Faceless in space

I suppose it marks me as some sort of paleo-holdout that I assiduously avoid all online social networking sites. I have never held an account with or visited Facebook or MySpace — I conflate these into MyFace — or followed anyone on Twitter. I have no idea what it means in the modern sense to write on one’s wall; I only know that the last incident in history of writing on one’s wall, recorded at Daniel 5, presaged the end of the Babylonian empire and the end of Semitic influence in Mesopotamia in 538 BC. I see no reason to follow anyone’s tweets or any other non-human phonic emissions. If I want to catch up on my friends’ lives, I call them on the phone or write to them: by most contemporary reckoning, an archaic process.

A marvelous new life just entered our church congregation, and the excited dad kept their loved ones informed via Facebook. I think this is a good application of Facebook, but not enough for me to get an account so I could see the pictures. But the dear dad very kindly e-mailed pictures to me, proving the utility of ancient institutions. I have some apprehension that I may not be able to see much of my own grandchild without Facebook, but I suspect my daughter will humor her anachronistic mom, and e-mail me pictures. I’m unable to receive pictures in my phone because I don’t have a camera phone and I have severed texting from my phone plan: more archaisms, I suppose.

It’s not that I resist new technology. It’s that I resist incorporation into some sort of Borg, a network insidiously designed to dissolve privacy and individuality, and to equalize idiocy and literacy. Harsh words? I admit to strong feelings about this.

A Marine general visited my high school once, and he said the world didn’t need any more leaders, it needed more followers. He struck me as kind of an idiot. And social networking sites that thrive on accumulating followers strike me the same way. I am incredulous that the President of the United States has the time, between vacations, to tweet his profound comings and goings to a couple hundred thousand followers, while the rest of the country just wishes somebody would show up and lead.

The people with whom I most enjoy communicating still capitalize their first-person singular pronoun, still spell their second-person pronoun with three letters, and still spell at all. They take beautiful, creative photos, often with cameras that don’t come with phones. And they convey meaningful abstractions, use beautiful language, deploy symbolism, and relate factual information in a way that is a joy to read. From what I’ve picked up in the buzz, I don’t have the sense that avoiding the MyFace scene is causing me to miss much.

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10 Comments

Filed under People, Places, & Things

10 responses to “Faceless in space

  1. David Alan

    Lauren:

    Ok, found your new home blog.

    I commented on your Ron Paul column on the ‘old blog’ – glad I came over here & landed on this post Faceless in Space – I’ve got to read it to my wife & children – we’re of similar opinions about Facebook.

    Being ‘Paleo’ in much the same manner – we object to having our lives turned into a cyber ad for the lazy – that is what Facebook seems to us.

    Not to mention cybersnoops in high places, most certainly serving their master in the lowest place, have actually designed it – Facebook – or developed it, as a data mining portal using facial recognition algorithms.

    Yet, this glaring vulnerability & danger seems to escape the notice of those who can do nothing but ‘Facebook’ !

    We’ve noted when the go that route, they seem to disappear into thin air, or off to another frequency, not available on the old AM band !

    So, thanks for the insights & laughs.

    Congrats on your move, as on your other post…..Clarkston, Montana …..or is it Idaho ?

    Whichever state, probably better than suburban Seattle Tacoma zone.

    We abandoned So Cal for rural East Texas, so we can relate to the desire to trade city for rural – may your lives be more are rest.

    LORD bless you & yours,

    David Alan
    East Texas

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    • Hey, David… I replied to your comment on Oikos mou, and I was going to e-mail you to invite you over here, but I see that you are resourceful. Welcome.

      It’s actually Clarkston, Washington, but it’s on the Idaho border and I call it Wadaho. And yes, it is a much more comfortable home for us than the Puget Sound corridor. I love East Texas, and I could have easily moved there from Houston back in the 70s, but wound up happily in Montana. But of course, I can hardly envy you Gov. Gardasil, an accomplished statist.

      God keep you — all six of you!

      L

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  2. Lauren, I loved this post and chuckled my way though the whole thing. Funny…I have always called all of those sites FaceSpace much to my kid’s amusement. I don’t twitter or tweet or whatever it’s called. I do use Facebook to keep in touch with family…mostly the young ones that I know will “talk” to me there. My Mother was a letter writer, and before she passed away she gave me all her stationary and note cards, and asked that I use them. I have stared writing notes to people, and have actually purchased stamps! A hand written note is an old-fashioned practice we should all resurrect. While clearing out my Mom’s condo, we found shoeboxes and large envelopes overflowing with cards and letters that she obviously treasured. And pictures….boxes of pictures….why do we need to look at pictures on a computer screen? I love boxes filled with old pictures with captions on the back. What will my Grandkids look at? Old pictures are so fun to look at.
    mo

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    • I agree with you, Mo. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that paper photographs will even be a known entity to the next generation. I’ve had millennials stare at me wide-eyed when I explained we didn’t have videos when I was in high school. How could I begin to explain what a film strip was?

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  3. It is a grief to us that Zack seems to make a success of himself on facebook, when he wakes up. Hormisdas, who humbly joined but has not figured out how to post anything yet, has not gathered a successful following. I am not sure he has noticed (he sometimes sits and beams at the screen and I believe he thinks that he is ‘facebooking’), and I don’t bother to tell him, for he has other joys which Zack knows not of.

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    • I know how you feel, Heidi. After Coolidge launched his exploratory committee through twitter, we found out that he and Gov. Gardasil were locked in a dead statistical heat somewhere off the coast of Cape Fear.

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  4. Jane

    My sentiments exactly! I thought I was the only one to not belong to the “club”.

    Like

  5. Mark Fee

    I enjoyed reading about your portmanteau of MyFace!

    Like

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