Insomnia is not good. Mix insomnia with a smart phone? Double not good. Twice last night I was peering into my tiny device (so much so, my hand went numb holding it in the air). All the buzz on Facebook, of course, was that it’s creator, Mark Zuckerberg, was about to toss our cyberworlds upside down again. By the time I finished reading about the impending changes, I was a tad nauseated. Get a life, you say. Get off Facebook. Many are threatening to do just that….
BUT, you see, we creatives, us authors and others embeded in our evolving world of communications, are tied umbilically to social media. By true necessity of our times. It can make us or break us. If an author ignores social media…Toast. I’m watching it happen to a friend of mine now who’s coasting, expecting their publisher to do all the work. Great book, but Stephen King this author is not. Authors must work and prospective publishers do take just that seriously into account. Along with numbers and likes and stats. Sick. I’m sick at thought of more work. As if keeping up were not enough. Not to mention feeling three years behind because I keep hitting the walls of my own technological ignorance.
The latest creation of the Mighty One of Social Media is that our new Facebook profiles will be a compendium of our lives. A scrapbook timeline where we post photos of ourselves as babies, bare chested and our bottoms swaddled in diapers, along with all other life-time milestones we deem important. The geeks among my friend base were already creating theirs. Grumble.
How old is this guy? And all this posting and scanning and yada-yada come naturally. To Some. I’ll save the whining about my age and getting out of the traditional workplace just as the PC revolution burst into reality and being a single mother and….Good Lord, this stuff takes time.
But, if you’re a Geek, you love it. Ack. My October, 2010, “Journey with Grace” blog post reviewing “The Social Network,” the movie based on Facebook designer Mark Zuckerberg, and spectulating that he has Asperger’s was referenced in this Psychology Today blog. (The author agrees with me.)
For those peeking into “Journey with Grace” via Facebook today (Welcome!) Asperger’s is a form of high functioning autism. The reason I believe some people react so negatively to speculation that Zuckerberg, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and *the late great pop artist Andy Warhol, just to name a few contemporary figures have/*had Asperger’s is because their understanding of the syndrome is limited. Their understanding is barricaded by the perception of “disAbility.” People with Asperger’s (or any disAbility) are not broken. They are just different. And sometimes differently gifted in some very publicly beneficial ways.
But then back to the ways in which Zuckerberg is evolving and thus we will also be evolving on his Facebook creation….I cyber-snapped at a dear second cousin in the wee hours last night when I read how she liked the coming Facebook changes but could see how her mother–my first cousin–less than 10 years my senior, would be calling, pleading for help. There is a digital divide, I reminded her. Younger people raised from diaperdom with computers for breakfast just don’t get it. Case in point was the rude lil’ waitress at Carrabba’s who howled on with belly-shaking laughter when she walked up on my conversation with a 83-year-old family member just as she had asked me: “What is Facebook?” “That’s the funniest thing I ever heard,” crowed the waitress unkindly. My stern look, my attempt to explain to her the realities of the digital divide never seemed to sink in with her. In the end, I think, only, she got the message that we were not happy with her. This new profile page and relearning something from a site that asks us constantly to relearn things that are not second nature to those of us over 40, is going to baffle folks all the more.
And, do I/we want to make available that much info about ourselves for all the world to see? Yes, you can put up filters, but many of us get friend requests (future book buyers) from people we do not even know–asking us to “be their friend.” And, our personal business pages (which I’ve never gotten around to fully fleshing out, like so many other technology to-do’s) are getting the short shrift, in the meantime, because of the new annoying, constant, dizzying, left-hand columned ticker-tape parade of posts.
I speculate that once again, in his lack of Aspergian theory-of-mind, young Zuckerberg thinks that we all will delight in making the time to round up photos and scan them into our computers and post them for everyone to see. Not….Go ahead. Call me Scrooge.
Others are saying some of this more persuasively. And one of them is blogger Amanda Pagliarini, from whose post, “What the Zuck?” I borrowed a portion of this “Journey with Grace” post’s title. We are being led in this social media phenomenon by a person who has social deficits (and many brilliant assets). And as I’m increasingly reading and hearing from people regarding Facebook–and I’d say all social media–we are becoming less personal and less sensitive and, as some are also saying more navel-gazing. But our profiles? Well, ain’t they pretty. Even if only we see them.