Tilted Windmills: Living other people’s lives through Facebook
by Mike McLellan
Oct 05, 2012 | 3002 views | 6 6 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Facebook has made the world smaller, more intimate and less mysterious.

A recent morning’s posts on Facebook included messages from people in France, Colorado, Texas and Hawaii, along with one from two blocks away.

The information was fascinating. Two people were having breakfast, one was on the way to work and the others were delighting that they were on vacation.

Receiving these messages excites me, because I can vicariously live several lives at once without being schizophrenic.

At one moment in time, I can read reviews of restaurants I will never go to and see photos of people I will never meet. This is in addition to knowing

details about things that I never knew I cared about.

Here, while working on my laptop, I can take a break and rummage through the lives of other people, just as I surf for weather reports. Thanks to a man named Zuckerberg, I can feel the pathos of being someone else.

This is handy — while I am being them, I do not need to experience my own pathos, as pathetic as it is.

Then again, there are people who lead interesting lives. When they get up in the morning, they look forward to their busy day. When they go to bed, they are grateful for substantial victories. I share in it all while I also consider un-friending them due to envy.

There was a time when I just had my own interests to worry about. Now I can worry about so many others.

I suppose you might say that I could stop this at any time. All I’d have to do is erase my profile and stop lurking around the profiles of others.

But it is not that easy.

Many of us no longer really care — we are now afraid that we will be left behind.

People’s lives might soon have a plot change, and we will miss it like we missed the final episode of “M*A*S*H.”

We will no longer be informed.

All right then — it is an addiction.

It is similar to being hooked on soap operas or serialized novels. Facebook is immediate gratification for the reality-television age in which we live. What if something important happens without us?

We stalk the information of strangers as if they were Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton. What if a friend knows something we don’t?

Indeed, Facebook has brought us closer. It might not seem important to some to know what I am doing right now — which is lying about having such a fun life — but it is important to my friends.

• Mike McLellan can be contacted by calling and leaving a message at 830-4231 or emailing him at DrMikeM@sbcglobal.net.
Comments
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backinblack
|
October 07, 2012
I wish Facebook, texting, and tweeting would all vanish tomorrow. Mike opines about being informed yet we now live in a society which is anything but.

If people were informed a guy like Obama would not get elected. If people were informed the avg college level civics exam score would be greater than a pathetic 50 or so percent. If people were informed a man on the street could show pictures of politicians or world leaders and not have someone just sit there with a dumb founded gaze, oh but wait, the same person who can't identify John Boehner or Harry Reid can identify every Housewife of Wherever. Sorry, I don't call that being informed, I call an advancement of idiocy and ignorance.

How about poor spelling, grammar, and basically lousy social skills? Kids nowadays can text to no end but can barely hold even a simple conversation. Manners have also gone out the door.

I proudly state I am not on Facebook, never tweeted, and have sent one, yep, one text just to amuse my wife. I have news for Mike, I'm not missing a thing.

However, I'm sure 3 teenage girls I came across the other day are on Facebook. I held a door open for them and all 3 walked by without saying a word.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
|
October 07, 2012
An I would be willin ta bet they didn't even see ya an probably thought it was an automatic door.

Th only FACEBOOK activities I am guilty of is when my daughter or daughter-in-law posts pictures of my grandchildren thair. That's th only time I use it an they definitely are not friends thair my family. Big difference.

I agree, we all would be better off without it.
PublicCitizen
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October 05, 2012
Mike,

There is a cure for facebook addiction...

It's called a (real) life. Get one.
Bird_Man
|
October 05, 2012
Facebook... I don't need no stinkin facebook.

Maybe it is sad but I can count the number of "friends" I have on one hand. These are people though that would drop everything and come running, no questions asked, if I called them telling them that I needed them.

They have my back and I have theirs.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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October 05, 2012
Friends?

Was sittin in a coffee shop th other day an a woman said she liked facebook because it brought her son out of his socially insulated shell. She said, "Why he now has 475 friends!"

Really? Friends? Don't know about ya but I can name all of my friends by name, know whair they all live an frequently can be found with em.

I don't count everyone I converse with or encounter as friends. Many I don't personally know frum Adam other than they might be th friend of a friend who might be a friend of one of my friends.

These people are not my friends they are simply acquaintances with not much more standin as a real friend compared ta a stranger one might encounter on a bus or walkin down th street.

While I believe it's important ta be friendly ta people ya meet that, ta me, it doesn't form a friendship as much as it might be th precursor ta one.

I believe thair's a real danger in callin somethang it aint and fer th most part these "friends" on thangs like facebook are not really friends but rather are acquaintances.

A test? If yer in need of cash fer somethang important a friend will usually help. Try that with yer vicarious "friends" an see what happens.
jpj2007
|
October 06, 2012
Well said, Ornley_Gumfudgen!


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