Overweening Generalist

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Do You Like This Blog?

I recently read this article in Wired, about how we're inundated with Diggs, Likes, Thumb's Ups, etc, etc, etc. Yea, why think about why you're even reading/watching/doing/whatever...let's see what others have already said about what I'm doing! Then I might know where I stand!

I'm sure you don't operate like that, but others surely do. Or that stuff wouldn't be there, would it?

In the Wired article, the quote from Erik Davis about "knowingness"? Big "like" from me. It reminded me of a moment in an old Simpsons episode that really blew me away; I saw the joke as not only funny but profound: Homer goes on tour with a rock 'n roll circus, a take-off on the Jim Rose stuff that was (is still?) big around 1996 or so. Homer's so fat he can take having a cannonball shot at his stomach every night. As they are introducing his act, there's a cut to the audience of hipster twentysomethings. One guy comments to his friend about Homer's act by putting up air quote marks and saying, "Oh yea: Groovy," in a bored way. His friend says, "Hey man. I never know if you're serious or being ironic. Which is it?" And his friend breaks down and starts crying, "I don't even know anymore."

Knowingness. We may have a crapload of technology but I don't care if you're 40: you have NOT seen everything. Our media saturation has created the illusion that you've seen everything. When twenty year olds act as if they've seen it all, it's just embarrassing, speaking for myself. They seem to not even know they're horrified because they have no idea who they are. So: on with the relentless knowingness.

Not every person under 40 has fallen prey to knowingness. I still witness some genuine openness to naivete and enthusiasm or relatively unmediated experience. But Erik Davis makes a point. A good one, I think. Of course I'd think it: I've just told you this knowingness stuff has had me concerned for at least 15 years.

Are we becoming more and more afraid of thinking and evaluating for ourselves? It seems so, what with the plethora of crowd-response data we can easily fall back on. However, I'm not sure what all that really means, in any substantive sense. It's easy to guess, but I really don't know. That it looks like consumerism masquerading as a faux democracy is just too easy.

I can tell you that I've pushed the Google +1 on my own blogposts, here. I read that it helps your blog's standing, and that it doesn't matter if you +1 your own articles. So I did it about five times. Then I quit, because it felt silly. No one else is plus-one-ing me; what does it all really mean? I don't know.

I also must confess: I still don't really "get" social media. Oh, I listen to intelligent friends who use it like mad, and they tell me in very articulate ways why they use it, what they get out of it, the benefits they've gotten from it. And it all makes sense. I believe social media is enhancing their lives. It just doesn't make sense that I would get all that much out of Facebooking, Tweeting, Digging, Liking, etc. Except to steer more people to the site of my writing/opinions/inane "observations" and readings that I admire? I understand why that should actuate me into doing the social media stuff, but it feels like I'm pitching a product. And I probably am. I probably should. But I don't like the idea of pitching myself. I'm not kidding when I say I find myself completely out of step with All This, and I think the most appropriate response you ought to have towards me is pity.

So yea, if you like this blogpost, don't say anything. No Google +1. No comment. No Tweeting. No response of any kind, ok?

1 comment:

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

I'm not too big on Facebook myself, but I love Twitter. I follow stuff like Ubuweb and Dangerous Minds.It's a great resource.