Facebooking My Life Away 1
Only the Lonely -that 1960 hit by Roy Orbison was a break out hit for the fledging movement known as rock & roll. Loneliness appears to have been a theme in the rock & roll years, from the 1966 Beatles and their Eleanor Rigby (all the lonely people where do they all come from) to the 1974 hit by America, Lonely People (this is for all the lonely people thinking that life has passed them by). I’m sure Roy Orbison had no idea how prescient he was being.
Psychologist John Cacioppo noted the startlingly and frightening difference revealed in one survey that asked people how many close contacts they had, with the most frequent number being 3 in 1984, and a significant drop a brief 20 years later when the most frequent number was zero. For Cacioppo the oddity was that we have seemingly much more social contact than ever before.
Yet when we look at the forms of those social contacts, we see it is almost all driven by technology. Os Guinness observed, “What counts in the rationalized world is efficiency, predictability, quantifiability, productivity, the substitution of technology for the human, and -from first to last – control over uncertainty.”
Our main avenues for communication are technology driven, the internet and social networks, email (I guess that is rapidly becoming old school if you noticed the latest version of the Beloit Mindset List), texting and Twitter. It seems the key signifier is the number of “friends” I have on Facebook (as of today, 218), or the number of people who follow my tweets (none as I have not mastered that bit of technology).
Yet of course the question to be asked is how well do we know these “friends” and how well do they know us? The New York Times ran an article in its Sunday magazine that is telling as it describes the use of Facebook by our youth. The article notes, “Their [teens’] stylized, mannered projections of self are as invented as any in a novel,” and “A 14-year-old I talked to about this sent me a message that pretty much sums it up: ‘I write more enthusiastically on Facebook than I actually am in real life. Like if I see something remotely funny I might say ‘HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA,’when really there is no expression on my face.’”
More this Wednesday but to end up this little note – ever notice, man I am old school, how during a number of conversations with our youth, if they have their cells on them they are texting, receiving texts or facebook pushes, and they answer them back. Saying something will get you the response, I’m listening. What makes me sad, is yes they hear, but are they really hearing?
What do you think?
Be blessed and be a blessing.