Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Verlyn Klinkenborg speaks for me

From his essay in the NYT today:

I can see the appeal of a virtual community. I’ve joined three or four of these groups, partly just to see what’s going on but also to reconnect with old acquaintances and find new music. But some of these sites I don’t quite get.

I’ve used Twitter a couple of times since it came to the iPhone recently. The idea is to send short messages — microblog entries of 140 characters or less — to a group of people who are “following” you. The reason is so they’ll know what you’re doing. What I come away with is a mental image of 30 or 40 people following me around all day long asking “Whatcha doing?” while I’m trying to work.

Although I'm not so worried about this:

One effect of so much social networking — so many overlapping communities of interlinked individuals — is that the language of actual human interaction begins to feel degraded. What can the word “friend” mean after Facebook, where it is really a synonym for “coincidence”? How subtle can the emotions be in a TiVo-ish world like iLike, where it’s thumbs up or thumbs down? There’s no room even for the hand-wiggle that means “meh.”

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker Bumping Into Mr. Ravioli gives some statistics about how many other people the typical person interacts with today, as compared with Shakespeare's time, when a major author might know 20 interesting people who got together at the local coffeehouse. Humans love lots of connections, maybe so much that we make more than we can handle.

5:14 PM  
Blogger Martha said...

OMG, anonymous, I Loved that Mr. Ravioli piece! Thanks for reminding me of it.

And good point, too.

5:26 PM  

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