Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Share and Like - maybe a profound thought or maybe just a rant....

DISLIKEWe live in times where we can share more personal things with each other than ever before because of all online tools. We can tell the world what we like and dislike, favor and unfavor, and give thumbs up and thumbs down.  We can rate movies, books, give mojo (= good) on comments on Daily Kos, and have thousands of favorites of photos on Flickr.
Some of us (not me) have many, many friends on Facebook, and maybe even more followers on Twitter.  We send out messages via e-mail with links and attachments to great articles we find, funny cat pictures, and YouTube videos.  We skype each other while doing other things, chopping up time and conversations into small, disjointed pieces. We get the same from others, click on links, laugh and send things on.  We blog, put up pictures online, and hope to be found by whoever in the internet noise.  I am all involved in this, and I think it is a great example of the me, me, me-culture that UTNE Reader highlighted a while back. It is all about us, or is it really?

facebook merger facebook merger facebook merger facebook merger facebook merger facebook merger facebook merger facebook merger facebook mergerMedia, social and traditional, online and in print, and on FM radio are all part of this.  It is not only chopped up time and factoids, and not only distraction and lack of attention, but really, the problem is bigger.  People don't think and do not really communicate much anymore in a way that is really true to who they are.  At least I believe so, because I do not think we all only care about Youtube videos, a LOLcat or something that just went viral.  I think we care about more things, and have our own thoughts.  The problem is that those own thoughtful thoughts are never really developed in this deluge of other stuff.

And isn't the problem here that for so many of these things, most of us don't really say what we think and feel about things anymore?  It has become too easy to send and share your Likes, that nobody really know what it means to really LIKE and LOVE something, because that is never written down.  When do people have time or take the effort to send long heartfelt e-mails or letters?  When do people talk on the phone about deep things?  When do we really share the real profound thoughts we might have, and if we do, how?

I think today's communication is rather shallow, except the ones we have with close friends. Most interaction and chatter online is rather meaningless, especially when all you do is to click Like/Dislike and Rating buttons.  If you write a short review, then you tell people what you really think.... not when you give a book a 4 out of a 5. But who has time with things like that?  So much easier just to click.

Letters from FriendsFor all of you who have sent me videos, links, and photos, please keep sending them.  I love it, and I don't mean to criticize you.  I am just the same, I do all of these things.  I just got thinking about this and wanted to share it with you, readers of this blog.  And yes, there are some of you readers that send me wonderful, long letters, but I think you are a rarity. I like to write letters too, both by hand and on the computer.  The problem is lack of time. At dinnertime we have the most wonderful in-depth and convoluted conversations here at home.  But I see in society (American and Swedish) a tendency to become less and less personal, less focused on "who I am", and more about being one tiny fish going in the same direction as everybody else in the big general Gulf stream traffic on the internet.
(link to a great letter here)

The me-me-me-society is really not about ourselves, it is about trying to share something and be liked by many many people (who know very little about you) at once, so who dares to express something in a complete sentence with complete words that might be personal or honest? It could be used against you, in many different ways. Better to play it safe by just clicking on a Like button, right? But it that really fun?  Is that really that important?  Is that really liking something, for real?  I think we should all be more real. For real.

PS.  Of course this all applies to texting (SMS) too.