Independence Day: Silencing Social Media

1 07 2009

Are we only 140-characters deep?

After spending way too much time on LinkedIn looking through empty job postings and reading everyone’s “expert” opinion about social media, and partially influenced by exhaustion from MJ Faked It blog postings — I’ve decided, I’m throwing in the towel. In 48 hours, I’m turning it all off. My Blackberry, my Facebook page, my Twitter feeds, my LinkedIn updates, my Outlook, G-Chat, Adium, texting, smoke signals. All of it. I know, most of you are probably running around screaming in hysterics about why I would be so insane. But the decision has been made.

The other day, I was with a group of friends that I am constantly emailing, g-chatting, facebooking, twittering with all day, everyday. We were having drinks and I swear we had nothing to say to each other. I already knew everything that happened to them that week, the week before, the week before that. I saw every picture, I read every thought, I followed every link; I knew it all before it even happened. So we sat with our cold tasty beverages, on a beautiful sunny day, in silence.

“Oh, did you know that I just launched a blog for…” “Yeah, I read that on your LinkedIn updates.” “Oh, did you hear that Jeff Goldblum died?” “Yeah, about a ba-zillion times.” “Oh did you see that Jenn is dating Brad?” “Yeah, it was in my Twitter feed.”

I started thinking about it. Yes, I am obsessed with all of my Internet time wasters. I love Facebook because I can see what people are up to. I love Twitter because I can see what new marketing efforts are hot right now. I love LinkedIn because I can see find new companies and read rumblings in my industry. But I can’t help but wonder if access to all of these conversation tools are making us too transparent as people.

A lady that I work with brought up the Farrah Fawcett biography on NBC. She felt that, though the story had some empathetic value, deep down, it was really just about entertainment. Her point “Are our most private experiences, like dying, too public?” Are we now just exploiting ourselves?

As a writer, my life experiences have always been the meat of my stories. I have always believed that self-exploitation could help others by passing my hard earned lessons on. But is anyone listening to others’ lessons anymore? Or are we just posting.

Was the Farrah Biography helpful to her, by giving her a way to release the anguish of her struggle and to say goodbye to her fans? Did it give her a sense of liberation from the disease? Did those that watched and cried learn a lesson about dying and feel less alone about a similar experience that they had, or are having or know someone who has had? Or did they just watch to fulfill some detached sensation of sadness?

I suppose social networking for me is a surface outlet in hopes to gain some sort of popularity. But at the crux of it all, it’s really just a way to exploit my life in hopes to gain recognition as a writer. To me, it’s a marketing tool to market myself. But what I’m struggling with is to whom am I marketing?

That’s why I’m turning it off. I’m taking a break in order that I can listen to my own head, instead of the flat, rectangular one that stares at me all day. The question is: At the end of the day, who do I want to listen to me and what do I want to tell them?

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Death to Friday

19 06 2009

It’s possible that it’s the state of the economy, or simply the state in which I live; but casual Friday seems to be getting old. And I don’t mean old like running out, I mean old like people are over it. We’ve all spent the last decade (well, some of you more than others) working 60+ hours a week, Fridays, Sundays and nights. Maybe the economic downturn that seems to be producing less work also means a chance for us to rethink the way we work. Eg., stop working so god damn hard and start enjoying are lives a little.

Someone said to me, it seems a little crooked that all we do is sit through five days a week waiting for two. That means 71% of our lives are spent waiting for the other 29% to happen. That’s lame.

Some annoying optimists would say that’s why you have to love what you do. But get serious. I love what I do, but it still means I have to sit in front of a computer for 8 hours watching my ass get fat. Which view do you prefer?

View from my office

View from my office today.

OR

IMG_0009

My view last Friday.

Hopefully all of this hubbub about phones that will be able to do everything and more than your PC will equate to just that: complete workplace mobility. Life without cubical walls. Equality for everyone to play golf on a Tuesday. Tanned thighs instead of just tanned heads and hands. Conference calls on the mountain tops. Oh to dream big.

At least for now, why can’t we all embrace the 9/80? Every other Friday off. It seems like a good first step to me. And maybe one day everyone will just embrace death to the Friday.