Okay, I need to know: am I the only person who is bewildered by the current Facebook-Twitter mania that has enthralled our society?
Am I alone in scratching my information-overloaded head and wondering why everyone needs to know everything about everyone else every second of the day? Are we that desperate for entertainment that we will follow a Hollywood celebrity's lunch menu with her "Tweets" on the subject?
Do we really need to know that Lindsay Lohan's ex-girlfriend spit in her face at a party and left with Miley Cyrus' ex? (I know this because I read it in the newspaper, solely for the purpose of researching this article. Really.)
I suppose I'm just too old (48, since you ask) to be fascinated by the minutia of the fabulous young stars of today. Would I have followed Shaun Cassidy's on-line antics if given the chance in 1977? I guess we'll never know.
And while YouTube has its uses (loved the Susan Boyle debut clip!), there are definitely too many awkward pre-pubescent wannabe singers who feel the need to share their fledgling efforts with the rest of the planet. Not to mention indiscretions captured on somebody's cell phone, which will now circulate in cyberspace forever.
I can remember the days of simple telephone calls to share relevant details ("Nancy, ask your mom if you can come to my place after school"). Or, if you were lucky, a hand-written letter from an out-of-town pal was delivered right to your actual mailbox!
You remember, those boxes nailed to your house that brought tidings of the outside world?
Sigh. The fact that the news in the letter was at least a week old by the time I read it did not bother me a whit. I don't remember wishing that I could have a minute-by-minute account of the sender's daytime activities:
4:11 PM Going to ride my really cool new bike today for the first time!
4:29 PM Juice and cookies in front of T.V., ready for 'The Brady Bunch'
4:59 PM OMG!! Great episode! Jan tried to bleach her freckles so she'd look more like Marcia!
I do love looking at photos, and take lots, somewhat ineptly, on holiday. I even have a digital camera, bought by my husband, who felt I needed an upgrade from my 20-year-old Fisher-Price model.
When I am ready to develop my photos, I take out the little square thingy from the inside of the camera, trot down to my local Shoppers, and pop said square thingy into the machine. Voila! Four minutes later I have my photos in hand!
Will I "post" them online? Um, no. I'll put them in a shoebox, neatly labeled, and bring them out when I feel nostalgic. If you'd like to see them, let me know. No, I didn't think so.
In this day of instant communication and sharing pretty much every detail of one's life, I yearn for secrecy, for a sense of mystery, for a feeling that I am privileged to be the recipient of someone's special news, and not just because I am one of 119 Facebook friends.
Creeping someone's "wall" for private details is just, well, creepy. I can't help but think that if we all got up from our computers more often we'd have time to actually connect face-to-face with those who mean the most to us.
Don't get me wrong: I am computer-literate to a degree. I have an eight-year old desktop Dell, which allows me to type documents (such as this one), get and send email, and check the internet. I'm sure the computer is capable of other things, too, but I can't be bothered to figure out what they are.
The other day I was sent an email attachment in an obscure format, and I couldn't open it. The attachment was sent in another "simple, easy, fast" format. Still no luck. After twenty minutes spent trying to convince my computer, through various machinations, to "recognize" what was waiting for me behind the paperclip symbol, I gave up.
I got in my car, drove to the sender's office, got a paper copy of the document (luckily I always "recognize" paper with words and photos on it), and drove home. Mission accomplished.
What I'm trying to say is, while computers have their place, use only in moderation! If you have something to say to me, pick up the phone! Write me a letter and slap a stamp on it, and I'll look for it in my mailbox.
If you must, send me a quick and simple email and I'll take off my Luddite hat and read it. Better yet, come and visit me, and we'll share a pot of tea and some cookies (try doing that by computer!).
Or we might open a bottle of wine, and drink it, and be giddy, and toast the fact that we won't end up on YouTube.
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