Why social media is like a bucket of vomit

You love your Triumph Spitfire. You love going down the freeway in top-down weather. You love the sound of the stinging breeze wrapping itself round your German Luftwaffe Helmet. Oh, the looks you get. They, courageous car buffs, stand in awe; then they forcibly wipe the mud from their shoes and their bandy legs, wishing now they had stood a little further back from that pretty café au lait puddle. Still a madman cutting athwart a thin sheet of muddy water is something to behold. You look back, feeling great. And aside from the motion sickness, you’re on top of the world.

But then the proverbial merry-go-round sputters and stops. Your coveted sports car, in truth a sardine can with wheels and a nice paint job, breaks down. Then you learn the ugly truth. The only parts available for the car are stored in a locker somewhere in Asia minor, in the bowels of a godforsaken train station, and the only way to access the stash of now obsolete auto parts is to participate in a religious ceremony involving a small herd of yaks and bitcoin.

All this to say that there are some good things about owing a Spitfire and some not so good. It’s like that with social media too: some good, some bad.

Twitter, for instance, should be for journalists only. What’s the point of laypeople trumpeting (should this now be capitalized?) the first thing that pops into their swollen heads. And so, with the character limitation imposed by Twitter you get–well, you get concise garbage (or pick your own oxy, moron). Tweeting is to blurt out something you’ll regret later. Don’t do it. Attempting to raise the bar, Roseanne did it. Now she’s selling pencils.

There’s another problem with social media. Lone voices get drowned out. There’s bullying; you’ve seen it. Group think shows up to the party, wearing a flashy suit, and so we are left with one opinion, one revolution (now choose a color). Foot-soldier, like me, like some of you, get drowned out. Probably a good thing.

Nevertheless, the game is stacked against you–face it, you’re going to hear disproportionally from celebs. If celebrity X gets several million views for some vapid offering and lone-she-wolf gets single digit views (and the one from her mother hardly counts), is it reasonable to conclude that the celebrity’s contribution is a million times more thoughtful? Could be. If not, there’s room for improvement with this whole social media experiment. Sadly, the bullhorn of celebrity is loudest heard in a celebrity culture.

We seem to have the need to hand the podium to golf pros, to those famous at being famous, to porn stars known for hornswoggling real estate moguls, and don’t seem to notice that we get vomitus in return.

I hear the gentleman from the third row saying it’s sour grapes. The Kardashians are gifted at using social media and need props for that. Okay, I stand rebuked, though their good fortune at having such talents is indubitably my loss.

And here we have a couple sitting at the dinner table. There’s Frank, a vintner, fat-witted, occasionally violent, and then there’s Lucida, as readable as a good font. Cutting to the chase: Frank and Lucida had the common sense to instigate what they called the dinner rule: no mobile devices at the dinner table and no more takeout from Game King–there’s a fetid odor to llama meat that just doesn’t seem to want to let go.

Consequently, they dine in complete silence. And as soon as they leave the table, clean the dishes, wipe the counters, scrape spaghetti from the walls, they go off in separate directions. Only then, when no longer in each other’s company, do they rediscover the lost art of conversation, and text each other frantically till midnight: so long as they do not see each other, and so long as they can communicate electronically, all is well. Then, buoyed by hours of texting, they facebook (is this a verb yet?). Yikes, 143 likes. Goodnight all.

And there’s the typical comment section on UTube:

Your a retard. Eat my vomit. And if you have a moment, go f*ck yourself.

What’s happened to civility, to grammar, to the letter u?

Some are concerned about time management. If you’d spent all your waking hours on that Clementi piano sonata instead of on social media, you’d soon be performing at Carnegie Hall.

We have been entertained (by design) into a coma, and meanwhile we lose track of true friendship, fall into the hands of charlatans, stumble into the wading pool of disinformation, and mayhaps fatally slide into the penumbra of totalitarianism–all without notice or care.

A few weeks ago, I leaned that the developers of Facebook were B.F. Skinner fans and that their chef-d’oeuvre (evil mousetrap) was built upon variable schedules of reinforcement, which result in behavior resistant to extinction. All this to say that posting and waiting for ‘likes’ is addictive (that is, highly resistant to extinction).

