>I Ain’t Superficial, Black Cat Cross My Trail

>I keep coming back to this theme about computers, and my general loathing for them. It’s not just computers, it’s the whole techie, gadget thing that I seem to have missed the gene for, or I’m not as highly evolved, or something. The latest thing I’ve been seeing more and more of that I don’t really get is all the stuff about “phone apps.” Okay, I understand that these are applications that run on your phone, and I’m guessing that this is maybe an iPhone thing since that is what I see most referenced . . . but what is the point? I’m not passing judgment, I literally don’t know. If the internet is supposed to be the Greatest Thing Ever, and your phone already can surf the internet . . . then what is the app for? Are they games, or what?

I see all these websites offering these things. If I go, for example, to Texts From Last Night online, what am I not getting there that I would get with their App? Even comic book sites are getting in the action. I suspect some of those are maybe applications to allow you to read the comics on your phone, but I still don’t really get it (nor can I imagine reading on so small of a screen). I seriously need someone who is an avid user of these things to enlighten me. Is this just a fad I can look forward to seeing go away?

I don’t use my phone for much. I even avoid talking on it, so I use it for texting mostly. Hell, I’ll even text Sid from the basement if I need to ask him a question and I’m downstairs and he’s upstairs in his room. From where I am right now, it’s about six feet on the other side of the wall to where he is in his room, but often with headphones on he won’t hear me holler at him, so I text him. That’s actually halfway handy. We’ve eliminated the landline; we all just have our own cell phones. That has seriously cut down on the number of annoying phone solicitations. So it’s not like I have a real problem with cell phones (unless you’re talking or texting on one and being an asshole while you drive).

I’ve had a Blackberry for a couple months now, but I’m thinking of exchanging it back for a regular cell phone. Not because it isn’t handy to get my email on it, I just don’t use it so much that it justifies the extra expense. I almost never respond to emails with it, I’ll just cull the bullshit spam and junk that I get so that when I actually sit down at my computer there is less to deal with. Nor do I use it for work. There have been times I’ve gotten important messages earlier than I otherwise would have, but the hour or so I saved probably wasn’t that big of a deal. So I don’t know. I don’t have so much that is important going on that I really need it. That may change, but for right now, it’s excessive. I don’t want to manufacture a need for something that really isn’t there. But the phone as a mini-computer that plays music and has extra software and all that? I don’t get it at all.

What About the Social Networking Stuff?

Here’s another question. For those of you who use things like Twitter or Facebook, do you feel the relationships/interactions you have within those platforms are more superficial than “real world” versions? Are those applications keeping us indoors on our computers, or on our goddamn phones, rather than out dealing with people in a real, community-based interaction?

I’m on the fence. I use both the sites I mentioned quite a bit. Sometimes more than I’d like to. There are pros and cons. They can be time sinks for sure. But there are also real upsides. For me, from a networking perspective they are invaluable. I’ve “met” a pretty tight little community of people like me striving to become published authors, and that interaction, none of which has been face-to-face, is as real and important to me as if it had been. It was like that when I was actively promoting my rock band via an online presence. I know it has worked for others as well — I have certainly purchased books, music, and artwork that I never would have heard about if not for this medium. It has also enabled me to meet some very interesting people, some of whom I’ve been lucky to meet in person. On a limited budget, the books and music and other assorted cool things that I spend my money on will go for buying the works of people I’ve come to know through this medium, so in that respect it has been beneficial for those people as well.

My real world social life is pretty sparse. Working from home, I really don’t interact face-to-face with people beyond my immediate family and the people working at the corner market. I see the guys in my band once a week, and don’t even talk to them much beyond those 2 – 3 hours of Rock Time. And Rock Time ain’t no time for talking, even if we wanted to.

I almost never speak to my co-workers since they are 2000 miles away. So the “water cooler” in my office is pretty much my Twitter feed. Writing that, it really sounds pathetic, but I’m not whining — that’s just how it is. When it comes down to it, I think my online “persona” is significantly less superficial than the person my co-workers do know. I’m much more open online with this blog, the comments I make on other sites, twitter posts, etc. than I am with any of those people. So I’m just curious what other people think about how they use these friggin’ things.

2 thoughts on “>I Ain’t Superficial, Black Cat Cross My Trail”

  1. >I think having two personas works pretty well when it comes to the online social networking bullshit.One persona, Bob Wire, will add just any old body to his FB friends list. He doesn't care; the account is purely for self-promotion and the opportunity to be a smartass. I'm always in character on that account.My FB account for Ednor, however, is far more selective, and I treat it as a conversational hub for people I do know, have met, or am related to. I'm still a smartass, of course, but I'm also sincere, moody, angry, goofy, or just plain ambivalent, depending on what combination of psychoactive substances are running through my system.I go through stages where I check the accounts like my dog checks his dish. Slavishly, compulsively. Then I always make myself back off and leave it alone for a few days. When I do check back in, I am hit with the realization about how shallow, how facile, how narcissistic and pointless the whole scene is.(I have to say that your posts nearly always carry some weight, though, Chris. Not surprising.)

  2. >I have to admit that on those occasions when I've gotten away from the online grind I haven't missed it, and somehow feel dirty coming back.One thing on Facebook is I've gotten more selective on the Friend requests, and pretty much ignore just about everything else. And when it comes to the new band, I don't think I'll even create any pages of any kind for it.It's all a double-edged sword, that's certain. Maybe I should stick to drawing pictures in caves and just be a blacksmith or something.

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