” . . . you like me, right now, you like me!” Sally Field’s acceptance speech in 1984 when she won Best Actress for her role in Places of the Heart
[O]nline communities . . . .provide for users the option to like certain persons, groups, pages, status, posts, comments, published links, videos, photos etc., thus displaying their personal attraction, acknowledgement or sympathy with the “liked” object, and this “liked” status will be constantly displayed. . . . Some communities apply a “dislike” option (as opposed to “like”), some even make possible to withdraw one’s “like”. This has become especially popular on Facebook, where people may even post giant ‘like’ images publicly as a sign of affection. Examples: You like this. You and 17 other persons like this. John Doe likes your link.
The cyberverse is undergoing renovations/revolutions; once websites, blogs, and email addresses = communication, information, entertainment, research. Now, facebook pages and tweeter handles fill these roles. There is no guest “appearances/access;” social media commands full membership. You have to become part of a “committed relationship,” even if you only what to dabble, contact/connect with someone, find out more information. Corporate America, non-profit organizations, the next door neighbour’s dog all have facebook pages and twitter handles.
And, should you “like” something on facebook, the flow of posts, status updates, comment threads increases exponentially with the number of pages you like. Are websites, email addresses and blogs going the way of 8-track cassettes, VHS (beta and non-beta), and the dodo? The world has shrunk to 142 characters or the size of a facebook status update scaled down to fit onto a smart phone screen. Blogger shows how a blog will look on the various screens now available. The amount of space and/or screen size makes me feel like Alice when she “shrunk” in Wonderland – an unsettling mirror gone from full-length to old-fashioned compact size.
Folks who can navigate the new cyberverse with ease impress me; the flow of information and communication is horizon-less, the speed instantaneous, the response (unless it’s me who adds to the comment thread, likes the pix, status update, or shared information/image/idea days after it first appeared) immediate. I doubt I can become one of these incredible social media mavens.
For someone like me who tends to be long winded, am smart phone-less, and not twitter savvy, these changes some days come at me too fast. On those days, it feels like my brain circuits are overloading. Friending (another definition to be added) can seem overwhelming — as much as I “like” to know how folks are doing, enjoy the posts, status updates, shared images, and inspirational/informative “stuff” they post (and I image tweet about).
Those times I do feel overwhelmed, with smoke coming out of my ears from the fried and frazzled brain synapses trying to catch information as it whizzes by at warp speed, I begin to wonder if maybe what I need is antisocial media. Or an Atari 64 or Radio Shack Tandy with floppy discs and orange on black lettering. Maybe an IBM selectic typewriter, a telegraph button, telegram printer or morse code handbook. Heck — a quill pen and inkwell might work.