To keep this blog on the track of being a writing place, here’s the writing part of this thought process: I found a cool website that offers inspiration for writers. It’s called 300 words. A simple website that is for writers who want to challenge themselves and meet a daily quota of 300 words a day. Their theory : “Writers write. Even when it’s hard.”
I love this idea.
I found a few examples but was taken by one of the writers. His blog is called The Indulgency Pattern, and the following quote is from a piece he wrote called ‘The Distraction and Production of Writing’.
“I will finish and publish this blog post using WordPress. Wordtwit will publish this to my twitter stream which thanks to Twitter Widget Pro will appear back in the sidebar of my blog. Thanks to Networked Blogs the post will also appear on my Facebook page where people can comment and/or like the post. Thanks to my Feedburner RSS feed it will also appear in Google Reader for all those people who follow me there. Additionally my twitter account is connected to my LinkedIn account so the tweet announcing the post will also appear there. All of this happens once I finish writing and hit publish. I can also add Google Plus to the mix and give readers the opportunity to +1 what I’ve written.”
Upon reading this I was taken aback, not only by the cleverness of the topic, but by how ‘connected’ the internet has gotten. Several thoughts screeched and jumbled about all at once.
A few years ago there was an article in The Atlantic Monthly entitled Is Google Making Us Stupid; regarding the attention span of readership these days, the main point being that with the way information is given on the internet it has made us quick readers, scanners who don’t take much in.
Add that to texting, tweeting, and commenting on people’s Facebook posts, our communication is slowly becoming limited.
I am not against technology; as a researcher, I love that I can get multiple resources in a limited amount of time. I have a sister in Italy, which means I adore Skype. I can’t tell you how much that phone bill would be without it.
With all of this stated, I am, however, a Social Hermit.
I don’t have a Facebook Account, I never had a MySpace account, I don’t tweet, I don’t have a smart phone, I don’t have an i-anything. (The irony is that I am married to an IT guy.) I am well aware that I am not connected to the web as well as I could be. But you have to understand, this is all by choice. I’m not trying to belittle those who DO have all of these things. It’s just a personal opinion and view of the world. Like my boyfriend John Cougar Mellencamp sang, “You gotta stand for something, or you’re gonna fall for anything.”
This blog and my email account are my only forms of contact with the outside world. When I meet up with people I haven’t been in touch with for a while they always say, ‘Oh I’m so glad I bumped into you. I’ve been trying to find you on Facebook, but I can’t find you anywhere.’
I have no problem with people who DO have all of the above stated. But I find it funny that people often have a problem with me and my lack of being socially plugged in.
“I don’t have a FriendFace account.” I comment.
“What?” They ask incredulously, “How do you LIVE?! You have to get a Bookedface account NOW.” They declare.
No, I don’t have to.
My favorite moment is when someone tells me something or shows me a picture I haven’t seen and adds that I would have seen the picture or heard of the news if I was on SurfaceBook.
So I’m out of the loop. It does make me wonder thought: if I am not ‘friend request’ material; if getting in touch with me means you can’t lump me into a big group of people, does that mean it’s become too difficult to be my friend? I have made it very difficult for people to contact me. They can post their life’s happenings on FaceTome, but to tell me about it, they would have to close out of that place, open up their email and tell me through an email. How medieval I’ve made it for people.
Still, I’m not interested in getting a Forcebook page. I am familiar with the site, I am not a total dunce. When my nephew was first born my sister in law would only put pictures of him on her Feedbook page. So my family made a bogus account just so we could all go see the pictures. While in the land of friends, I traversed through most of my old high school roster and glimpsed what everyone was up to. It did not sway me to make my own page. In fact, it quite strengthened my resolve that it wasn’t a world I wanted any part of.
As a writer, I understand what a conundrum I’ve created. I want the world to read my words and my stories and know my name; but I don’t want to be found so easily before I’m a ‘well known writer’. Trust me, I am well aware of the oxymoron this whole value set equates to. But you see, I don’t want to plug in and disconnect from the real world. That’s what my stories do, I need real live people when I’m not writing.
The argument continues to rally on all around us. Those who LOVE FriendBook and those who loath it. The iconoclastic part of my soul will continue to dislike CompanionBook because EVERYONE is doing it. I don’t do what everyone else is doing very well.
My favorite arguments, if you are interested, come from all around the web.
Is Google Making Us Stupid by Nicholas Carr. This article showed up a few years ago in The Atlantic Monthly.
Pico Iyer, my hero, wrote an article that appeared in the Los Angeles Times in December of 2009 called The Tyranny of the Moment.
“Ten years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, however, I don’t think I ever imagined that those of us in the free-ish world would fall so quickly under the tyranny of the Moment. So much of our time, already, is contracted to the point of right now, that we’re locked, more and more, inside the windowless cell of the Present. Tiger Woods the hero seems ancient history already, and the latest convulsions in the Jon-and-Kate story, broadcast with every tremor, ensure that we’re trapped inside the latest millisecond.”
That cool cat Matthew Inman at The Oatmeal did a funny ‘skitch’ on What it’s like to own an Apple Product.
My closing point of view, my opinion if you will: I see a lot of good that Technology has done, I see the ways in which it has helped the economy, our lives, our information, our intelligence, and our ingenuity. But with good there is always the bad. I worry for a future of those who can no long communicate face to face. I worry about creating a disconnect between people. I worry about the dumbing down of America. I worry about creativity. I worry that people will be no longer judged on a piece of work they produce, but rather they will be judged on what is said about that piece of work in the cyber world.
In the near future, my writing persona will be given a Facebook fan page; it’s inevitable; however if I have anything to do with it, it will be the doing of my agent’s intern who has to maintain it without me ever having a hand in the whole mess.
So I ask that we part as friends, me with my own views and opinions and path to live in this life; and you with yours. Our ideals might not always match up, you will not find me on Facebook unless someone links my blog there or posts a picture of me there. You will not find a tweet from me unless someone tweets ‘about’ me. But that doesn’t mean we can’t use the archaic email system and keep in touch once in a while, does it?