22 November 2012
02 February 2012
Are social media sites making us less social? Think about it. There is not room for small talk in a 140 character message. We all skip the pleasantries, and get down to business. Just 10 years ago we were required to strike up conversations, learn pleasantries, and ask meaningless questions to act like we cared. Despite this previous post, I have rejoined the facebook/twiiter world, but wonder again if it is more damaging than good.
In some regards, this is a benefit. I was never good at small talk, because I typically just did not care. Sure, its polite to ask how the family is doing, and if there is anything new at the office, but in all honesty, do we really care? Furthermore, do we even understand? Further-furthermore, are we even honest in our answers? Imagine this conversation:
Me to casual friend #1: “ Hey, how you been? It’s been a while eh?”
Casual Friend: “Yeah, it sure has. What’s new?”
Casual Friend: “I hear ya man. How’s the family?”
Me: “Well, my oldest daughter is really concerned about one of her friends at school always teasing her. She comes home each day talking about how she really wants to be friends with this girl, but that she is mean at recess. She has also been doing so well with her assignments that her friends accuse of her being the teachers pet. My boy loves to come home and watch old episodes of Tom and Jerry, and has recently been playing in a basketball recreation league. He's also obsessed with Star Wars, just like I was and and still am. My youngest sucks her thumb and can’t wait until the next Mickey Mouse clubhouse episode comes on. She also spends all day making messes of the house for her older brother and sister to clean up when they get home from school.”
Or suppose he/she asked me, “how’s work?” Does the casual friend really want honesty? “Well, we responded on a young adult that got so mad at her boyfriend that she overdosed on some medication, ending her life. Her parents found her dead in her apartment when they decided to stop by for a surprise visit. Then later that day, a new driver wrecked the family car while driving home from the drivers license division. Right after that we got called to a care facility for a woman that couldn’t stop throwing up. We were also called by the police office to do a welfare check on a man who lives alone with 96 cats and doesn’t bother cleaning up after them as they crap all over the house. A young family has to replace their entire basement carpet after a sewage system backed up, flooding the place. Then we had to go enforce the new EPA regulations and tell a family to put out the fire they were using in the backyard because another anonymous neighbor down the road was annoyed with the smoke. And to cap it all off, a young kid was left unattended and played with matches, burning down the families dream home.”
At what point does the casual friend zone out? At what point did you zone out just reading about it?
So yeah, social media may be helping our lives? My thoughts though, are that it makes us dumber. When we are with good friends or family, our conversation pieces are lacking, and I bet at any given family party, the majority of attendees are doing something on their smart phones, and hardly interacting at all.
What are the long term consequences of this? Perhaps the Mayans stopped the calendar at Dec 21st because they knew we would all have phones that announce the date to us each morning when we awake? Our social skills are going to deteriorate to the point that it will become a module in history classes in high school before too long.
Perhaps this is the extreme outlook, but think about it next time you are at a social gathering. Pay attention to your next conversation with an acquaintance. Think about if you really care about the answers you are asking for, or if you are doing it because you just want to end the conversation as quick as possible so you can get back to updating your facebook status!
25 September 2011
06 July 2011
I have so much more time each day to be productive without Facebook. Yes, I was getting that bad, checking status updates, browsing friends profiles, browsing fan pages at all hours of the day. It seemed if I didn’t have something specific to do at any given moment, that I would open the computer, or get on my smart phone and pull up Facebook. I was starting to update the world through my status updates. I was starting to wonder if Facebook was made by Skynet and Cyberdine, then I remembered that is actually Google.
My Facebook departure has really got me thinking about the days before we were so “connected.” Remember when we had to carry dimes (and later quarters) just to be able to use a telephone. Do pay phones still exist? Are we “too” connected?
So I have cut the puppet strings. Feels good, like when you are sitting on a beach and the sun is warming your naked body. Don’t deny it, you know what that feels like.
