anyway. I was like, 16 or something when mobile phones came into the picture. Back then we couldn't believe there was a better way to stay in contact that was more practical than freezing your ass off, waiting on a wall. At least you could narrow down the waiting time on those freezing blocks before you set out. No more unnecessary minutes spent waiting in the rain and wind for your mates to show up. It was a great idea. I mean, just to clarify a point, find something out or make an arrangement, we had text and voice. It really is brilliant. I seen the hard-liners who refused to acknowledge the benefits of mobile phones fall throughout the years and accept that they were indeed practical. Now most everyone has a phone and some go further and have one that can put jam on your toast and iron your trousers. It really is fantastic.

The social networking thing though is just the opposite. Instead of housework we find ourselves clicking on refresh in case someone has posted a mundane thing like "just read my phone bill there" or "Larry fell on his face last night" something terrible and irrelevant anyway. You see what your friends and the people you don't give a shit about in equal measure got up to on a news feed every 10 minutes. It is killing the need for meeting up, chatting and the thought that occurs to you in no set time increments like "haven't heard from Paul in about four months, must ring or text and organise a meet-up". You don't give a shit - because you know Paul has bought a kennel and a Wispa in the last 24 hours and you aren't arsed to see anyone that you have to leave your desktop for. Social networking is Anti-social. I'll bet the people who dreamed them up don't even use them.

Some use the social network platform to be pedantic or paranoid. Some use it to make a point that they cannot or would not do in person... plenty of implying going on. You get people who write their news out... and the first post is someone correcting their spelling. You get people jumping into conversations they are not part of and implying that you are talking about something they chose to get offended by. Imagine sitting in a pub having a private conversation only to have some lout butt in and make trouble on pure assumption? Total bullshit. Yet I even find myself F5ing a page about three times before logging out. It is as addictive as scratching your balls... you know you shouldn't do it, but a few on the sly and everything's good.

Social networking used to have it's uses, back in the days of Myspace and Bebo... do you remember them?? Yeah, Myspace was for music mostly and Bebo was for... kids. You know, you could put up pictures and people could go "aww, that's kinda nice even though I'm not actually interested". Much the same as all those folks now talking about what they are studying or that their essay is due and how you still, realistically, don't give a shit. It's like that wedding coming up that you don't care about, those photos uploaded that you're not interested in and how loads of people are going to Lanzarote and you're not so you generally ignore all news feeds that have Lanzarote in for a week or so. Yep, it's making us care about what we don't... care about. It's not benefiting at all. Social networking doesn't promote friendships, it promotes procrastination... like that wasn't a big enough problem already.

Social networking is making me look bad as a person. Generally, I have no problem with anyone. Everybody likes to have their space, appreciates the space between one meet-up and the next. God forbid you should join a group like "Atheists Ireland" and then leave a week later. You have an annoying friend for life that won't leave you alone. See what I did there?

But seriously, social networking makes people look bad. It makes us look boring, conceited, brash, pedantic, obsessive and critical. And on the base of it all; lazy. It is proving that we are all avoiding real interaction. "Ah I won't meet such-and-such because I know what they are up to and can see them here any time"

What a pile of wank.

If the majority of your friends are on your social networking page, I have some bad news for you.

1 comment:

  1. well i couldnt agree with ya more!!!!! i have this thing now were i only allow myself to facebook on my phone so i am more than likely on the go(apart from now that is)and when im in company instead of my pocket i fuck the phone in the bag otherwise i check it all the time it annoys me more than anyone (sure fuck it) anyway people seem to use facebook as their very public diary nowadays strange that is!!!!