Why I Don’t Like Likes

Suzy XYZ and ten other people like your status.”

We’ve all seen the notification, after hitting the globe with the red rectangle that tells us someone thought of us today. For me, finding out that that red flag only means someone “liked” something I wrote is only mildly satisfying. And then I realize that I’m the problem, I’m the ghost in the machine.

When I started regularly Facebooking a year ago (“No Facebook, ever!” I had always firmly held, but my resolutions melted when I found it was the only way of keeping up to speed with our swiftly tilting planet), it didn’t take me too long to realize that the majority of users don’t actually produce regular content. Perhaps I was just spoiled as an internet babe, cutting my teeth on the blogosphere as my first form of web discourse. When I joined Facebook, I knew that it wasn’t going to be greatly satisfying, but I joined anyway. Scanning the news feed, looking for actual information about my friends, I found that the more popular pastime is reposting news articles and memes.

I’m a high-content guy. I recently sent a writing partner my share of ideation on a piece of work we’re doing, and she responded, basically, “Nope. I can’t do this. To much information. Break it down.” She suggested crumbling the (very big) project into smaller chunks…the sizes she cited left me with a sense of impatient disappointment.

Perhaps Facebook isn’t the problem. And I’m willing to accept this as a major possibility, because I know I’m a major social anomaly. Maybe I’m the problem. Facebook isn’t a social catch-all; it’s tailored to a certain set of efficient people. So, while I may enjoy taking two minutes to craft a comment for someone’s post, others will just hit “like.” A binary love note will appear on my dashboard…like getting a signed Hallmark card from a long-lost friend.

This speaks to the infrastructure of the website, though. It is, in many ways, a depersonalized social machine. I suppose that, since the average Facebooker has approximately 500 friends, it needs to be depersonalized for it to work at all. If each of those 500 friends posted regular content daily, one would never get through one’s timeline. And if you commented on the daily statuses of 500 people, it would take an eternity to catch up. Hence, it is much quicker just to hit the thumbs-up button. Liking and sharing, rather than leaving text, is a pragmatic shift in interactions, designed to cope with how fast users must consume “content” in order to get up to speed.

If the majority of Facebook users spent more time crafting content and responding thoughtfully to statuses, we would spend a lot more time on Facebook. As a result, people would have to start rethinking how many people with whom we are willing to keep in touch. 500 would become 50, and perhaps 50 would even become 5.

However, once again I realize most of this is me. Not everyone likes high-volume text–Some people would rather eat candy than cake. Ultimately, Facebook is an exercise in mass-production, and as with all manufacturing operations, processes must be streamlined and optimized to work efficiently.

Kachunk. Kachunk. Whirr.

I’m The One

Happy sunday everyone!

Felt a little poetic this morning.

Enjoy!

Photo Credit Tristan Nitot via Wikimedia Commons

I am the one who watches the sunrise,

I’m the one who wakes you up,

I am the one who points out the pigeons,

I’m the one who hails the taxis.

#

When we cry, the planes fly on,

When the tourists are blind to the tears,

I am the one who doesn’t hear the traffic,

I’m the one that can’t see the world

For all its powder-blue and golden glory.

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I am the one who watches the sundown,

I’m the one who tells you it’s time,

I am the one who turns out the lights,

I’m the one who ducks outside the door,

Telling you I’ll see you tomorrow,

I’m the one who spends a sleepless night,

Staring at a far off streetlamp, and the moth

That blindly circles its light.

#

I am the one who thinks three thoughts,

I’m the one who makes conversation,

I’m the one who makes reservations,

I’m the one who schedules the outings,

Who turns over,

And falls asleep alone,

Under the shadow of the Tour.

Materialism and Friendships — When Stuff Is Better Than People

We all probably know those people whose jobs take them away. And I don’t mean, they moved to the next city over. I mean they literally, moved AWAY, to like Timbuktu or someplace. I, for one, used to be baffled by this. Why would somebody give up their home and their friends to move someplace where they didn’t know anybody, just for a better job?

I understand that when it comes to supporting yourself/your family, you do what you have to. Better to be happy in another land than to be starving at home. But that aside, the whole idea of “Striving” for a better job, in some situations, could be a helpful insight—value of materialism over relationships.

It is said that no man, on his deathbed, looks up at the cracked plaster of the ceiling and says, “Wowzers, I wish I had made more money. I wish’d I’d gone to a couple more of those board meetings. I wish’d I’d have sold a few more vacuum cleaners, and written more instruction manuals. Yes, I think then I’d be ready to go.”

Zig Ziglar once said, “Money won’t make you happy…but everybody wants to find out for themselves.” 😀

So what place does materialism play in friendships?

A study was done in which it was discovered that people who talked about their stuff were more liked that people who talked about experience.

Quoted from the article (I added the bold):

Findings from a 2009 study at San Francisco State University, reported at a Society for Personality and Social Psychology meeting late in the year, showed that since experiences tend to include other people, the memory of that experience and the time spent together brings the participants closer together – the bond formed over the shared experience tends to be lasting.

On the contrary, purchases are usually made alone, and with no one to share the joy, the excitement of a new purchase is much more short-lived than the excitement of an experience, which can remain in one’s mind for a long time.

You can read the full article here.

So what is this all getting at?

