Tag Archives: facebook

I Don’t Know Why You Say Ello, I Say Goodbye

30 Sep

There’s a hip, new social networking site sweeping the internets’ social media outlets right now called Ello. You can take a look over here, though you won’t be able to see much. As Facebook and Google Plus began, Ello is currently invite-only. Presumably, the doors will be thrown open eventually and the place will be deluged with people who yearn for the days of geocities website design and who need an outlet for their ideas. Because, you know, there aren’t enough fucking internet opportunities for that already.

Ello’s big hook is that you won’t have your feed clogged with advertisements. But what they don’t promise is that your feed won’t be clogged with pithy life-affirming quotes, desperate pleas to prove your friendship, numerous listed things of no relevance or importance, and fake news stories treated as truth. The lack of advertising sets Ello apart from Twitter and Facebook, but it’s no different in this respect to Instagram, Tumblr, Google Plus, and dozens of other social networking sites known only to those sixteen years of age or younger. The point being: we are not suffering for a lack of places where we can impart our interesting thoughts without having products hawked in the sidebar. We are suffering for a lack of interesting things to post, period.

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Here’s some food for thought: if you use Facebook and other social media sites, but don’t like the format, or the advertising, or the people that also post there, or anything besides your ability to burp up random complaints and musings to uninterested parties, then perhaps what you really don’t like are social media sites. The internet was not a device conceived so you could stalk your fifth-grade crush or so you can spout your uninformed opinions into the ether. You don’t “need” social media in order to use the internet effectively. So if Twitter and Co. is pissing you off, then maybe instead of building a better mousetrap you could divest yourself from these sites completely. Go ahead, give it a shot. Because these sites are only as good as the people that use them, and every person, to a one, sucks.

Be sure to follow Reggie on Twitter at @reggiereggie and on Facebook at facebook.com/reggiereggie! Irony!

O Stalker, My Stalker

20 Dec

Used to be that stalking was hard work. It involved a lot of peering through high-powered binoculars and sifting through people’s garbage. You could follow someone to and from work every day for a week, and still not catch the details of their morning breakfast order from the McDonald’s drive-thru. Stalking was not for the faint of heart, or for the very sane. Mark Chapman lurked on Central Park West for three days before he saw an opportunity to shoot John Lennon. Three days of waiting, and there wasn’t even a brand new iPhone at the end of his loitering.

Nowadays, people throw the word “stalking” around like it’s harmless. And for the way it’s used today, which is to describe people who monitor others’ internet activity, perhaps it is. Because there’s no point in being stalked when you’re checking in to every location and uploading pictures of your family vacation for all to see. You’ve already done most of the work for a potential stalker. At one time, stalking burned up countless tanks of gas as creepy weirdos followed their targets incessantly to discern habitual movements. Now a stalker can sit on his fat ass munching Cheetos while you tell him and everyone else in the world what you’re doing all day long. It demeans the whole creepy voyeur community, quite frankly, and your claim to privacy rights seems a little disingenuous.

You see it about every other week, some rumor passed along facebook or twitter or what-have-you: a vague threat, cloaked in legal speak, about how the stuff you’ve posted is going to be repurposed for corporate number crunchers or outright sold to ad agencies. This is usually combined with a fake post or phony petition that will tell the dastardly powers-that-be how incensed we are to have our musings about Jersey Shore watched by White Devils. Friend, you’ve already given up the ghost. They had your number the day you registered to an e-mail address. Sure, you may be sharing your musings about rush hour traffic with your circle of approved friends, but that doesn’t exclude the people who run the freaking site. And it certainly doesn’t deter content aggregators from compiling whatever public information you do let loose for the perusal of every jilted lover and high school enemy that might do a google search for your name.

I think we’re too loose with the word “stalking.” If you’ve got an account at more than one social networking website, and you’re updating them frequently via your smartphone, then you can’t claim anyone is actually stalking you. They’re just reading the shit you’ve spewed into the ether. If you’re so paranoid that the people you’ve inconvenienced in your life and the corporations you hate are going to scrutinize your every move, then my advice is don’t fucking help them out with it. More than likely, the damage has already been done. Perhaps you should put in a little work, fake your own death and get plastic surgery so you can assume a new identity. Put in some effort like good stalkers used to do.

Google+: Super Doubleplus Good?

15 Jul

Last Christmas, I sat at my parents’ dinner table and listened to them complain about Facebook to my cousins, who, being baby boomers themselves and therefore incapable of admitting that certain things might not be tailored towards them, nodded in agreement and added their own lists of complaint. Facebook, they said, was befuddling and exasperating, a ceaseless stream of meaningless words-without-vowels and surreptitious time-share offers in the margins of their computer screens. I listened to them go on for about twenty minutes, each of them casting furtive glances in my direction while bemoaning the website, possibly waiting for me (the nearest available thing to a representative of the twitter generation) to vigorously defend the institution of online social networking. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that that I, myself am too old for this phenomenon, merely clutching the shirttails of each passing advancement, bitterly admitting that it’s a matter of shortening time until I must shrug and face my own technical obsolescence. After listening to a good session of them bitching about Facebook, I said, “You don’t have to use it, you know.”

It seems like every advancement is perceived either as an evolutionary leap or a useless excuse to procrastinate, depending on who defines it. I bet when cavemen discovered fire, some nosy mom immediately scolded them for looking at the fire for so long, you’ll go blind. Right now, the company that knows every minute detail of your online life, google, is beta testing a social networking application to rival Facebook, one that’s already integrated into existing google products. I see people online declaring that they’re going to be much more selective about who they add to this new app, called google+, and that they’ll use its exclusionary features to good effect. They won’t abuse it with senseless updates and photos, no, only hard-hitting links to fucking Back to the Future fan fiction or your latest drivel will be permitted on the well-paved stretch of information superhighway that is google+. If the problem is that too many extraneous people are seeing your personal material on Facebook, or if you are somehow annoyed by the Facebook posts your junior high school boyfriend makes, then I have one weird tip: stop using it. It’s like the joke about the guy who goes into the doctor’s office and says, “Doc, every time I slap myself in the face, my cheek stings. What should I do?” And the doctor replies, “Here’s a prescription for Risperdal, fill this at the nearest insane asylum.”

The indignation that Facebook, twitter, google+ or whatever aren’t what they “should be” is ridiculous. These sites are time-wasters and never purported to be anything more. Yes, now you can be in contact with some guy you haven’t seen since kindergarten. These sites provide a swell way to see pictures of other people’s kids or pets. But these websites aren’t going to save humanity, they were never intended to be fonts of enlightenment, as if some disaffected teenager was going to seize the opportunity to speak his mind, man over the internet and bring the world together with pure, naive wisdom. Disaffected teenagers on the internet have the same thing to say as disaffected teenagers have to say in real life: go fuck yourselves. Optimistic people thought the television was going to be a premiere tool for education, it turned out to be an idiot box. They thought the personal calculator would put complex mathematics in the hands of the common man, but I haven’t added anything above a double digit without one since I graduated high school.

My point is that attempting to “preserve” google+, or tumblr, or any networking site in a continually shifting market is silly. What are you preserving? A clean slate where your link to some youtube of a kid breaking his balls on a staircase bannister will be taken more seriously? If the intent is to make your online social life reflect your real one, what’s the point? The people you are in touch with regardless of their electronic connection, these friends will weather all new developments in online stalking. The internet is not going to make these relationships better, or more pure. So feel free to add people willy-nilly to google+ and your other applications, because everyone knows the only object in online social networking is to have the highest number of connections possible. Smaller groups can be relegated to the Top 5 contacts on your cell phone and family get-togethers.

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