Aaron Sorkin was on The Colbert Report the other night talking about his movie The Social Network. When asked if he was on any social networking sites, he said no and that what people are doing when they post comments or tweet is a performance. That the posts are a version of ourselves we want to present the world.
Something that’s really bad is when I find I’m in a conversation based on what’s said by people online. “So-and-so said this so I wrote this back to which someone else (that jerk) wrote this thing I can’t believe.”
I’ve been going back and forth about that myself for a few months and cut back on the time I spend on those sites. I usually tweet something once a day but have tried to keep my social networking time to under 15 minutes a day. I think I do it mostly out of an irrational fear of not being alive. I think half of my online presence is a preemptive self-defense tactic. If I do or say stupid things online about myself first then…
I feel a shift happening. Maybe this movie about Faceboook’s creator, Mark Zuckerburg, is the death knell for the site. His recent donation of $100 million to the city schools in Newark made me wonder if he was working out of the George W. Bush playbook. (Rule #17: Give a bunch of money away before you do something bad like hold office or are the subject of an unauthorized biopic.) So then I wonder if Mr. Zuckerburg will get philanthropic before the dvd release or something else bad comes to light. Maybe that’s cynical but my hunch is something’s afoot.
I wonder if online etiquette is taught in schools now. Based on my experience at NYC public schools, I’m going to say no. (The general rule of not posting anything you wouldn’t want tattooed on your forehead for life is the best to use.) At the office the other day, I heard a couple people talking about how no one is saying anything about sexual predators on Twitter. That made me tilt my head like Scooby Doo and I let out a “ruuhhh?” sound before I could control it. I guess if people give out their locations, etc., that could put people at risk.
Now that the sheen is off this interactive yearbook for adults that pulls together people from every chapter of my life, I wonder what’s next. I’ve been leaving more voice mails with friends but doing them badly. 80% uhs, 20% some semblance of a message. A friend from high school who has steered clear from any of this insanity has been phoning me. We’ve missed each other 3 times. I have to call back this weekend. I can’t just leave some quip on his wall. Weird.