I was introduced to Mark Morford during the nightmare of the Bush/Cheney or is it the Cheney/Bush administration’s HELLISH 8 year reign. His articles with all its sarcastic truthisms helped me survive during those dark days. After the 2004 horrendous election when the unthinkable of all unthinkables happened and the lunatics occupying our highest house of authority were given 4 more years to wreck havoc. When Bush/Cheney and their minions, smirked at the cameras, I was beside myself in despair. Then Mark Morford wrote an article for New Year’s 2005 and suggested how to survive the gloom of the following years. Amongst other suggestions he said ‘WHY NOT START A BLOG’. LIGHTBULBS lit up for me, click link… http://thinkingblue.blogspot.com/2005/01/its-not-easy-being-blue.html I’ve been blogging ever since. Thanks Mark for that and thanks for this delightful article about facebook. thinkingblue.blogspot.com aka Carolyn
What happens when you reach the ultimate in cool, pointless thresholds?
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2009/07/17/notes071709.DTL&nl=fix#ixzz0LVssuJMo
There were no bells, just so you know. There were no alarms or whistles or charming notifiers, no clowns or sparklers or strippers, not even a measly congratulatory phone call from the zippycute billionaire
tweeners who run Facebook Inc. offering me a free Herman Miller chair, a fistful of stock options and a lifetime supply of Skittles.
There was no toaster oven. No plaque. There was no giftage whatsoever, no celebration or surprise party, nor was there the exact opposite -- no dire warning, no threatening email saying I have now officially encroached upon some sacred corporate territory and my account must be shut down unless I fork over $25,000, a hair sample and some semen to buy the next magical, top-secret insight, like the Mormons or the Scientologists or Oprah.
See, I have officially reached the ultimate threshold, the limit, the maximum allowable at this strange juncture in time. What a thing it is.
Yes, I have officially achieved 5,000 friends on my personal Facebook account -- which is, for some reason, the limit of what Facebook allows on one's personal pages. This, then, is clearly a major milestone, some sort of glorious pinnacle achievement, if only because the limit implies that it is and only because someone over at Facebook HQ set the limit at 5,000 and no one anywhere seems to understand or have a clue as to exactly why.
No matter. I have 5,000 Facebook friends! I made it! What does it mean? What is the point? Is it fascinating and revelatory and does it tell us something curious about the zeitgeist, or is it useless digital sound and fury, signifying nothing? Is it both? I think it's both.
See, I started my FB account not all that long ago as a dirty little experiment, to play and explore and investigate the social networking phenom, deciding right off that I'd say "yes" to every single friend request, to anyone and everyone interested and kind enough to friend me, somehow trusting that it wouldn't go awry or invite in all kinds of dark, dank, funky energy or open me up to all sorts of bizarre input or attacks or offers of who knows what. Childbearing. Sodomy. Booty calls. Marriage proposals. Peet's gift cards. Not all bad, obviously.
I had no idea what to expect, really, or even if anyone would care -- or, more importantly, if I'd care, if I'd hook into it in some constructive way, or if I'd simply open an account and play with it for a month and then, like millions of Web 2.0 dabblers the world over, abandon the damnable fluffbucket for the next pointless shiny thing, like a teenager with new roller-skates, her first camera or heroin.
(For the record: By way of some odd miracle, I've only had to block two people to date: one an insane stalker-ish type who posted psychotic Christian screeds on my wall, and the other an old high school acquaintance who never evolved beyond simpleminded homophobic jackass. Not bad, considering).
I wanted ... I don't know exactly what. To see how far I could go? To gather fans and friends and like-minded perverts into a hot, cultish cluster of shared love and laughter and random vibe? To stroke my own ego and go giddy with unknown faces and unusual names and peer into the lives of myriad strangers and have them peer right back, see if any of it added any value whatsoever to my world? Damn right.
