In grand blogging tradition I shall now relentlessly bitch about an article in the New York Times that I could scarcely be bothered to read.
With all due respect to those of you who’ve had long standing political issues with The Newspaper of Record, I have long found that the more serious sin it visits upon us is the endless amount of emotional abuse it doles out each Sunday. One section alone of the week’s largest edition begins with endlessly prattling about how there’s nothing but heartache behind every closed door in America and end with a parade of wedding photos from ceremonies that were far, far more perfect than anything you were ever attached to. Today that section brought us the Triple Lutz of Gray Lady Dysfunctionalism. (1.) A major author, Jonathan Franzen, managed to (2.) poo-poo the Like button on Facebook which is in keeping with (3.) the Times ongoing seriously weird love/hate thing with the Internet(s).
Over the course of three or four paragraphs, which was pretty much all I could choke down, Franzen talks about loving his old Crackberry and trying to like his new one. He then shifts gears and points out that liking some one on Facebook falls far short of liking a real person.
All that over the ol’ like/love grammar mistake?
Where to begin?
Liking things on Facebook can be easily be mistaken for expressing yourself in Stalinist Russia, i.e. you can either like something or keep your mouth shut, there are no other options. But – while extremely valid – that point misses most of what Facebook liking is all about. It’s
It’s really just making small talk.
On Facebook you can like baked potatoes, large dogs, and Slurpees. You can like some one’s bad hair day and even like his or her cat too while you’re at it. Overall checking the little like button is just another way of saying, “That color looks good on you.” More importantly – as my old anthropology teacher used to say – it provides us with that small talk outlet that replaced lice picking as we are the most hairless of all primates. Stripped of our ability to fish for small parasites in the hot sun we have shifted our attention to saying things like, “Oh that’s nice, where did you get that? Really?!?!?”
Two major points:
1. Let’s not what a great friend Facebook is to teh_blog. Facebook managed to skim off all those bad-hair-day people. Facebook siphoned off all the people who started a blog and never got past two posts. Facebook managed to be so low effort that it left this medium to those of us who put our shoulders to the wheel at one time or another.
2. There is a symbiosis of sorts in that Facebook has benefitted so much from all the TypePad alumni out there. Each and every one of our Facebook pages is a treasure. People find you and say, “Oh your Facebook page is so interesting. I wish mine was as interesting!”Yet they never realize that we’re just recycling our interesting. We’ve been consistently entertaining for years. So it’s little wonder that we’ve taken our excess charm and dumped it somewhere else.
Seriously, now that the threat of the uninteresting taking up blogging is long past we can recreate the Versailles-like glory that was Web 1.5. We can be free once again to get all bent out of shape about three or maybe four sentences from the New York Times that may or may not have appeared consecutively.