Friday, 20 February, 2015
Hello again faithful readers and listeners. Like me! Like me! Like me!
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean ‘like like’ me. Hate me for all I care, but please, please, like me! I mean, you know, hit that button that says ‘like’!
Wait. Crap. This page doesn’t have a like button. Then how am I supposed to know if you like me? I guess I have to go to Facebook. Or go to Google+ and see if you ‘Add 1’ me. Or Twitter and see if you ‘retweet’ me. Because how on Earth will I feel any self-worth in this world unless I have some virtual icon with a thumbs up letting me know that you really care?
Oh, my what is the world coming to when likes, and plusses, and bird chirps sustain my self-esteem these days?
Yes, folks, this week’s T.I.L.T. is all about the rise of social media as our go-to-barometer of cultural validity. When and how did this happen? How did our social lives become boiled down to prancing pixels on a glowing screen floating in a cloud?
Think about this for second, what do you think of when someone asks you, “Are you a social person?” Do you think about websites or chatrooms or forums, or do you think about real people in real time in real space? OK, I guess you could argue that behind all those ethereal pixels there are real people, but are you so sure? Maybe they’re all just faux-persona like SIRI from iPhone, or Watson from IBM, or the HAL 9000 from one of the best sci-fi movies ever which was actually set in a futuristic time already passed!
What is it that drives us more and more to engage with screens and a virtual social network than the one in flesh and blood surrounding us? Seriously, when is the last time any one actually went to a ‘social’ like they did in the last centuries? For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, a ‘social’ was a gathering of people where they would get together in the same place in person, and — wait for it — socialize!
How and when this lovely term for a ‘party’ fell out of fashion is not clear to me, but maybe it was a political thing since socialism is a four-letter word in some circles who can’t count. Seriously, why is social medicine somehow bad yet social media is somehow good?
I think we need to bring back the good old-fashioned ‘social’ event. But to keep up with the times, instead of a dance card where the belles would jot down the names of the beaus they would like to grace with a dance, we give everyone a big fat LIKE button right on their ass. Whoever gets the most LIKES on their ass by the end of the night wins and we know they are a real ass! Come one, why be shy about it by hiding your likable ass invisibly online?
Then again, who am I to talk? Here I am rattling away online, invisible, trying to connect to all of you via social media, and to what end? To be heard? To make you think? To be LIKED?
Yes, that’s it, I just want to be liked. But then why don’t I go out on a street corner, stand on a soap box, and shout out my utterly mundane protestations? Hmmm. I wonder. Is it because online, in social media, there is some sort of illusionary permanent record? Some sort of tracking or statistics that we can analyze as some sort of validation of our popularity? Oh, please, let this go viral! Oh, please, please, let me have more Facebook friends than Taylor Swift! Oh, please, please, please, LIKE me!
You know, I currently have 752 Facebook friends. No offense to any one them, but I honestly don’t know most of them. The vast majority are people I met or know through some ‘social’ context and then we ‘connected’, digitally speaking. Does that make us friends? One of my real friends, a guy I’ve know in person and had regular good times offline with since I was a kid, actually has it right: he only has three Facebook friends and he is proud of it. It’s not that he isn’t internet-savvy and doesn’t understand all this modern social media, quite the contrary, he makes his living as a computer programmer. But he places great value in the term ‘friend’ and is a very sociable person in the flesh. I really LIKE him.
So who do you really like? What do you really like? Do you like more things online than in person these days? Are you more social online than in person? I mean, just what are you really LIKE?
Do you even remember what life was like before Facebook, Google+, or Twitter? What was social media before social media? An email copied to more than one person? A postcard you could put on your fridge or office wall for all the world to see? People signing your yearbook? Or maybe just simply smiling at each other without the help of an emoticon?
I have a love-hate relationship with social media. There are times where I can gorge for hours on the virtual buffet, feeling connected to so many people’s personal ups and downs while I sit in my pajamas on the sofa in the dark farting at will without concern. But then there are times where I feel very anti-social media and could not care less about who ate what for breakfast or their latest cat videos or god-forbid their favorite game about farms or candy or angry birds. Really, you want to be liked? Get a life!
But why is all this on my mind? Well, I’ve been battling technology to learn how to ride the social media wave to promote T.I.L.T. and build my new website by adding share and subscribe buttons galore in the hopes that maybe just maybe you’ll like me (please look at the sidebar – subscribe!).
Will it work? Will you connect with me, will you share me, and help me spread my social media wings like a shy dancer in the corner of a social who just wants to strut his stuff for a good time but doesn’t trust his dance shoes or know the latest dance moves? Oh, I hope so, I pray so, because, gosh, who doesn’t just want to be LIKED?
Hmmm, maybe T.I.L.T. needs a Facebook page . . .