Adult Content Warning

This community may contain adult content that is not suitable for minors. By closing this dialog box or continuing to navigate this site, you certify that you are 18 years of age and consent to view adult content.

"Go for What Hurts"

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by hooker, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. hooker

    hooker
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2009
    Messages:
    2,154
    This might be a little much for this board. It's a long read, but here are a few quotes, with my own bolding for emphasis.

    Source

    "Our lives look a lot more interesting when they’re filtered through the sexy Facebook interface. We star in our own movies, we photograph ourselves incessantly, we click the mouse and a machine confirms our sense of mastery.

    And, since our technology is really just an extension of ourselves, we don’t have to have contempt for its manipulability in the way we might with actual people. It’s all one big endless loop. We like the mirror and the mirror likes us. To friend a person is merely to include the person in our private hall of flattering mirrors."

    "Because the fundamental fact about all of us is that we’re alive for a while but will die before long. This fact is the real root cause of all our anger and pain and despair. And you can either run from this fact or, by way of love, you can embrace it.

    When you stay in your room and rage or sneer or shrug your shoulders, as I did for many years, the world and its problems are impossibly daunting. But when you go out and put yourself in real relation to real people, or even just real animals, there’s a very real danger that you might love some of them.

    And who knows what might happen to you then?"

    Discussion: So... is technology becoming one massive vanity project? Is humanity as fucked as the Jonathan Franzen thinks? Are the fancy phones and computers just "allies and enablers of narcissism"? Have you seen your life and your relationships change drastically with the explosion of social media? Do you miss a more simple life, where to catch up with someone you had to either pick up the phone of sit down for a drink with them? Do you find yourself getting wrapped up in the superficial "like" world?
     
  2. Roxanne

    Roxanne
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    48
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Messages:
    1,088
    I could write pages about social media and its pros and cons. Personally, I find it has made it easier to maintain relationships, but they end up being quite superficial.

    I recently had the opportunity to write actual letters, since a friend of mine just enlisted and could only send and receive regular post. We shared more with each other within two letters than we had ever written to each other on Facebook. It was easier to be candid as friends should be, because we had no fear that it would be read by others on the internet. I actually had to respond pointedly to things he had mentioned, rather than just passing over it or clicking "like."

    It made me reflect more on him as a person, I realized. He wasn't just a random that I could reach out to at any time with a simple 'hey whats up' chat that would give me the superficial satisfaction of maintaining a relationship. Instead, my only contact with him was full of stories, emotions and questions. I can't remember the last time I've had such honest conversations with someone who was far away.

    I don't know if it's because the act of letter-writing is more cathartic, harder to start over or what, but I enjoyed the experience immensely. I can safely say that I miss the days of writing letters as a primary means of communication. I think if it were, you would end up maintaining only relationships you were willing to put effort into, and those relationships would be stronger for it.
     
  3. MoreCowbell

    MoreCowbell
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    14
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Messages:
    4,185
    "Let me further point out" that what really hurts is Franzen's pretentious writing style.
     
  4. lostalldoubt86

    lostalldoubt86
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    20
    Joined:
    May 23, 2010
    Messages:
    1,031
    Location:
    Earth, The Universe
    Oh, it's defiantly narcissism, but I think it's pretty harmless (so far). Just look at people who tweet every thought they have. No one else really gives a shit, but it doesn't stop people from doing it. Twitter and personal blogs are a narcissist's dream.
     
  5. Renholder

    Renholder
    Expand Collapse
    Experienced Idiot

    Reputation:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Messages:
    231
    Pretty much all social media is the same thing, it's just a new way to tell someone something they don't care about. Who here never got a text from their friend about some "huge fucking sandwich" they just ate or something equally useless? Before that, it was instant messaging. And before that, they would actually call you to tell you stupid things. Have you ever gotten a letter from an old relative? They'll tell you all about their diet and bodily functions, which sounds strikingly similar to most status updates.

    Narcissists will always find a way to tell you. Social media today just helps them do it faster and further.



