I began by removing from my list of Facebook friends people who persistently declared themselves to be fans of asinine, obvious things, like "sleep".
No, quite frankly, I do not wish to know that you appreciate Saturdays, toast, or Kramer from "Seinfeld". This does not improve my opinion of you. In fact, I hardly have any opinion of you other than what I see you doing on Facebook! I haven't seen you since primary school! If, indeed, I've ever even met you!
Some people find this stuff as annoying as I do and simply ignore it all, but then some people don't use Adblock because they can put up with moving objects in their peripheral vision all day every day. As for me, I find "unfriend" to be the most effective ignore. Don't get me wrong. I'm still pro-toast. Toaist, if you will. But I don't need Facebook to express that, nor (due to nagging security concerns and the simple fact that Facebook is their site, not mine) is Facebook the medium I want to use to express that. So eventually I gave up and I left entirely.
It feels like sites like Facebook channel all of our free expression into neat, pre-moulded boxes. "Susie is a fan of writing!" "Ed is in love with Tina!" Dang it, show us the writing! Show us the love! It's like it's become impossible to express any relationship below "friend", and it's impossible to express any feeling below "is a fan of". It's like talking using corporation-manufactured language, in which all we can do is proclaim our fondness for a product, or else keep silent. It reduces everything to a binary love/don't love choice. Personality tests? Great! Answer all these questions, and we will tell you that you, like all humans, fall into one of these eight categories of people! Isn't that INFORMATIVE? Didn't you learn something?
And Twitter? One hundred and forty characters is not, and should not be, enough to express yourself. These days it seems like brevity equates with legitimacy, because if you can summarise your opinion in fewer syllables than your opponent then you can repeat your message more times in a given space, which means people are more swayed, and you can fit your message into smaller commercial spaces, which means more people will bother to read it. Truly important and meaningful statements are big thoughts with great nuance and irreducible complexity, becoming meaningless if interrupted halfway. Arguments cannot be easily dissected into two opposing viewpoints. You are not a) wholly right or b) wholly wrong.
You will not be able to stay home, blogger.
You will not be able to dial up, log in and cop out.
You will not be able to watch the revolution unfold on your RSS feed because the revolution will not be tweeted.
The revolution will not be tweeted; the revolution will not cost ninety-nine cents from iTunes; the revolution will not appear on Fark, Digg, Reddit or Metafilter, nor be brought to you by Randall Munroe, Ben Croshaw, Jack Thompson, Ron Paul or Stephen Colbert. The revolution will not be tagged "nsfw" or locked for editing by newly-registered users due to persistent vandalism.
The revolution will not have rounded corners because the revolution will not be tweeted.
2009-05-02 19:24:52 by Ian:
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