I have mixed emotions about social networking. No doubt I'll have to wear orange jumpsuits at the re-education facility for the untrendy by having no desire to Tweet/Twitter (besides watching Tweety Bird in A Gruesome Twosome). An onslaught of crass advertising plus a most user-unfriendly interface drove me away from MySpace. While I like Facebook, I discontinued my account for awhile.
There's a lot to like about Facebook - it's fun to think up bon (or not-so-bon) mots for the news feed, watch video clips chosen by movie buff friends, swap quips with far-flung contacts and receive all kinds of virtual stuff (movie posters, Parliament/Funkadelic albums, knishes from Brooklyn, Django Reinhardt references) - but the sense of lost privacy and potential for social subterfuge trouble me. It's remarkably easy to broadcast personal information publicly on Facebook . . . and that makes me remarkably uneasy! Although social networking websites are not meant to substitute for direct communication (A.K.A. in-person conversation) with our loved ones, dang it, we homosapiens are fallible, flawed creatures and do this anyway.
Christine Hassler said it aptly in her April 29, 2009 Huffington Post column:
"The internet makes it conveniently possible to avoid uncomfortable face to face interactions or phone calls. But that doesn't make it right. We're all still human beings and owe each other the dignity of not taking the easy or lazy way out when it comes to a conversation that may be difficult. All of us are becoming far too reliant on our gadgets and starved for real human connection."
Illustrating the last point is the following very funny piece about antisocial networking behaviors, as well as a clever spoof of that 1950's classroom staple, the Coronet Instructional Film.
And I can't in good conscience end this blog entry without serving up the real deal, a genuine 1953 Coronet Instructional Film, just the sort of thing that those readers who have attended the KFJC Psychotronix Film Festival have sat through more than once.