The American Dream. Owning a car. A house. Having those three acres of land. Neighbors? The neighbors have their own lives to live!!! Happiness comes from owning that Mustang you’ve always dreamed about, and going to college so you can make more money. Happiness is about your 42″ television, your iPhone, your Ray-Ban sunglasses, your bright red Chuck Taylors. Home is where the heart is, and so is the bank. Friends? Ehhh…they’re nice. But—to quote the barnyard animals from Garfield & Friends: “Friends are there to help you get started…but when you’re already started, who needs ’em?”

Tongue-in-cheek? I’ll let you deduce that. 😉

Written in good humor,

-Seph

 

 

 

 

Doers vs. Lingerers

I believe it’s been pointed out that you can’t have a book that’s too heavily fixated on character development, or one that’s too fixated on plot. You must balance them, like salt & pepper, sweet & sour, children & adults, man & woman, nature & order, etcetera & etcetera.

I’m in the midst of writing my next novel, which would be a nice scapegoat  for my current absence from the blogosphere… 😦 (To be honest, though, an excuse might be out of order…It’s probably better to be writing than blogging, as most of you, I imagine, will agree!…and don’t pretend that you don’t know the difference.) In this novel, I’m realizing that I’m putting a huge emphasis on character development, not so much on plot. And I’m still at the beginning, so there is time for the plot to outgrow the characters so it will be the adventure novel I hope it to be, and not a cozy drama. 🙂

But this reminds me of the two kinds of people in life. The doers, and the lingerers. Is it just me that has experienced this? Or can I get an “Uh-huh?”

Doers?

DOERS

Doers keep going, are always moving. Their focus in life is on getting things done, and experiencing events and experiences (I know, it’s redundant, I know…) It may be hard for a doer to enjoy a laid-back event that lasts for hours because of where their focus lies: in getting things done.

Doers might be:

  • More focused on important, “Worthwhile” events rather than intimate, informal parties.
  • Planners rather than spontaneous.
  • More interested in “Networking” than “Close Friendships.”

Lingerer? Photo © Joe Mabel, Wikimedia Commons

LINGERERS

While lingerers may seem the more preferable type to be, they can also be less ambitious than doers. They can tend to stay in one spot longer, geographically, and not take life so quickly. Some of your best friends in life may be lingerers, i.e. those who have nothing better to do than to stick around 😉

Lingerers may:

  • Get excited for smaller, closer events with less people.
  • Stay late at parties and events.
  • Enjoy “Just being.”

My novel is definitely a lingerer, as am I. What kind of person/writer are you? Do you enjoy lingering, or are you a get-er-done-er?

Moral: Don’t Gossip. Just…Just Don’t.

I realized today how dangerous gossip can be. This is NOT a story from my life, this is just one of those extended “What if!!!” situations. I thought it might be fun to blog about.

* * * * *

Let’s say, for instance, somebody told you something about somebody else.

Then, you go and tell somebody else (not the somebody else that it was about—an other somebody else) what the first person told you. Now, you both draw a conclusion about the first two people (that the first one is a gossip, and the second one is a bad person), and then you talk with each other about how you feel some way about those people. You may even approach the first person and talk some more about it, then they tell you that the second person—who was not who you thought it was—actually didn’t do what they said that they did. Oops. Now, you’ve misjudged both two people: The first person isn’t just a gossip, they’re an untruthful gossip (there IS a difference!), and the second person isn’t all that bad after all.

Now, you go and try to tell that confidante that you talked to that you were wrong, and the first person told you that the second person was somebody else, and you got it wrong. Now the person that you’re talking to is upset at you, because they just went and confronted the second person (the one that was accused) who denied all claims (righteously) and they’re both offended now. Now you are friendless in that direction. So you go and have some chai with the first person, who you’ve decided is a miserable gossip and should be avoided—well except for today, when you’re going to tell them off for making your life miserable.

So, over chai, you spill your guts, and it just gets worse. Now First Person is angry at you, Third Person is angry at you, and you learn something else—First Person went and asked forgiveness of Second Person, and told them that they told you about what they thought about them. Second Person is angry at you now, because Third Person told her that you told him about what First Person said about Second Person.

Now, Second Person is furious at First Person.

Third Person hates you, and hates First Person because of how he misled the both of you.

First Person is angry at you for taking out your anger on him, after all it was only accidental, and everybody makes mistakes. Sheesh! He thought you were a better friend than that.

So you go and complain to someone else. His name is…you guessed it, Fourth Person.

You tell Fourth Person about how First Person misled you, how Third Person seemed to be a good listener but just got angry when the whole thing progressed, and there’s no HOPE of gaining back Second Person’s friendship.

Fourth Person says he’s very sorry for you, but that’s not the story he heard.

Turns out, Second Person came and talked to Fourth Person before you showed up. Second Person said that both First Person, Third Person, and you were gossiping about his sister-in-law.

Second Person was Fourth Person’s sister-in-law? Fail.

Moreover (oh not that word!!!), before all this started, Second Person and Third Person had been seeing each other. That was why Third Person had to go confront Second Person—There were to be no secrets between the two if it was going to work out. Second Person accused Third Person of mistrusting her. Now they are both angry at each other, and at you, and so are persons One and Four.

Happy?

Moral: Don’t Gossip. Just…Just don’t.