Monday, September 5, 2011

Getting to Know You (and Like You - Maybe)?

This past Sunday's Meet the Press had Tom Friedman discussing the expansion of worldwide inter-connectedness. He pointed out that Facebook didn't exist for most people when he wrote his flat earth book seven years ago (I can never remember the title, even though he mentions it every time you see him).

I joined the social network a couple of years ago in an effort to put myself where people from the way-back-beyond past might find me. No one from my childhood has, but I've made a number of new friends.

(You can tell when you have a good selection of new friends on Facebook -  the old ones start poaching them, and vice versa. Therein lies the interconnected value of idea exchange.)

In the last year, Facebook has become important to me in the main because friends - those who are active contributors - will find something interesting and post it where I, and the rest of the world, can find it - and then it gets  passed on again and again and again.

I've seen breathtaking photographs, videos of gloriously silly things, nostalgic pictures and prose, alarming news and careful research compiled and shared by accomplished people who I would never otherwise know. And, of course, there is always the up-to-the-minute political insanity of our times.

And I haven't moved anything except hand and eye.

Thoroughly amazing, what?

But even with the availability of this rich fare of information, still the uninformed thrive; multiply, even. It's almost as if they are being nourished by snapping up the scraps of misinformation that spill off a banquet table that has room only for facts, and this detritus  becomes soiled and even covered with the spittle of the curs who inhabit the underside of everything, and chew with open-mouthed avarice.

And I it different? Have people become dumber and dirtier since I was a girl, or is it that each aging generation is critical of the mores of the new one? Aren't there lyrics from the musical Flower Drum Song  that tell us that?

Is that all it is? Or is it something more sinister?

Yes, I think it is much, much more sinister. And, because of our inter-connectedness, it is going to travel faster and faster and faster.

It's going to be a bumpy ride.


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