    As for actual communication with real life friends, I wish social technology had stopped with cellphones. That's the last invention where the usefulness outweighed the social withdrawal it caused. You anticipated everyone getting together more since you weren't communicating 24/7 through texts and tweets.
     
  6. Crown Royal

    Crown Royal
    Expand Collapse
    Just call me Topher

    Reputation:
    956
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Messages:
    22,791
    Location:
    London, Ontario
    It's not that I'm not on board with social media, just that I remain more out of touch with it than most people. I don't use email that often, I don't text much, and talking on the phone actually irritates me. This is pretty much the only website I visit daily. I have no need to debate it on either side, it has its white gloves and black gloves. Usually I like it when something rears its ugly head, like how it made the fucktards in Vancouver that trashed their own city household names. Because of that, a bunch of assholes were taught a lesson, where as ten years ago they all would have skated maybe to do it again some day.
     
  7. ghettoastronaut

    ghettoastronaut
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    70
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2009
    Messages:
    4,917
    My problem with facebook is that life becomes about facebook. You take pictures for the sake of uploading them to facebook, and eventually, you have photos of everything. Photos of sitting around a table, photos in lectures, photos at the bar, photos studying, photos drinking, photos posing for photos, photos doing embarassing things that shouldn't be remembered, nevermind uploaded for posterity.

    Keeping in contact with friends you never cared to keep in contact to, and girls gushing over each others' pictures in a massive circle-jerk of self-esteem, and whatever else that goes with social media are okay by me. At worst they're irritating. But it's the way facebook interrupts real life that gets to me: the way you see status updates like "this moment is so perfect, I don't want it to end" without the realization that if the moment were truly perfect you wouldn't be making a status update about it. And the god damned photos. What would people do with their lives if they couldn't record it and put it up on the internet?
     
  8. Eidon

    Eidon
    Expand Collapse
    Village Idiot

    Reputation:
    1
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2010
    Messages:
    19
    Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I and the maybe 5-10 people I regularly stay in contact with on social media don't have any shallower friendships because of it. We use it to share all kinds of things, from clever one-liners we read to hour long interviews with Stephen Fry, Louis C.K., and so on. I've had about a half dozen long book passages linked by one friend in particular. We could, of course, always share this stuff in person--and we do--but it's a much quicker and convenient way to find and share things we're interested in seeing and reading.

    That said, the obvious cons mentioned already (narcissism, or, in my case, spending way too much time trying to keep up with too many people) still apply. I nonetheless think it's a valuable tool for sharing content at the very least.
     
  9. dubyu tee eff

    dubyu tee eff
    Expand Collapse
    Thinks he has a chance with Christina Hendricks...

    Reputation:
    1
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,383
    I don't see what the big deal is. These things just facilitate communication. I, and I'm sure everyone else, knows a bunch of people who we aren't best friends with but are fun to see now and then. There are some people with whom I share a mutual unusual hobby but don't have much else in common with. Things like facebook let me send them an article or a comment, have a quick, simple discussion about it, and then move on. Google+'s circles refine the system by letting me post things that I know will only appeal to a subset of the people I know. I also can't count the number of times I've needed to get in touch with someone but didn't have their number or e-mail address. Luckily, there is facebook so I could quickly seek them out and shoot them a message.

    My life has changed plenty due to social media, and for the better. I would lose touch with god knows how many people if it weren't for facebook. Sure some of those relationships are superficial, but I see a positive role for having acquaintances as well as close friends.

    Sure, lots of people use it to post their stupid thoughts on activities that no one cares about, but how hard is it to ignore or defriend someone?

    Social networking sites are a tool which have immense use. Someone people misuse it, but what do I care if someone uses facebook as an outlet for their narcissism? Maybe they'll see that no one is commenting on or liking what they have to say and they'll realize they need to work on being a more interesting person.
     
  10. audreymonroe

    audreymonroe
    Expand Collapse
    The most powerful cervix... in the world...

    Reputation:
    546
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Messages:
    2,859
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    I guess I'm going to be the one to defend social media, Facebook in particular. (Edit: dubyu also joined the defense.) Nearly all of my friends are scattered around the world. I am a huge fan of the convenience of being able to keep in touch with them. I credit Facebook for keeping a lot of friendships thriving since high school ended. People's addresses, emails, and (back in the day) IM screennames can change all the time, but this is a constant means of communication that's always there, and all you need to know is their name to find them. It doesn't replace relationships with people, but I like being able to share things with my friends. I know that a part of it is vanity, but it's for the same reason that I really like photo albums and scrap books (even though I don't scrap book, but I like the idea of them) - I just like looking at all these mementos of my life all in one place. I don't think that's a bad thing. And it's the same thing with other people - I like looking at their "scrap books," especially the people who I'm not really friends with, but am still interested in seeing what they're up to.

    I do find it interesting how it's changed romantic relationships. Like, how there's this whole new way of judging the seriousness of your relationship with someone based on the level of "Facebook official" you are, or how there's all these new things to fight about because of it.

    I don't remember whether it was Roger Ebert or Rainn Wilson (because they're so similar), but one of them had a Tweet that was like "Not having a Facebook is this era's version of not owning a TV." I roll my eyes so hard it hurts at the people within, say, twenty years of my age who scoff at Facebook and refuse to have one or have one and are always complaining about how destructive it is to society. Shut up. Just shut up. That's how we communicate these days. Deal with it.
     
  11. AlmostGaunt

    AlmostGaunt
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,040
    I like Facebook, but I use it slightly differently to most of the people I know. I have a grand total of 29 people on my friends list, and they are all actual friends, with maybe one or two exceptions for people that I've met while travelling and want to stay in touch with. I use it to stay entertained during the day - mostly one of us will post something interesting on my wall and others will comment, or a bunch of us will riff on a one liner. My privacy settings are as tight as they can go, so we can talk relatively freely amongst ourselves without bosses and family members freaking out. And of course, its great for stalking. I've never gotten into twitter as I find FB's text limit too restrictive, and haven't moved on to G+ because most of my friends are late adopters.

    All that said, I do think the whole idea of the 'invisible audience' will come back to bite us in our collective ass. People are very good at being self-centred and believing their own concerns are everyone else's. It's not too hard to envision a dystopian nightmare where everyone talks constantly and never listens, nor cares about their audience's interest. Basically a society of academics, but without the brains. I don't think this is fuelled by social media as such, but it makes it a hell of a lot easier to believe people are interested in your most recent fecal offering. Or as a Prof here said: "it's a tool for morons to delude themselves that others find their lives as fascinating as they do".

    One interesting thing is the effect social media has on the military. We had a Defense force rep out here looking to build research program to address this problem: new recruits expect to have access to social media on deployment, and consider it a curtailing of their civil liberties if banned from it. However, the chain of command obviously don't want people giving away sensitive data. There was a horrible case last year where a kid in Afghanistan posted on his FB wall something like "Go time for mission, talk when I get back". He was killed in action. After a few hours of silence, his parents started asking where he was, getting more and more frantic. They essentially found out their kid was dead from a FB post (or lack thereof). Make no mistake, this shit will have far reaching consequences for anyone with a vested interest in controlling the flow of information.
     
  12. whathasbeenseen

    whathasbeenseen
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    27
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Messages:
    604
    Jumping on the bandwagon on both sides here. Facebook lets me keep in communication with people that I can't talk to all the time. Moving to the UK this is especially true. The time difference makes weekly communication with people previously that I'd call up on a Wednesday to grab a beer after work possible. I like that we don't lose touch, that I can see their lives, see their pictures, etc. I truly don't care about the minutiae of most people's lives. But seeing snippets of what interests them is kind of nice at times.

    Where it gets irritating is when two people can be in a pub and be writing to each other on FB because they can't put their fucking phones down for two seconds to talk.

    Roxanne did bring up a valid point of the lost art of communication via the written letter. I still have letters written me by my grandmother that are creased, faded and 20 years old. Fucking treasures. I think I might write some letters this week. It would be nice to connect for real with a couple of peeps.
     
  13. Frank

    Frank
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    6
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2009
    Messages:
    3,351
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I don't have an issue with the vanity aspect of social networking, as has been said, vain people will be vain no matter what and you can always block/ignore them. I do have a problem with being out with someone or eating dinner with people and they are constantly checking their phones. I honestly feel bad taking incoming calls when at a party or out with people, I'll usually excuse myself from the room to take the call if it's important enough, but usually ignore it.

    While I think your post goes a bit overboard, I also get annoyed when people do facebook things for the sake of doing facebook things. Most recently I went to a restaurant with some friends.

    *Friend1 pulls out smartphone*
    Friend2: Oh are you checking in? Check me in too!
    Friend3: Oh oh... check me in too!
    Frank: Do we all need to check in to get the discount?
    Friend4: You can get a discount for checking in on facebook?
    Frank: I though so, why else would we check in?
    * awkward silence*

    Turns out the place doesn't give a check in discount, but don't some places?
     
  14. MoreCowbell

    MoreCowbell
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    14
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Messages:
    4,185

    I found this to be less a feature of social networking per se, and more one of any recording mechanism. I think Franzen, literary style aside, was right to place the blame on man's basic relationship with technology rather than with social networking specifically. We tend to cease treating technology as a means, and instead treat it as an end. We do things to blog them, take pictures to put them on tumblr, sit there trying to imagine the perfect Facebook status update. Technology ceases to change our relationship with the world, and instead becomes our relationship with the world.

    Technology doesn't have to be like this, of course. It typically isn't designed with this sort of obsession in mind, and many users are able to use it for their own betterment. But it's certainly worth giving thought to it.

    For example, I've always felt this way about vacation photographs. Often I intentionally do not take a camera places, because it changes the way that people interact with their surroundings. You stop seeing the thing itself, and start seeing photo opportunities. Trips become less about seeing and doing interesting things, and more about maximizing photo opportunities. There's something really unnerving about seeing crowds of 50 people, all aiming cameras at a building or painting. I rarely take pictures these days, because I assume that there are probably better pictures of the same thing available somewhere online, and I'll enjoy the experience more without trying to appropriately frame it.

    Susan Sontag had a really good essay on the topic in On Photography, and there's an excerpt on the subject in White Noise by Don DeLillo.
     
  15. hooker

    hooker
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2009
    Messages:
    2,154
    What people put up on Facebook, Twitter, (etc.) is seldom an accurate reflection of who that person really is. It's what that person wants you to see, based on what they think will make people relate to them and like them. I know plenty of people who lead miserable lives, but on Facebook look like the happiest mother-fuckers alive - with smiling pictures from their trip to Bali, or cutesy pictures of their devil children, etc.

    This board (and every other board, really) are similar. You're not going to come here and tell everyone that you're a fat, disgusting, unhappy degenerate asshole living in your parents basement. You're going to post about "that girl you fucked" or that "awesome time when X happened."

    I'm not denying that the information on social networks has great value and presents opportunities that have never existed previously, but it has to be said that you should always consider the source.
     
  16. MoreCowbell

    MoreCowbell
    Expand Collapse
    Emotionally Jaded

    Reputation:
    14
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Messages:
    4,185
    May I point you towards Durbanite's posting history...

    I think I (and probably others here as well) are actually more candid about our faults and misdeeds on here than in real life, because why the fuck not? There's not a ton to lose. What we might understate is the degree to which we lead lives of quiet desperation.
     
  17. Whothehell

    Whothehell
    Expand Collapse
    Experienced Idiot

    Reputation:
    49
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    Messages:
    236
    Location:
    Canada, the shitty flat part
    Remeber this place is also for the most part anonymous, so me posting about about that time I got blown by a chick with a really big addams apple won't be read my entire family and friends network.