Posts Tagged 'Social Media'

Crumbs

Ghosts

The leftover scraps that aren’t used. Not always actively discarded, just not cared for or even noticed in many cases. Think of projects started, but not finished. Photos taken, but not looked at more than (maybe) once. Ideas (poems, songs, papers, letters, thoughts) written down, but not revisited. Slowly turning to dust in an attic or on a shelf somewhere. Pieces of our history and makeup casually brushed aside in favor of the urgent and riveting moments of now. Like film frames on the cutting room floor these annals of our lives succumb to entropy and become trivia, or are completely forgotten. What story would they tell about us?

And what of the people along the way? Some, perhaps important at one time, now relegated to mere acquaintances, or lost to time altogether. Or truly gone. Even the unimportant ones had a story. We could have connected.

And we must know that even though we’re each our own little sphere of awareness in the world, we hold a place of unimportance for others, with the relatively few notable exceptions. Of course, many times it is unnoticed because the process/status is mutual. But sometimes we do see it. There’s that moment where we begin to realize that we’re the scraps of someone else’s life. Our existence may be acknowledged, and maybe we even get a smattering of quality time, but it becomes obvious we don’t really have a place. Even though we may want to, it is not our choice to make. We are discarded. Not in a mean or callous way. Just a thoughtless one. Just like crumbs, we disappear under other footsteps into the pile of the carpet of life and will not be noticed. Quite a hollow feeling when we care enough to recognize it.

So many stories unexplored, like ghosts passing through one another without feeling. We’re too selfish or afraid. What could our lives be if those connections had been made or maintained?

Nurture.

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It’s All About Me

Faster Horses Festival Day 1Selfies are great. But the self aggrandizement can get to be a bit much. It lacks depth and detracts from real engagement. We need to teach and learn to apply attention to others. Give them the credit. It’s not really all about us, and (surprise) nobody else cares that much about what you got or even what you’re doing.

Once one accepts that, it becomes possible to more deeply enjoy the moments as you’re in them. Do it. Don’t worry so much about proving it.

No More High School Reunions

HSReunion

Thanks to the ubiquity of social media we have spawned a generation who will never really fall out of touch with one another. Reunions and getting back in touch with old friends or old flames is largely becoming a thing of the past. Curiosity taken away. No more will we wonder where people are or what they are up to as we can all know just about every move our friends make if desired. And so a whole set of complex emotions will not be part of people’s lives going forward.

We still value some meetings in person, but when it comes to something like a high school reunion it could be fairly awkward for many who have the more curated versions of themselves posted on line. So not only is there less perceived need for it, there is actually a notable downside for some (many?). Many will still attend the events for a while, but in the long run they will become a thing of the past.

Small, Powerful, Dumb Computer

GiantPhoneJust ordered the brand new iPhone 6 (the smaller sized one). Of course I have to have the latest and greatest thing, and in my opinion the industrial design and overall integration of Apple’s products are leaps and bounds above other systems out there, even though some of them may have one or two things they appear to do better on the surface.

The iPhone 6 is more powerful than the desktop computer I was using to create audio and video productions 10 years ago. It IS a great computer. Connect a nice keyboard and monitor and you have all you need.

But people don’t do that.

We fool ourselves into believing the marketing and technology promise. And thus people want to buy a phone that’s really a computer in tablet form. They don’t even care much about the phone. They want the power, but they don’t show signs of wanting to interface with it in a substantial way. It is very seductive: a magic device we can use to navigate our worlds with our fingers. But what can it really do in its form?

Sure…you can write a book or term paper on it…if you’re determined enough. You can code on it…if you’re willing to let the project take four times as long. Spread sheets, music projects, rocket trajectories, chemical compounds. It’s all possible, but the really great work isn’t going to be done that way. An Instagram photo is rarely going to be enough to change minds, or pave a new way. The great work requires more. We need to recognize what things are, and what their inherent utility truly is. We need to think about what we want to accomplish with the work we do, before we consider how. Be careful not to let the lack of capability and the seduction of convenience turn into a barrier to the nascent creativity within.

