Wednesday, February 8, 2012

you can't find it on a map, my friends


it's official. last week on the nightly news with brian williams i learned that there's a new kind of country out there (maybe more like an empire? ruled by a king mark I?)—but don't try to find it on any map—a real, unreal place, with the third largest population on earth after china and india.

a mostly a friendly nation, this nation of faces, it is a wealthy, data-processing land primarily at peace (except for occasional controversies and disagreements amongst its citizens), and the folks residing there are extremely social and blessed with many friends—the more friends the better—and a network of connections. their leader's view is that everything is better when shared.

everyone's made to feel welcome here—there are no illegal aliens and there's no need to pass a citizenship exam. it's free and easy to cross the country's borders and become a citizen, and—this is important—have your every click archived and analyzed turning you into a product of the country—just sign up and sign in, please.

even now as i write, a high percentage of the over 800 million citizens in this land of tap, tap, click, click are doing exactly that, and displaying pictures and products, writing on walls, liking this, disliking that (but really mostly liking), tagging this, untagging that. they have a voice—a huge voice, a noisy voice—but often you can't actually hear it with your ears, because this nation's voice sounds off in text/images.

it can be a quirky place—quite a few of the region's populace are obsessed with cats, others with the beverages they're sipping or the pieces of food they've just swallowed, or they show a passion for meteorology: is it raining out or not?—where its people are continually putting up a non-stop insipid chatter of meaningless drivel or countless mind-numbing images, updating everyone in a steady minute-by-minute ritual drumbeat rhythm of the trivial. this land can be a marketplace for the blatantly inconsequential, and yet, sometimes, it illuminates the not-at-all-trivial global events being played out on the world's stage.

some members of this country's population post an endless stream of pictures of themselves (taken by themselves) at parties—or not—(sometimes they pose nude or semi-nude for all their friends to see—man-oh-man, these people are fun!) that they just snapped two seconds ago. then, when they're done with their own stuff, they look at everyone else's newly updated stuff. (you know the old saying if you show me yours, i'll show you mine.)

hear it? there they go again. another gazillion clicky clicks. well, i don't need to tell you any more about this magical land. you already know way more than i do anyway.

note: just about everyone, of all ages, including my 80-year-old father and the rest of my extended family, is a citizen of facebook land. i only know of five people (ages 30-55) who aren't. one of them is me.

3 comments:

monica devine said...

I admire how you describe the landscape of this "place"; I'll admit, I'm hooked on it; I check it once a day to see what's happening in my tribe, in both a small sense...my immediate community; and the community "at large." I've found I can also go without it (at our cabin w/no internet access) and find I don't miss a thing...conundrum.

m said...

exactly. i often think i'll sign up just to see everyone's pictures (you hear that a lot—i'm on it to see the pictures), but then i think do i really need a non-productive distraction in my day, a day that's way too short as it is?

monica devine said...

Yes, and the same goes for writing. it comes to a point where i'm spending more time reading ABOUT writing, than doing the hard work itself. Interesting to note all our distractions...