Social media is the latest pop-cultural craze to sweep our communications-gadget soaked world. Cell phones, iPads, earbuds, notebooks, zip cams. We're now officially a society of plugged-in human robots-the world of the transhuman has arrived.
I used the word "craze"above because I believe that, in the year 2525-if, to steal a 1960s song line, man is still alive, if woman can survive-most of our bald-headed, genderless descendants will have the future equivalent of mp3 ports implanted in the nape of their necks. These bio-robo-personal communicators will likely be scratching their heads wondering what all the social-media fuss was about way back in 2011.
I love science and technology, but I have become a curmudgeon when it comes to the endless push on personal communication devices. So, where's the endless push of personal life-enhancing devices that will, say, let my 97-year-old father live 25 years longer or improve my worn out, myopic eyesight? Ay, there's the rub of technology. The real inventions come once or twice in a lifetime.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, among others, probably won't last as long, in time, as did the now nearly extinct personal, handwritten letters (even the extinct personal thank you letters), the ditt-ditt, daw-daw of the vanished telegraph, or the expiring land-line telephone. I say this with a growing level of confidence: Today's "amazing inventions"-the personal communications variety at least-appear ephemeral.
Every year, Time magazine publishes its "50 Best Inventions of the Year". And almost every year, the majority of the selections are communications related and banal, or impractical, or too expensive, or just one more trendy gadget that will complicate-not simplify-my life.
Take one of Time's 2010 top winners, the fifth-place winner, Flipboard-
The Flipboard is an app (short for application)for the millions of iPad users.
Regarding this Flipboard thing, you can, and I quote Time magazine, "grab updates, photos and links from your friends and other interesting people..." Well, I appreciate the concept, but when was the last time I rubbed elbows with "interesting people"?
Now don't get me wrong, Ilove the 21st century, but it's the mind-expanding, alternative-timeline 21st century as envisioned in Stanley Kubrick's 1968 movie "2001: A Space Odyssey" that I dig, especially the flights to the Moon.
What I don't dig is our multi-tasked, mind cluttered, very real 21st century as brought to you by Google, Apple, Best Buy, et al.
Getting back to social media:I reluctantly created a Facebook page last year when an old college pal read me the riot act for not getting with the 21st-century social-media program.
So I created the Facebook page, added all the factoids about-well-me, and added lots of snapshots of-well-me, that only I (and all those "interesting" friends and people) could love and chat about. And now I even post clever wall messages about-well-me.
Yes, I finally got with the new 21st-century program: I am totally self absorbed, just another narcissistic poster boy championing online solipsism.
Now I have dozens of FBfriends from around the planet although I confess I don't really know everyone personally, but some appear to be what Time referred to as "interesting people"-at least virtually.
Finally, I'll get 100 percent with this whole Google, Apple, Best Buy, et al. marketing program eventually, just give me a little time-and a bigger line of credit to buy more stuff.