I often wonder about the wisdom of looking back. Can we learn something about ourselves from the past or is it mired in confusion?
"When you reach 95, after you get over your surprise, you start looking back," commented Kirk Douglas.
To look back when you are younger is overindulgent, but what the heck? When I started this blog in 2009 I thought my posts were witty but it occurs to me now they were mostly overlong and displayed a vein of pathos which seems to be lacking in me now now I am desensitised.
More than 500 posts later I have long ago realized nobody will hang on your every word and it's vain to think they will do so. If they get hung on one line, you are doing well. I think my early posts sucked in the loneliness of the late shift in an empty newsroom. I also wonder if I suffered more then from the displacement felt by the immigrants who are recently arrived in this vast continent.
Most immigrants from the Old World will tell you there are two distinct phases. The alienation and the assimilation.
You cross from one to the other the first time you visit a Golden Corral and experience for the first time the joy of the lukewarm buffet on a sticky tray.
This is a rather meandering preamble to explain I'm posting an old blog. The third one I ever wrote in 2009. It's curious to think there was a time when Facebook seemed like a novelty item, like an upscale piece of Belgium chocolate rather than a big old slab of bog standard Hershey's.
If I drank a coffee every time I logged into Facebook I'd be six foot under with
caffeine poisoning by now.
I don't think I'm an addict. I don't get
withdrawal symptoms. It's just that there's so much going on there that it draws
my attention on quiet days.
And I'm not alone. Most of the people at my
office are on Facebook including technophobes, sensible people and people as old
If Facebook had been around in the 18th century when the Scottish
castaway Alexander Selkirk (the inspiration for Robinson Crusoe) was marooned on
a Pacific Island, he'd probably admit he never managed to start a fire but he
had poked someone on Facebook.
Yet if you suggested these eminent work
colleagues 'hang out' on MySpace they'd look at you as if you suggested
membership of the street gang the Bloods was possibly a jolly good
Still there's a kind of law of diminishing returns going on with
Facebook. I know there are people who like to lord it over others because
they've got more 'friends' but I am ashamed to confess I have some 'friends' on
this site who I'd walk past and in a corridor and not a - recognise b - talk to
(the latter probably goes without saying because it's not very English to talk
to complete strangers).
And the more friends you have on this site the
greater the potential for you to be bombarded with photographs of children of
relatives of 'friends' who you wouldn't recognize in the corridor closely
followed by photos of those children's friend's new bicycle.
Then there are
those mindless status updates, which I am as guilty of as anyone, in which you
are informed the friend you wouldn't recognize in the corridor had bagels for
breakfast and they tasted good.
Then a friend of that friend will tell you
they had sausages but ended up throwing up.
Facebook also allows you to
comment on an update from a friend who you would recognise in a corridor and to
then be ritually bombarded by follow-ups from people you wouldn't know from Adam
(or Eve) who are attacking you for being an unreconstructed pig.
are some of the more annoying features of Facebook - the pokes, the super pokes,
the nuclear pokes, the opportunities to throw oxes at people, or buttons with
smiley faces or council estate memorabilia such as white dog turds, snow balls,
Christmas trees, potted plants etc.
The list is endless.The weird thing about
Facebook is that I have good friends from back in the day on there but they're
not friends as I used to know them, Jim.
Instead of having a good chat over a
beer, you make do with sending a bijou Halloween cat or super poking them from
2,000 miles away.
Facebook has brought us closer to our friends but
paradoxically pushed us further apart by consigning us to a sterile parallel
universe in cyberspace.