Friday, October 16, 2009

On Things Facebookish (aka social networking)

OK, I give up! I don't get it.

I've worked for over thirty-five years in public radio. I always thought of it as ephemeral, there for the now, wafted across the air waves into oblivion.

Now, with podcasting, internet streams, on-demand downloading, radio has established a permanent presence, if anything in this world is permanent, which it isn't. Now you can get your radio on-demand, when and where you want it. It's not really radio anymore, it's cyber information purveyance.


I've dabbled in Facebook for the last few months, trying to figure out the draw of "Friends," "Pages," and all the streaming minutiae of "social networking." I've failed. I don't get it.

The individual contributions scroll down the screen and get lost off the bottom faster than I can read and keep track of them. There's a bewildering array of causes, groups, games, events, pictures, videos and other things I never did figure out. It's like sitting in the laundry room watching the front-loader go from agitate to the spin cycle.

Social networking is far more ephemeral than radio ever was.

And now they (you know who they are) want to combine radio with social networking, thus diluting and ephemoralizing both more than either was individually.

No wonder the young set spends hours walking, biking, driving down the street, staring into the limpid crystal screen of the hypnotic electronic communications device held before them.

We used to say, "never trust anyone over thirty!" Now we (you know who we are) say, never trust anyone under fifty!"

The world turns.