Monday, March 21, 2011

A modest open letter to Social Media

Hi Social Media. I know we haven't had the best relationship. I never knew about Friendster until MySpace had replaced it, and even MySpace held no interest for me. (Back when I was in a band there was no such online outlet for us to promote ourselves, but any realistic appraisal of how we were would conclude it's very much for the best that we didn't have MySpace around.) Even after my wife and a number of others I knew joined Facebook I resisted—and I have fully admitted that by the time I gave in and signed up it was mostly just to get them to stop hounding me. With Twitter (now 5 years old) I'd dismissed it for the longest time and only signed up late last year, and my tweets have been very intermittent much of the time.

But I have kept at it (I log in to Facebook more often than most of the people I appeased when I joined) and have even garnered one bona fide follower on Twitter.

Anyway, Social Media, I need to apologize to you. Last week I went to an event where semi-famous people were assembled and I simply sat there and paid attention to what was going on, without tweeting a single thought, without snapping a photo to upload to Facebook, and even later on I didn't blog about it. I concede that by contemporary standards this lack of acknowledgment on any or all of your various outlets makes it as though I wasn't really there, that I did not enjoy it as much as I perceived I did while I was experiencing it, and that in your eyes I have brought disgrace upon myself and upon the entire network of people with smart phones/tablets/laptops with wireless cards.

I do hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me, and I fully understand why you do not devote much of your valuable but limited attention span on me.

I wish I could say it won't happen again, but that's not a promise I can make. I know I am a disappointment to you because of my general tendency to not document every insipid thought as it occurs and my tacit understanding that my life is, more often than not, not all that interesting. This level of self-awareness runs contrary to all you stand for, and thus I'm misusing the ways in which I engage in your various manifestations. I beg for your compassion, theoretical though it may be, and hope you can understand that it's not my fault; I came of age in the era before you existed, and thus was not raised in your warm yet distant embrace, so my inclinations are not fully in line with your principles.

Also, I should apologize for not having more grammatical and spelling errors.

However, please do not give up on me. As I get older and my mind's acuity inevitably starts to fade I will likely move closer—without really trying—to the ideal mindset for you. Sure, my fingers will lose the necessary nimblity to work the keys on the phone, but I harbor faith in your brother, Technology, to provide some means of transmitting to you directly from the brain (in real time) by the time my hands fail completely.

There is hope for our relationship. I know you have already stopped listening by this point, given how many characters I've already exceeded in typing this, but the future looks bright for us, even though you have no awareness of me at the moment.

It's okay. One of my many flaws is patience. I believe I have enough for both of us for now, but with any luck someday I'll overcome that hurdle as you require.

Baby steps.

Although if I'm really honest, I suspect this is a phase that will pass. It will remain too much effort to get people to pay attention, and 140 characters is still too few for what I want to say most of the time. But having an occasional-and-somewhat-theoretical relationship seems to be precisely the nature of social media, is it not? Thus what we have is completely in accord with how relationships you foster should be.

We'll remain "friends," I'm sure.

Thank you for allowing me to pretend I had some of your time.


  1. Nice. But I think social media owes us an apology.

  2. I was one of the last to join Facebook, and one of the first to leave. The party ended before I got there. ;-)

  3. I've had it with Facebook. It keeps changing things all the time. Now if you hit ENTER while writing to start a new paragraph, your comment is automatically posted. You have to hit SHIFT-ENTER twice to leave a space between block paragraphs. The COMMENT button has been deleted.

    I've had problems with Blogger but nothing like FB BS!


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