Social Networking – What IS it?

Sci Fi writer Fritz Lieber wrote more than one short story about a future population so satiated with virtual reality that they no longer participated in real life. When Karl Marx said religion was the opiate of the masses, he reckoned without Facebook. Enough of us are on line enough that the real world of politics and peril ceases to be of much interest.
Early this year our government decided that protests on Facebook, even with thousands of protesters signed up, were not anything to worry about. Because very few turned up at the rallies held in cities across the country. Protesters spent hous on line, marshalling people to object to highhanded tactics but few of them spent any time on foot.
There are a lot of folk sayings about talk being cheap and not walking the talk, all heralding such a time as this in the world, where we are too busy typing our walk to put on our shoes and get out there. So Social Networking, then, is a place to let off steam without anybody getting hurt. What a perfect safety net for the people in power! They would have to invent it, if it didn’t already exist. Social Networkiing is a universal mudroom where we hang up our coats and wipe off our boots before slipping easily into the comfy chair before the fire.
Revolutions are brutish, nasty, dangerous and perhaps unneccessary when everyone has a soapbox from which to yell. Perhaps we have seen the last of them in North America, thanks to social networking. which is a pacifier, an equalizer, a de-stressor to pass the time, more interactive than television, (where nobody knows your name or how many friends you have).
If the daily interface with Social Networking were to be taken away, the withdrawal pangs of millions would impact our world like nothing has ever done before. Back to daily life without that feedback from friends and family or the status such connections give anyone involved.
I admit to knowing Social Networkiing is a sometime thing, an experience that will brand forever these years and generations, and still feeling pleasure for having been part of it. Very few of my friends are on it and none of them have experimented with what it has to offer, mostly out of indifference, some from fear.
Some of the experience is amusing. The other day I mistakenly ‘friended’ a man whose name is at the end of the alphabet. Supposedly recommended by a mutual friend, I went ahead and lazily clicked instead of checking him out. If I had, I would’ve found that quoting Bible verses and making intoward assumptions about them, is the foundation of his life.
Once he began I wanted him to stop. But from long experience with Bible quoters, I knew he wouldn’t. So to ‘unfriend’ him, I had to click on rows and rows, and rows of my now nearly 2200 friends till I found him lingering at the bottom and took him out of my circle. Now I must watch cautiously lest he turn up as an ‘add friend’ suggestion again, as so many difficult individuals with agendas and few friends, tend to do, repetitiously.
With his addiction to religion AND Social Networking, perhaps more, the now defriended seemed to be awash in opiates. I keep expecting the streets to be much more bare and quiet, given the keyboarding of so many behind closed doors.
All it will take now to make a revolution is to unplug everybody who will wake up, dazedly to a world they haven’t inhabited for some time, rub their eyes and say, ‘Wha?’ Those who haven’t been plugged in all along will rule the universe.

1 Comment


  1. Hmmm, thought provoking.

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