Instantly Social? Dislike!
So yesterday, I was perusing Yelp, a site I’ve been active on for 2 years or so, and I noticed that all these Likes began showing up. Later on Facebook, I noticed that there was an update saying Facebook is linking all these sites and making the Internet instantly social. Likes haven’t been this annoying since valley girls began using the term.
Oh geez…did I just use that phrase to start a sentence? Does that make me old and crotchety? Like how people used to say, “In my day, we had to walk uphill to school in the snow..both ways!” I guess my things (in no particular order) will be, “In my day:
- we actually had to memorize phone numbers and could dial them without thinking
- we waited eagerly at our tape decks to record a favorite song off the radio, and the DJ would always talk over the first few seconds of the song
- if you got separated from your parents at the mall or store, you had to walk around to find them – usually in tears. This is why we didn’t need leashes – we were scared our parents were going to leave us at the mall so we actually clung to them
- our calculators couldn’t play games, besides doing math that ends with 55378008
- we actually had to look up stuff in a library and we even had massive Encyclopedia’s in our homes b/c our Asian moms thought it would help us get into Harvard
- no one cared that our parents beat us and most parents didn’t even wait until they got home. Furthermore…
- our time outs weren’t going into a corner and thinking about what we just did; the only time out we got was when momma’s whipping arm got tired so we had time to think about how much longer this whipping would last
- most of us didn’t have a computer in our room, we didn’t even have a TV. Heck, some of us didn’t have our own room
- we didn’t have high def; we were happy if the channel didn’t have snow and sometimes, you had to get creative with your sibling and some aluminum foil to get a channel to work
- we never asked for hand sanitizer, in fact, our parents had to yell at us to wash our hands
- we didn’t need a Wii to simulate playing sports and other games for us – we actually went outside and did the real thing
- we always played dodgeball in elementary and middle school and if we thought a girl was cute–obviously this is after we discovered that they did not in fact have cooties–we would hit her. Or at least I did…maybe that’s why I never had a girlfriend 😛
- you had to write stuff by hand and were actually graded on handwriting
- we rode our bikes downhill at breakneck speeds and we didn’t wear helmets
- you only owned a pager if you were a drug dealer
- Car seat? If your parents get into an accident, you’re getting busted up like everyone else in the car
- Saturday mornings were reserved for cartoons and just before noon, it was T-NBC. If your parents took you on a trip somewhere, then you missed it.
- If you wanted to cheat on something in school, you actually had to know or sit near a smart kid or know someone who had the papers from a previous year
- we had to dial-up to connect to the Internet and if your mom picked up the phone, there goes your internet connection
- Oregon Trail and Number Munchers were the cutting edge of PC game graphics – and we all hated dysentery
- we had to write down codes for video games (or use the Game Genie)
- and no one really cared to be updated on what you were doing throughout the day.
In my day, saying that someone was your friend meant that you mutually acknowledge you know and enjoy/tolerate each other. I wasn’t the cool kid and I certainly couldn’t “friend” the cool kids without some sort of organ/dignity loss. Nor could I “fan” them b/c, well, that used to be called stalking or just being a loser. Today, being a friend means little more than you may have hung out at some point or you want to stalk them and look at their photos you want to keep up with people you find interesting.
In the Facebook world, I have 228 friends. In the real world, I see/talk to maybe 25% of those people on a regular basis. And yet, I’d feel like a terrible person if I unfriended those I don’t talk to on a regular basis b/c there are probably still mutual friends between us and I’d feel awkward if the unfriended person noticed I wrote on someone’s wall it seems wrong.
Yelp is even worse. Initially, I accepted all friend requests if I even had one compliment exchange with that individual. Though I’ve been more selective as of late, I now have 230+ friends. 230+ people who call me friends, and yet, only a dozen or so of them find my reviews useful, funny, or cool, if they read them at all. So 95% of my friends on Yelp don’t want to FUC me (that’s a Yelp term, btw). What good is an internet friend w/out benefits?! 😛
So when Yelp tells me, “Hey! Your friend who sent you a generic compliment on Yelp (“Like a strip of bacon frying over an open fire, you’re seriously sizzling”) and doesn’t even read your reviews and has totally different tastes than you likes this place”, what does that do for me?
Listen, I understand that Web 2.0 is all about social interaction, but is this social interaction something we want or need? How many YouTube comments left you wondering, “WTH?!?!? People who think like this actually exist? And they know how to use the Internet?!?!?”? How many Yelp talk threads left you exclaiming, “(Insert Deity Here)!!! I just lost 50 IQ points reading through this thread…and yet,,,I can’t look away!”? How many Digg comments or things that were Dugg made you say, “What I have just seen/heard/read cannot be unseen/unheard/unread. I have no other recourse but to gouge out my brain.”?
I’m thankful for the friends and family God has given me in my life. Not just for the laughs and memories we have and will continue to share, but for their opinions. And yes, a good number of those people, I’ve met through Web 2.0 avenues. And I’ll continue to value their opinions and will likely rush to try anything they really like. But being instantly social w/ people I’m mere acquaintances or gitoriduy’s with (guilt is the only reason I don’t unfriend you)? Dislike!
Consequently, as a parent, I think it’s important for me to raise my kids near other families I share values with (not in some crazy Jonestown-ish way). My wife and I want to live reasonably close to families we like, and even more so if they have kids the same age, that way, my kids will have real life friends. In my day, when you had “friends” who you have never actually seen, it meant you were a 5-year-old using your imagination or you were just a little bit crazy. And as we’ve all learned from the Internet, there are more than enough crazy people on this earth already. 🙂
And that’s not even touching on issues of security/privacy (Yelp knows who I am when I’m logged into FB, and since I use my gmail address, google knows who I am too…but then again, Google knows where I am at all times), narcissism (EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE UPDATED ON WHAT I JUST DID/SAW! LOOK AT ME! LIKE ME! I’M SO DARNED LIKABLE! WHY ISN’T ANYONE LIKING MY NEW PROFILE PICTURE?!), and my crazy conspiracy theory that the Internet is going to become this giant porn hubbing, stupid comment producing, idiotic thought proliferating, cheating assisting (both for the Tiger’s Wood types and students in need of an essay) machine and we’ll no longer be known by name but by our google account. I really am old and crotchety now, aren’t I?
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