Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Social Scene

A couple of years or so ago, my friend Lynne sent me an e-mail and invited me to take a look at her MySpace page, and urged me make a MySpace page of my own. So I did. I used a moniker but did upload an actual picture of myself from who knows when, with my hair much longer and having the Meathead look (Rob Reiner when he was in All In the Family).

After that my page became a deserted wasteland.

I do have two "friends" on MySpace, however: Lynne, and Jennifer, a co-worker. I mentioned in passing one day that I had signed up for MySpace although I didn't know why, and she told me she was on there, too - so we traded being "friends." I notice that both of them keep their pages up to date but I can't get used to looking at pulsating, brightly and multi-colored pages blaring music with videos and slide shows playing, as well as graphics flying back and forth across the screen. Simultaneously. It's a bit much for an old wheezer like me.

I never even got that far on Facebook. I signed up for an account so a page is there but there's hardly anything on it except where I went to school and where I work - how exciting. I've looked at a few other public Facebook accounts and really don't see the point of it - even if I knew the person, there's nothing worth reading on them, just a bunch of pictures of friends saying meaningful things like what they are going to eat for lunch.

Someone also suggested I get a Twitter account, which I did, and which I used a few times but I haven't been there in weeks, if not months. Meanwhile, people keep adding me to the list of people they follow - 129 as of this writing, even though I haven't posted anything for weeks or even months and don't intend to. I don't think they notice, though.

I liken all those followers on Twitter to the scene in Forrest Gump where he starts running, criss-crossing the country and in the process, acquires a band of groupies who run along beside and behind him. Then one day in the middle of the dessert he stops on the highway. Everyone else stops, too. Then he declares that he doesn't feel like running anymore, and that's all he has to say about that.

I'm not much of a social person anyway. Although I love the computer and my preferred form of communication is e-mail, I just can't get used to all these social networking sites out there. It's so high-maintenance to keep up with everything, and for what? Do I really care that so-and-so is about to bite into a pastrami sandwich?

That said, I do write this blog and I assume there are some people reading it for whatever reasons they may have. The Truman Show wasn't so far fetched - for some reason, we just get curious about what other people are up to. Maybe that's no different than reading biographies. If my friends wrote blogs (which apparently none of them do), I would read them.

Reading blogs seems more personal, whereas the social networking sites seem so impersonal. I've mentioned before I am not a party animal and don't really care for social gatherings and that's how I see sites like Facebook and MySpace and Twitter.

There's actually a couple of blogs that I read even though I don't know the authors at all. Katie told me about one of them recently, and I've started following this fellow. He's an older man (even older than me) who writes about his every day experiences - nothing dramatic, nothing exciting, just simple every day stuff and right to the point, sort of like how Seinfeld was supposed to be a show about nothing. Nevertheless, I find it interesting to read about what is going on in his life. Click here if you want to take a look at it.

Did you take a look? It's nothing exciting and it's kind of funny how he uses such a large font but I find it amazing that so many people read it, based on the number of page views indicated, as well as the comments people leave. So evidently others besides me take an interest in what this fellow is doing. I don't think he's got that many friends and/or relatives keeping tabs on him.

The other blog I read is one I stumbled across back in 2001 when I was searching for information about the Gamble House in Pasadena. I clicked on the search result link and got taken to this blog. I didn't even know what a blog was back then and found it kind of odd that someone would post an online diary for all to see.

I read some of the other entries and found them very well written as well as interesting, so I began to stop by her site to see what new entries she had posted. Even though I don't know this person, after reading so many of her blog entries, I feel like I do. Again, there's nothing real exciting about them, just every day life, but I find it interesting. There's a personal aspect to it, something that is missing from the social networking sites.

Twos the limit, though. Unless I find out someone I actually know is writing a blog, I don't intend to spend time reading any others because it takes too much time.

Is that being voyeuristic? Well, if you put something on the world wide web, you have to expect that it can't be considered private. Those two bloggers I read keep their real identities private, however, whereas here I am with my name plastered in big letters at the top, and in the web address no less. I dunno, I just feel like writing and don't mind that people know who's doing it.

Though it may not seem that way, it's a labor of love, as opposed to the more party-like atmosphere found in the other sites where it seems the object is to collect as many "friends" as possible.

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