But something unexpected happened on the way to the faddish digital spectacle. My Facebook page evolved into a valuable, useful, nicely addictive, fascinating creature, an alive and dynamic thing offering all sorts of unexpected delights: histories, memories, karmic dangers, weirdness, casual curiosities, new friendships, old groanings. It's also turned out to serve the most important function of all for someone in my line of work: helping me establish and maintain countless writer/reader relationships. Which, come to think of it, was really what I was after in the first place. Well, mostly.
Here's the thing: With the miserable rise of nasty, inane, puerile, meaner-than-thou anonymous commenting on every media website in the world (see most of below), with the concomitant death of intelligent email correspondence and the end of the sacred author/reader bond, it turns out only Facebook is now offering the kind of connection most creative types I know dream of having with their audience.
Which is to say: active, responsive, reasonably or even wildly intelligent, at least somewhat authentic, intimate, human.
On Facebook, no one can hide behind fake names and rancid anonymous ideologies and sneering spittle-flecked right-wing Bill O'Reilly bulls--t, and if they try it, not only can you see who they are and just how sad and low their lives hang to make them behave that way, but FB makes it a snap to kick them to the digital curb, forevermore.
But it's not just that. I keep track of old friends I never imagined I'd find or hear from again. I keep track of yoga students and fellow yoga teachers and their schedules, of circles of friends with their own peculiar swirls and trajectories, of various marriages, breakups, announcements, writers and their works-in-progress, ex-girlfriends and so on. And of course, if they so desire, they can all keep track of me.
Facebook offers its own creative pleasures. Hell, I've messed with the verbiage of my status updates to such a degree that a beautiful writer friend even wrote a piece about them, the wonderful replies they receive and the found poetry it all offers up, en total. I mean, how meta can you get?
But now it's all over. The experiment has reached its threshold. Unless I start un-friending hundreds of people, I can invite no one else in. The current gang is astonishing indeed, but it's better when it's moving and growing and writhing. Something's just not right about the 5K limit, particularly when the whole point of social networking is, presumably, to see just how social you can get.
I do have options. Facebook, of course, offers unlimited fan pages, which behave similar to the personal pages except they're wide open to the world -- no private friend requests, no easy groupings, far less dynamic interaction, etc. -- but they strip away my beloved illusion of intimacy and replace it with this implied wall, this barrier where I suddenly turn into some sort of entertainer/commodity and my readers are forced into the role of leering fans/groupies and, well, something is lost. The chasm is made wider. The connection is mutated.
Is there something better? Can I go elsewhere? I have a lively Twitter feed, but the intimacy level is irrelevant and true interaction almost nil. I have a personal
home page and a yoga site for my teaching, though neither is designed for cool interaction. I have a hot but very sporadic and unpredictable personal newsletter I invite you to join right now, but that's not exactly community, or dialogue. I have a wild blog in the works, but I don't anticipate many offers of marriage and designer clothing and oral sex from it. Or do I?
So for now, I can only do what I can do. Here, then, is my new Facebook fan page. I don't like the sound of it. I'm not sure I like the modes of communication it offers. But it's not bad. After all, I wasn't too sure of Facebook itself, in the beginning. Maybe this will be the coolest thing since the Jackhammer Jesus.
Will you join? Can we chat and hang and peer into each other's worlds respectfully, happily, unexpectedly, half naked and warmly buzzed and ever in awe of the mad swirl around us? Why the hell not? The experiment continues.
Mark Morford's column appears every Wednesday and Friday on SFGate. Contact him here. To get on the notification list for this column, click here and remove one article of clothing. To get on Mark's personal mailing list (appearances, books, blogs, yoga and more), click here and remove three more. His website is right here.
Mark's also on Facebook and Twitter because, well, why the hell not?
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2009/07/17/notes071709.DTL&nl=fix#ixzz0LVt1YjRJ
Let's keep our heads, while we continue to
watch THE THEATER OF THE ABSURD!!! thinkingblue