And it is the same with people. Better to understand who and what they really are before we bounce off the walls trying to shoehorn them into being what we need or wish they would be.

(Typed on a MacBook Pro)

Turns Out We’re Not That Interesting

notthatinterestingA current look at the typical feed in Facebook will reveal more posts that are links to other things (photos, articles, etc.). We’ve grown bored with each other’s curated personas presented online.

We just aren’t inherently that interesting to each other.

Most users of services like Facebook have crafted an online persona that may only vaguely resemble their actual life. We all know this intuitively because we all do it to some extent. That gets much less interesting after a while. Further, the audience is much too wide to do it any other way. If it really was limited to our close friends we would probably be much more genuine and open, which would be a lot more compelling for both the poster and the reader.

But these services aren’t interested in us limiting our audience. It’s best for them if things spread widely. In the spirit of keeping as many eyeballs as possible attentive it’s brilliant of them to provide us with so much content to share with friends and acquaintances, and such an easy process for doing it.

Even though it’s not what it once was it’s not always a terrible experience. A compelling article can spawn an engaging discussion sometimes. But we all know it would be personally better if it was more intimate and genuine. The fact that kids don’t really use Facebook anymore is indicative of how it has lost part of its core utility in our lives. They all will continue to evolve.

The Cost of Facts

spacechimpFacts cost virtually nothing once they have been gathered and published. The internet and television cause many to perceive facts are all readily available. Everything we could want to know (not to mention what we don’t want to know) is up for grabs.

But facts are actually expensive. Someone has to figure it out that first time. An organization has to send reporters or information gatherers, or maybe pay to have a study done, or do rigorous experiments, or real detective work to get to the bottom of it. Someone spent real time and possibly money to acquire the expertise to deliver.

Consumers and information organizations have a choice. News organizations can pay professionals to go investigate and gather facts, not to mention culling it all down and putting it into a relevant context. This costs real money. Or they can pay a couple of people a few hundred dollars to scream at each other on TV for a few minutes.

Both types of information are available on air and online. Consumers choose and the market responds. We can hardly blame the market, and I assume we don’t want any organization “controlling” the news, nor the way it’s presented (more than is already happening).

Opting for free or cheap is easy and usually appears to make pretty good sense on the surface, but someone somewhere will hopefully be willing to pay to truly get the real, factual information we need to make sense of the world. The scary thing is, who? Corporations? Government? Whoever pays has the most control. Period. It’s already happening before our eyes. The value of facts and science is being challenged more and more every day, and you don’t need to pay anyone to tell you that much.

The Selfie

ArtisticSelfieSelfies are all the rage. People rant negatively about them all the time. A teenager’s preoccupation with taking pictures of herself indeed represents a certain amount of self-absorption. But it’s really just a visible sign of an attitude that exists anyway. It puts it out there in a demonstrative way that makes it easier for the rest to see…and be annoyed. The display of vanity. The need for validation. These things aren’t caused by the selfie. It’s just a manifestation of our culture.

How bad of a problem is this really?

Taking photos of oneself is actually a great opportunity to learn about what beauty is. Seeing other people’s selfies is part of that process. One learns how she looks more objectively in photos. The unique features that make you you begin to surface. And the observant eventually starts to recognize that those ARE the things that are distinctive and beautiful.

The feedback pressure cooker of social media, which spawned the need for selfies in the first place, isn’t always the most supportive environment, however that very feedback does serve to validate and inform. It’s a harsh world of subjective assessments, but it’s one you’re in anyway. Since so much in our culture ends up being based on our appearance it’s becoming a necessity that we be more aware of how we actually appear. You ARE going to be judged on your looks. But not just on how well you fit in to a classical interpretation of beauty. Your overall vibe, including a glimpse into your personality, is part of it, and much about that is also conveyed in the look and feel of how you present yourself. All things that the selfie begins to reveal to you and the world. A bit of marketing one learns to refine over time.

There is a more practical side. Text accompanied by selfies much more effectively communicates intent and mood than just text alone.


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