No Facebook, no twitter. Only blogs. I love the blog world, except it seems like many bloggers are easing up on their posts lately, including me. I liked when it was such a trend and almost everyone was blogging. I have always been a “keep in touch” kind of person. Except not the Facebook kind of keep in touch, the meaningful kind of keeping in touch, with substance. Blogging fills that void much better than Facebook.
I remember when I first joined Facebook. Paul Newman, yep, Paul Newman told me about it. He thought it would be a good way for us to keep in touch. It was so cool at first, reconnecting with old friends. “Liking” random things. Playing all those games. Then it sucked me in like the Mega Maid on Spaceballs. So much time spent doing nothing. Tagging the elementary school photos is only entertaining for a few weeks.
Now its all done. My Mafia is underground, my bejewels are losing their luster, and my large bankroll in poker is just burning a hole in the cyber-casino. “In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.” Franklin D Roosevelt said that. “Once free from the vice of Facebook, life gets better.” I said that.
Like I said, I don’t miss it. I enjoy that I have reconnected with old friends, and though Facebook provided that reconnection, it has served its purpose, and ran its course. And I am done.
26 May 2011
As many of you know, I am "questing" to see a professional baseball game in every major league stadium. Then I want to write a book about it. This quest sometimes takes me to places I would never consider visiting otherwise. Occasionally, this is a pleasant surprise. Sometimes, though, it is worse than anticipated. I have tried to group my trips to get as many games per trip as possible, which can be logistically challenging, but also fun. Hence it was with Oakland.
My intent was to go see a San Francisco Giants game. I was once a huge Giants fan. Will Clark is still my all time favorite ball player. I lost my Giants flavor a little through the cheating Barry Bonds years, but now kind of peek in their direction, like when you play hide and seek with the kids, and don't quite close your eyes fully...
Anyway, since San Fran and Oakland are just a bridge away from each other, I had to get both stadiums done on one trip. As I got to planning, I quickly learned that everything in San Fran is more expensive. Flights, Hotels, Food. All of it. So we looked at Oakland: the space between the toes of the United States. Seriously, to call Oakland the armpit would be a promotion.
My plan all along was to land in Oakland, go to the game at the Coliseum, and get back on the BART as soon as possible to get to San Fran. We took AirBART from Oakland airport to the Coliseum, which is very convenient, fast and easy. (I guess convenient means fast and easy, so forgive the double superlatives.) Once at the Coliseum, which could also be called Industrial Park Stadium, or even "The Stadium near the Junkyard", we wandered around to see the sights. The sights consisted of the Coliseum, and the Arena where the Golden State Warriors play basketball. They were about 50 feet apart from each other. I didn't mind being inside the Coliseum, it was actually better than I had expected after talking to others. Cool, old fashioned baseball diamond and field. And that is all there is to see in Oakland. Honestly. I hurried to San Fran as soon as the game got out.
If this post were about San Fran, I would write a bunch more, but this post is about worst places to visit. I submit Oakland. I challenge you three readers to post (in the comments) about the worst place you have visited and challenge the title I am currently giving to Oakland. Read on.
At the end of trip, we had to go back to Oakland to fly home. Getting there: Easy. Cheap. Once there: Run for your life. Yeah, we got swindled at the BART station. We needed a ticket for AirBART to get us from the Oakland BART stop to the airport. While buying tickets we had unsolicited help pushing the buttons on the automated ticket dispenser. This local thought we would not be able to figure it out all by ourselves, so he helped. The catch was: He was not just a good samaritan helping some tourists get home. Nope. Apparently his services cost money, being the valuable commodity they were. So after helping us he told us we had to pay him. I gave him my BART ticket that still had $2.40 of unused fare. A travel buddy, Sean, "gave" him three bucks. Small change sure, but a priceless cap to the Oakland experience. Glad its done. Eight of us went on this trip, and none of us could think of a reason to ever go back to Oakland. Perhaps I should call the Raiders and see what convinced them?