Because of the mass proliferation of computers people are now more connected than ever -- or are they?
Social networking has taken the world by storm, allowing common people to constantly trade messages with each other as well as the rich and famous. Entertainers and sports stars maintain accounts just to be in touch with their fans. From children to seniors, we are communicating in record numbers. Around the world it has become a status symbol to see how many "friends " you may attract on the Internet. Some do it to try and build an identity, and some do it to try and improve their self-esteem. I am not a fan.
Posting a series of happy photos and quotes so strangers and God only knows what kind of weirdo can see them does not make you happy or successful. Try as we might in the modern world, sending messages into thin air will never replace actual face-to-face friendship.
To be sure, the Internet has provided a way for people to prop up their own egos while creating a false sense of security for total strangers. Quite an amazing phenomenon when you stop to think about it. The social network users feed off of each other. In effect they are saying, "look if you buy into my crap, I will do the same for you and we will both feel better about ourselves." From what I have seen that is asking a lot.
Let's face it, our mundane lives are just barely of interest to our closest relatives, much less to people we don't really know. Yet, photos are posted of folks shopping, washing their dog and cutting the grass. Why? Who cares?
To me that sort of thing seems to be the ultimate act of egotism. Foisting the tedium of my daily life on unsuspecting souls just so they can do the same to me would never enter my mind. I wouldn't dare to assume anyone other than my dearly departed mother would be even slightly interested. Conversely, I could care less about your daily life.
I have no interest in knowing where Brad and Angelina are traveling either. OK, I admit I don't care much for either of them, but I wouldn't be interested in the daily lives of people I admire either.
Users of the so-called social networks are so out of touch with reality, they are often caught posting self-incriminating information. It has gotten so bad that now most law enforcement agencies pay people to monitor the net just to locate the bad guys who can't help themselves from bragging. Bragging to whom? It seems these people are just proud to send their innermost secrets over the airwaves for anyone to look at. The crazies (both men and women) send nude photos of themselves into cyberspace without caring of the consequences. Aside from the police, modern employers also monitor the Internet. If you apply for a job after posting crude or illegal acts on your computer -- well good luck. Once you have been hired, your boss will still be watching and waiting to catch you being stupid.
OK, perhaps you are wondering why I am on such a rant.
A while back I was watching the aftermath of the shootings at the Navy building in Washington, D.C. on CNN.
There was a discussion as to why the man would do such a thing. The announcer said the perpetrator was obviously a strange loner for the police could find no social networking on his home computer at all. Say what now? Because the man was not on Facebook, he was already branded as some sort of weirdo? I guess that's what it has come to.
Well you can put me in that category as well. Because my e-mail address is published each week in this newspaper, I am bombarded with messages from people trying to hook up on one social network or another. Please don't feel bad that I did not reply. My close friends and relatives have also approached me to no avail. I suppose it comes down to those words of wisdom by that famed sage George Costanza: "it's not you, it's me."
Dan Smith is on the board of directors for the Ormond Beach Historical Society and The Motor Racing Heritage Association and is the author of two books, "The World's Greatest Beach" and "I Swear the Snook Drowned." Email questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (386) 441-7793.