Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Facebook -- pure evil, or what?

Is Facebook pure unadulterated evil, sorta like that swirling green cylinder of Satan-in-a-Can in John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness?
The jury of my mind is still out. Partly, because I’m predisposed to hate Facebook. I’m a writer/cartoonist. I’m not a people person. I’m not chatty. I crawl in my cave, enter a trance, laugh insanely at my own jokes, then emerge with something to show the tribe. It’s how I’m wired.

Facebook is chatty by design. It’s a people-place for people-people to meet people. It resembles nothing so much as a high school cafeteria where the guys and gals are filling the echoing walls with oh did you hear about saundra I think she’s pregnant no she’s just fat stop what’d you think of true grit god my dad likes that that’s like for old people oh my god that looks like puke I’m not going to eat something that looks like puke already stop poking me god no I don’t want to be your friend like what part of fuck off do you not understand

Any content you introduce in this Babel is a rock dropped in a bottomless well of chat that quickly sinks out of sight.

So, the words you put into Facebook are probably wasted. FB will probably lay waste to the words outside of it as well.
So, when I finally emerge from my cave with something for people to read, I suspect they’ll either be on FB or have the attention span of a hummingbird with ADD and not want to read in their spare time anyway.

Being a cranky writer, that’s what I’m predisposed to think.

Or maybe not.

To quote Fugate's Law of Media: Each new wave of media is followed by a reactionary anti-wave of media critics claiming the new media is turning people into idiots and anti-social bastards.

Corollary: Like stopped clocks, reactionary media critics are sometimes right.

Music videos, comic books, rock and roll, radio, television, movies, jazz music, the Wizard of Oz books, the telephone and the printing press were all blamed for the decline and fall of everything. As McLuhan points out, even literacy itself was accused of destroying oral memory and poetry in ancient Greece. But the "stopped clock" argument remains. TV, for example, really did turn people into idiots. Facebook may very well accelerate the process. Soon, we will all be devo.

The jury is still out.

Additional musings: