Thumbing a ride on the bandwagon of the moment

You know the song “Video killed the radio star”? Well if you don’t, you’re probably too young for your opinion to matter anyway! I always think of that song whenever I see my blog languishing in the shallows of neglect. Facebook killed the blog, as far as I’m concerned. Why would I spend an hour on a lengthy post when I can summarise it in a status update and have immediate responses? Oh well. Such is the way of life. Fads come and they go. If there is a bandwagon passing by, I’m on it. No shame.

For example, I have a Twitter account. But I don’t know that I see much point in it. I do post some stuff once in a while. But I don’t know who reads it. I do follow some amazing Tweeters though (is that what they are called?). In my line of work, famous names are danah boyd, Nancy Baym, Barry Wellman, Amy Bruckman, Amanda Lenhart and Howard Rheingold, to name a few. All these people are very generous with their knowledge. They tweet regularly about their work, their students’ work and the work of other people in the field. They post links that open up new worlds to me. Perhaps these people spoil the market forme. I feel stupid posting about an ingrown toenail when I know that Twitter can be used for higher purposes. But still, the bandwagon came along, and I thumbed a ride.

Facebook has kept my attention for a surprisingly long time. I think there are a couple of reasons for this. One is the interactive element. I am a highly social person. I need involvement in people’s lives. I need for them to be involved in mine. It is a different matter that involvement on Facebook carries a different meaning than it does in real life. Even dipping into someone’s thoughts-

Post: My tummy is hurting

Comment: Oh you poor thing. Hope you feel better soon

-that sort of thing, to me, is involvement. I get huffy when people write off Facebook interaction as superficial. Does every interaction have to be deep? Wherefore art thou, phatic communion!

Another reason Facebook is fascinating is that it offers the deliciously voyeuristic pleasure of examining human behaviour. And so democratic, too. The fact that I am able to view your profile means that we are ‘friends’, which in turn means that you have access to my profile as well. People make so many decisions on Facebook. Some make them without a second thought, while others agonise over every friend request. Some navigate the social minefield with an ease born of technological confidence, while others get mired in obsessions about conspiracy theories. Such fun!

I may jump ship if another fad comes along. But it will have to be a good one.

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