Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Facebook & Twitter

Okay, so as not to seem completely 19th century, a while back, I joined both Facebook and Twitter. Last I heard, if Facebook was a country, it would be the sixth largest in the world, and since I wrote a bunch of material concerning an online community called "CyberNation," a while back, I felt as if it was reasonable that I should see how the real deal worked. (This was the same series where, if you look, you can see where I invented the iPhone, though I didn't call it that.)

I have to say, I liked my version of the online community better. (Though the iPhone beats the Virgil ...)

I don't know how many friends I have on Facebook, but there are some great people on my list. Smart, funny, talented. And what I find most amazing about some of those smart, funny, and talented people, is how ... banal they come across.

Like listening to the Nixon tapes. This man was the President and supposedly a bright fellow, but if you listen to him talking to his supposedly-bright advisers, you wouldn't know it.

Do I really care -- does anybody care? -- about how which Star Trek actors they would be? About what they had for breakfast? Or the IQ test, which if you have the brains God gave a gray goat, you can see is based entirely on how fast you can answer the questions? How do such things inform or enrich their lives? Bad enough they spend way too much time doing 'em, must they compound it by telling us about it?

That's what blogs are for, right? I can hold forth at length about such mundane things.

True, there are posts that have substance -- links to videos I enjoy -- at least two of the posters to my blog are into aerial dances, with ropes and rings and like that, and that is fascinating to watch. And some writers have links to their blogs, which are interesting to read. And there are some old friends who have been out of touch who've popped up, and it is great to re-connect and see how they have gotten on in the world, but ...

Of course, I'm not much on small talk at parties either, so probably that's just me.

As for Twitter ...

I don't think I've actually posted anything there, though I apparently have followers. What, I wonder, are they following when they send me notes telling me this? Steve's ghost, I guess.

Though I have had some fun coming up with neologistic verb forms, based on the anglo-saxon tenses for defecate: As in, "Did you tweet?" "Yes, I twat ..."


Worg said...

I'm with you on this. Both counts. I'm "neterati" from the Arpanet days. I've read newsgroups on a teletype. And this couple of new services are dumber than dumb. Twitter is basically microblogging, and I find the concept of that inherently stupid. The usually odious Penny Arcade seems to agree:

Facebook is arguably somewhat better. It's basically a Myspace for rather older narcissists who like to keep up with the people they meet at the metrosexual coffee shops, the ones they sip latte in while typing ostentatiously on their Mac laptops.

There was a trailer park effect that happened on the net in about 1998 with AOL. This is kind of similar but the demographic is the latte sipper.

Personally I'd rather shove splinters into my eyeballs than get on Twatter OR Fakebook. Usually when a woman I'm interested in mentions either one it's a warning sign that I will dislike her intensely.

Dan Moran said...

I'm on Facebook; I just sent you a friend request.

I'm completely baffled by twitter. As far as I can tell, its only "feature" is that it keeps you from running on at the mouth. I'm not against narcissism (there's a word I frequently have difficulty stopping spelling) ... but I can't imagine anyone is really interested in what I'm doing at any given moment of the day. Who on Earth reads that crap?

Todd Erven said...

I'm on Facebook as well, although I'm not very active on it. If it didn't send me an email every time I received a Facebook message, I'd probably never find out about them.

The building I live in uses Facebook to organize social get-togethers, which is handy. However, all the stupid quizzes, surveys, and club invites have almost killed it for me. I don't even log on to check status updates anymore, just because it's annoying to wade through all the shit.

Dosbears said...

I like the trend aggregators of twitter, such as, which you can also view with tweetdeck. The trend of the chatter tends to be more interesting than the chatter itself. Reminds me a little of the instant popularity ratings on Max Headroom.

Bobbe Edmonds said...

I was on myspace for a short while, as well as maintaining a blog and a website. When facebook, friendster, twitter and all the other "social networking" sites came out, I got about a dozen requests per for membership.

It occurs to me that people don't need to have THAT much access to me. My blog says everything I want to say, my website (which, one day, I shall resurrect) says everything about my school, and youtube is good for video stuff. I don't need to twitter everyone about what I had for breakfast, and there comes a time when a man just needs to WALK AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER. Exactly how much of a web presence do you need?

Anonymous said...

As the joke goes...

It looks like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook will be merging. The new company will be called "YouTwitFace".

Worg said...

A couple of years ago I was involved in a business that employed some early-20s emo people.

This was in Fayetteville, Biloxi, Jax and Fort Lauderdale.

Down there, it was all Myspace all the time. I don't *GET* Myspace. It's basically a brochure advertising yourself.

Big damn deal.

Captcha says "dindin," which is my cue to go eat. Bobbe, I expect to see more kembangans from you ASAP.

Dan Moran said...

Heh. One of the best business proposals I ran across in some time came from a buddy who was going to create an archive site called "" It would spider Myspace and then, 10 years later, when you were up for your promotion or considering running for office or about to get married, would offer to delete your myspace archive ... for a fee. Pretty sure it was illegal, but it was one of the best actual business plans I've ever seen. :-)

I worked at Myspace for a while. Internet culture is generally reasonably sane -- too many talented people in the room for people to get rancid egos about what they do -- but Myspace was an exception, entirely due to Fox's influence on the place, I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

I've become entrenched in Facebook -- despite the requisite "I'm making Mac & Cheese for the kids" status updates.

Twitter, on the other hand, is my natural enemy. This is because I am a proponent of actually putting together concise, thoughtful sentiments. Hell, I even proofread them (usually)! Twitter seems to encourage you to spew forth textual masturbation with no regard for sentence flow, spelling, or even making a lick of sense.

For a well-known author like you Steve, Twitter carries a little more weight, as people are interested in your goings-on. But a nobody like me has no use for it.

J.D. Ray said...

Twitter works great for what I use it for: Sending out updates about the cafe. I send out things like,

"Live music at The Morning Star Cafe this evening for happy hour. Look for them to start around 5:00 p.m."


"Spring Reign is off, picked up a sixth barrel of Fish Tale Organic Summer Ale, now on our 'out of town guest' tap. Get it while you can!"

Anyone who wants to send out updates about their emotional state or the progress they're making on their latest bowel movement is in desperate need of some time away from the computer.

Waitaminute... Didn't I just post something on [ahem] someone else's blog about being jealous about their Father's Day experience...? I need some time away from the computer.

Dan Moran said...

Time away from the computer is rarely a bad thing.

I happened to have a great father's day this year, but they're usually pretty good. So is Mother's Day, Christmas, kid's birthdays, etc. It's a reason to gather the family around and focus on a particular individual, and while it's nice when it's you, it's the gathering part that's important.

jks9199 said...

I have professional Facebook & Myspace accounts. They serve a purpose...

I have a personal Facebook account that I started when my kid was born. My kid was a micropremie, and so I set up the Facebook account to be able to update family & friends in one shot, rather than doing 15 phone calls, a couple emails (can fit more people in an email), etc.

Most of the fluff that comes around I can do without... though someone did get me hooked on a game called Mousehunt in a moment of weakness.