“The medium is the message. This is merely to say that the personal and social consequences of any medium – that is, of any extension of ourselves – result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology.” Marshall McLuhan
Fall arrived with a vengeance this week. The sky darkened and the clouds dumped rain almost continuously for three days which put me in the market for a waterproof hat as I still have some outdoor work to do. The selection of such hats was rather limited. Most had golf-equipment logos while one sported the Cabela’s logo. I went with the Cabela’s for obvious reasons. If you wear a hat that suggests you play golf – which I don’t as I consider it an untreatable social disease – then people will start talking to you about golf. Eventually they’ll even ask if you want to play some time and you’re then forced into an uncomfortable discussion which will lead to some golf evangelization on their part. But if you wear a hat that suggests you might be shooting Bambi people refuse to make eye contact and cross the street after they’re close enough to see the logo on the hat. Then I can get about what I have to do without any unnecessary social interaction.
Now please don’t get me wrong – if you want to play golf or shoot Bambi that’s your business. I have no interest in shooting Bambi because it requires getting up at 0:dark-thirty and I don’t do 0:dark-thirty. Hell, I wouldn’t get out of bed at that hour to watch Mom do the shimmy in a string bikini.
Wait … no, I would get out of bed for that, but the exception does not prove the rule in this case.
Strictly as an aside, I am an advocate of open-carry sarcasm, but I’m not zealous about it. You have to, as Goethe said, know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em. Therefore if you meet an open-carry firearms advocate who is openly carrying an AR-15 into Appleby’s it’s a good idea to do the prudent thing and not tell the guy, “Heyyyy – if I had a TapOut shirt as cool as yours I wouldn’t wash it either!”
But that’s not important now.
The larger question is what to do with social media after years of carefully constructing an online persona (ABOVE:last known selfie) which suggests that you dabble mostly in antisocial behavior?
Not that I’m all that antisocial, it’s more like I’m platform agnostic when it comes to sociability. In fact, if you wanted to buy me a martini I’d be convivial as all hell, but if I have to drink my own gin I’l stick to consulting the cat about how much vermouth to use before drawing the blinds. This, however, is not something that works well in the age of social media. Social media puts us in a situation where we are sometimes stuck interacting with others regardless of how we see ourselves. Therefore I have decided to take an inventory of what social media accounts I have and list a few details because – when you come right down to it – I really have nothing better to do.
FACEBOOK – might as well start with the big dog. Here I am free to come and go as I have no relatives. Yes, there are people out there who share my DNA, but as the late-life child of two previously married people there is a considerable gap in age that has never been bridged correctly. Case in point – when my father died I got a sympathy call from a cousin who wandered off the topic of my father’s death to say, “I know what everyone says behind my back. I know that everyone calls me ‘Asshole.'” He then went on an on about unfair that was and how hard he worked on researching our family tree. He wondered if I’d like the electronic version since he heard that, unlike the rest of them, I knew how to use the Interwebs and knew how to do a blog. When his email arrived there was a very amateurish looking Excel sheet attached. All the various family members and cousins were listed by their full names and birth dates including everyone from my father’s first marriage. A little further under that my mother and I were summed up by the word “other” set in parentheses.
So while the rest of you are stuck with FB because your various in- and -outlaws demand it I can come and go and run out as many non sequiturs as I like seeing as I have no one to answer to at Thanksgiving.
TWITTER – this one I feel really guilty about neglecting. I actually derive so much real utility from, but I suffer from anxiety that I have nothing to give back.
Google Plus – if Facebook is the Michael Corleone of social media then Google Plus is Fredo. To stretch it out a little further – some one needs to take Google Plus fishing one last time and throw it over the side. I guess I still have an account over there after not using it in four years, but I lost the password and have no reason to recover it.
ELLO – In a world full of new social media startups is there always room for Ello? I think I’ve come to the end of the road with this one as I have no idea what to do with it. The single most prolific poster is some guy who starts each post, “I am what would have been,in an earlier time, known as a cad or a bounder. In this Year of Our Lord 2014 I now go by the sobriquet, “Troll” and I am a most vexing one at that. Nota bene, s’il vous plait: that I shall not suffer those I believe to be fools gladly and I shall mock and jape them to the full extent not one jot or tittle more!” After that I usually stop reading as it’s all this blah blah blah about how he was raised by socially prominent wolves and attended only the best and most exclusive dens of iniquity on the East Coast. The second most prolific poster is some one who may or may not be a transvestite who only posts photos about how a certain piece of clothing looks. I have no interest in participating because I can stay home and say, “No, your ass looks dandy!”
I don’t need the Internet(s) for that.
MEDIUM – I have an account, but really don’t know what to do with it. (And when did hosted blogging get to be social media?) Most of the content on Medium seems to be the sort of thing you’d get from a chatty newspaper columnist who just ran out 500 words on finding half a donut in the break room. Some guy at one of those SEC party schools, where the worst thing the student activists do is manufacture Jäger bombs, wants Mom to write something. If anything comes of it I’ll let you know.
TUMBLR – OH SHIT that’s right I have a Tumblr page! I really don’t do much with it other than reblog things I see on other Tumblr pages and run out a few of my totally …meh phots such as this.
No, seriously that’s a real thing. One of my clients put it on. I had to point out that he had no bourbon, but it was his first one and you gotta get the bugs out somewhere.
Then there’s the various blog(s) I’ve had over the years where I feel most at home. Given all those other forms I agonize over this one whether it’s not having an idea for a post or days later thinking that the post that just went up wasn’t good enough. But I’d have to say that the greatest difference is the room to stretch out. Facebook and Twitter rely on enforced brevity which is not a bad thing as brevity serves their purposes quite well.
But they still can’t match the comfortable feeling that your blog gives you when it lets you wander around in your pajamas and fart at will.