Monday, November 30, 2009

Does Facebook follow our society's ups & downs?

Here's a Facebook message verbatim (?) as posted.
☆ .•´ •´¨¨)) -:¦:- early ☆ ((¸¸.•´ ☆ nite nite ☆ -:¦:- ((¸ ¸.•´ ☆ sprinkles ☆ ☆ * ***fairy hugz****
Also, from same person same day:
"----- is really fed up with inconsiderate people!"

Here's another friend. A typical message verbatim from this former h.s. classmate (transferred out two years in, so perhaps that may account for his orthographic skills) turned entrepreneur. Luckily after an initial flurry of similar themes and grammar, he's diminished his appeals. He lives in Pacific Palisades now and poses by a very fancy car; I assume his FB profile tells truly about such conspicuous consumption.

TELECOM & BLUEBERRIES...or MAKE MINE A BLACKBERRY: Being approached about every opportunity has it's benefits 1) Opportunity to learn first hand about a company & it's products 2) Opportunity to compare ACN's Global Telecom Opp...ortunity to the theirs. Hands Down ACN's Comp Plan & Services WIN! Every network marketer has 2 things a Product & a phone. Funny how every opportunity needs the service ACN offers.

Yeah, funny. On a more humorous, if intentionally so note, around the same time, another friend twittered this: "No one should die because they like Irish music, & no one should go broke because they do it for a living. If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day." This was in response to an attempt to go viral via this ubiquitous 9/4/09 message: "No one should die because they cannot afford health care and no one should go broke because they get sick. [If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day.]"

That was in response to Obama's dickering with the insurance industry and "wellness provider" monoliths towering over any chance of decent medical plans. With controls on spending absent, I wonder indeed how the new system will be better than the horrendous one we already have, or do not. Not that the fundamental power to decide life-and-death issues is gone, only shifted, from the corporations alone to them in league with the government, over what they will and will not pay.

Trillions: no matter who pays, we pay. Over a fourth of all Medicare is paid for those in their final year of life. Having seen my father's final year end earlier this current year, I understand the emotional difficulties. This debate reminds us of our mortality, forces that no anointed leader can rescue us from. I do wonder if people will eat better, exercise more, and ease up on the obesity, heart disease, and diabetes that some say already account for 75% of health costs right now. These are often preventable, or reducible causes that are not givens, not inherited, not fated. And I fear much of what we do and what we will pay out for as taxpayers, as policy holders, comes after the fact, for those who haven't taken care of themselves. Does this sound too harsh? It seems the unspoken side of this dilemma.

We're a nation that loves quick fixes after overindulgence. Lose that flab after all that holiday stuffing. Most of my neighbors and fellow voters thought miracles would begin promptly a year ago. Given the $19 million our president raked in personally during his campaign from these same insurers, neither his dithering nor the rhetoric of his opposition surprises me, but apparently his inevitable compromise startles the 68 million who voted for a faith healer. The dependence of his wife's income on this healthcare industry makes me skeptical about their loyalties. But I digress.

Nearly a season later, FB posts by most concerned appear to have markedly decreased. Even the Blueberry businessman. Our economy despite boasts of Wall Street and Oval Office has not boosted fortunes of many of my peers. A few single or kid-free (or college-bound via their kid) folks continue to travel about and tell the rest of us their sights, yet others lament on Facebook their job prospects, health fears, and stressful routines. I wonder how the reduction in FB activity (I joined late, last February) can be graphed related to unemployment rates, fears of a stable future, and pressing demands that take precedence over breathless updates and those fun quizzes? (I do the latter but avoid the former; I set my preferences on FB to reveal little to all and use the system to keep in touch with individuals more than as a broadcast. My blog entries feed into it; otherwise I try to keep a lower profile.)

Although I have now gained over a hundred "Friends," I estimate 20%-25% of them actually post regularly, however loosely defined, on Facebook. (Will they skim this entry, once fed over there?) I read the other day that Twitter's already counted on the way out among hipsters. Don't get me started on one lovable but eccentric real-world friend who once in a while bursts on FB via cross-uploading cryptic packed accounts from Twitter of his day out on the town. Twitter also seems to be beloved by-- from my limited p-o-v, a few publishing types-- journalists and writers eager to promote their work, understandably if a bit confusingly. Still, in this day of outsourcing and freelancing, I cannot blame them for such transmedia. I've learned of great articles and even a few books this way.

Not every medium's so bustling today. My e-mail hardly has anybody sending me correspondence unrelated to work, and often's about as scant in terms of personal messages as my mailbox has been for perhaps years or decades now. As I eschew the phone unless no other option exists for any form of communication, maybe many more driven to socially network, those extroverted Type A chattering classes, now resort to forms of messaging that fly under my radar or beyond my narrow technological ken.

Still, being a stay-at-home sort happy to browse and surf, I can handle a vicarious life on the Net fine. I must interact enough in crowded cities and jammed classrooms to fulfill my supposedly evolved necessity for face-to-face human contact. Otherwise, at this distance, I balance peeping with discretion adroitly. So I hope.

Cartoon: Dave Coverly by way of blog "Dangerous Intersections"


tamerlane said...

Fionnchu is a figment of my ISP.

Fionnchú said...

Next we'll be getting into a discussion of whether I exist or not. You may have at Liberal Rapture for your deist/atheist guest post set a record for, what, 88 comments and counting a few days later?

Blaiser said...

Brother Fionnchú -- Yes, Facebook hasn't changed people's inane habits, it's true. I'm with you on the phone, especially on the commuter train. It's the breakdown of boundaries, or the breakdown of civility, or maybe it's just that I'm over 40 now, and have just dropped my application for membership in the Snarky Old Guy's Guild into the Post....

I have *absolutely* no space for Twitter in my life, however. Maybe if I spent half as much time on Facebook.... no, I don't think so. I'm thinking that people need less, not more Narcissism in their lives. It's a fine line, I know.

Hope your holiday season is tolerable. December in California is such a strange concept to me!

Fionnchú said...

Blaiser, I just read seconds ago a NYT piece on how FB & Twitter are being hacked so users clicking a come-on link then get an embarassing or tacky message sent from them to 384 of their closest "friends," unknowingly. I reckon we trust more our networks, formed on blogs like this, but it's easier to broadcast, or narrowcast, to a circle online in the easy way FB & T allow. It does play into narcissism, but in its defense (at least on FB), I'd suggest it also bonds us together, scattered as we are otherwise, when in person, atomized, we tend to shrink from contact (back to the commuter train).

Have a great holiday yourself, and it's been chilly lately for LA, if not by standards anywhere else...