When a rat (Burrhus Frederic loved rats) hits a lever and is only rewarded occasionally by a delicious pellet (delicious for rodents), said rat will compulsively keep hitting the lever. Most rats, being unlettered, haven’t heard of slot machines, but you have–you’ve seen the overturned pupils of a gambler stuffing coins into the maw of a heartless box. But, funny thing, when a rat has had too many food pellets, it vomits.

9 Comments

  1. Clementi and Carnegie are both C words – I would prefer them spelt **cklementi and **ckarnegie. However, I scramble to agree with your serious sentiments – which don’t demand my usual attempt at a supercilious response. I don’t belong to any of these social media things. It’s not through lack of trying – I’m simply so massively unpopular that nothing ever took off. I feel, like Mozart; I shall be buried in a pauper’s grave, unloved and forgotten. And to show how utterly out of touch I am, I don’t actually know what a Kardashian is (seriously!) Anyway – I spend some of my day playing Scarlatti’s 555 sonatas, and have recently changed over to playing Jacques Ibert’s “Petite Suite en Quinze Images” which I believe (in the style of Satie) means “Small Armchairs in the Shape of a Quince”. Thanks for this posting – I could go one. In fact, I believe I have…

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m not worried about you Bruce, as my ire is directed mostly at people who have not studied Clementi and whose daily vocabulary does not include gymnopédie.

      Still, I wonder if we are on the right track with all these twitchy modes of communication. Makes me sad in a way, but I’m in such a minority that it matters little. You can’t stop floodwater by just standing there like a lunatic, screaming at the top of your wretched lungs.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, yes, yes and a thousand times yes! This whole social media wave is simply producing too much dopamine and serotonin at all the most inappropriate, unconstructed and destructive times!
    Vomiting would be healthier.
    Unless your third cousin, twice removed, lives in Outer Mongolia and you cannot survive another moment without knowing what she/he had for breakfast….10 minutes ago….
    Great post 👍

    Liked by 2 people

    • Rob, it’s about time we heard from South Africa! How have you been?

      Things are getting nutty in North America. I thought I was the only one to notice it. By the way, I have Lucky Charms for breakfast. So good.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Things also getting nutty here-which the media lap up and regurgitate to all our detriment methinks!
        Glad you enjoyed your charmed breakfast – I feel somehow more complete with this titbit! Thanks!
        Otherwise, life moving a tad too fast for me to attend to all I would like to, hence my sporadic appearances!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I did not want to contribute to an addiction problem so I did not click like but I do like this post very much. I am not on any other SM (pun intended) sites besides WordPress. I tried but they make me feel ill so I left. I suppose it is possible to build a “community” virtually, but what if you’re bad at it in real life? It seems to me those advocating for building this so called community are usually trying to sell you something. Anyway. Blah, blah, blahdy blah. Like the post. Like your wit. Like the word hornswoggling, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re bad at it, Susanne, because writers are introverts (or closeted introverts) and have developed over the years the bad habit of thinking before talking.

      P.S. You may use hornswoggling without attribution.

      Like

  4. ‘Roseanne did it. Now she’s selling pencils.’ – HAHAHAHAHAHA

    I have a half writ tale that echoes Frank and Linda a fair bit. It will out when ready I’m guessing, I don’t have much say in these matters.

    ‘We have been entertained (by design) into a coma, and meanwhile we lose track of true friendship, fall into the hands of charlatans, stumble into the wading pool of disinformation, and mayhaps fatally slide into the penumbra of totalitarianism–all without notice or care.’ – Superb.

    Dopamine has much to answer for, but only after everything you have listed answer for it too.

    Excellent post sir.

    – Esme shaking Prospero’s hand and playing chopsticks on The Cloud piano with him till dawn

    Liked by 1 person

    • Will expound on the dopamine issue when next waiting for the number 8 bus into town (Prospero is a great supporter of the limbic system–and also of the bus system, upgraded to the newest standards in 1905).

      Liked by 1 person


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