Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tweet This!

By Deborah Sharp

If a tree falls in the forest, and there's no one to do a Facebook status update, does the tree really exist?

Let me blog about it, collect some comments, Google it to find out if anyone else is blogging about it, check some Yahoo groups to discover whether a fallen tree is coming up in any threads, and get back to you. I'll post my conclusion as a status update on my Facebook page.

Is it just me, or is this stream of e-chatter drowning out real life? I'm sure scads of Facebookians lead dramatic, interesting existences. I just don't happen to know them. And I'm definitely not one of them. I mean, here I am staring at computer screen with a picture of a virtual tree. Been a while since I've hiked in a forest among actual trees.

I confess: I've ''hidden'' my most boring FB friends (none of you guys, of course). Even so, I get quizzes, promotional links, and endless updates on the mundane details of daily life. People are shopping. They're eating. They're cleaning up after eating. I even got an update that said so-and-so was breathing.

Oh, wait. That last update was me. My bad.

I'm a professional writer. Even if I'm not fascinating, I can make it sound like I am. And it won't require me to get a real life. I'll just lie. Who's going to stop me? The Facebook police?

In reality, Deborah Sharp is crouched over the kitchen table in ratty gym shorts, obsessively checking her cyber-vitals: email, Facebook, Amazon ranking (Darn. Still not in the Top 10.)

But here's what my Facebook friends may read:

Deborah Sharp . . . is sharing a private joke at the White House with President and Mrs. Obama

. . . is riding a bull in the Women's Professional Rodeo

. . . is preparing to pilot the space shuttle Endeavour

So, if a more interesting Deborah Sharp exists on Facebook, does she truly exist?

What about you? What's your fantasy status update?


Paul Lamb said...

I remember a passage in the book Life with Father about a late Victorian family and the arrival in their home of a telephone. At first everyone was greatly offended by this horrible intrusion in their lives. But then its value and appeal became apparent, though it began with the younger members of the family.

I think the same sort of thing is true with our new communication media. For some it is integral to life; for others it is newfangled and suspicious. Today we dare not leave the house without the cell phone that we'd probably managed to live without for twenty or thirty years before.

And so it will be with ebooks. And with whatever the next innovation is.

Lisa Bork said...

I'll probably be the only author who doesn't Twitter, Facebook or MySpace. I have a cell phone I use maybe once a week. It's not always on and carried mainly for dialing 911 or AAA if necessary since pay phones are passe. But now that you suggest I could have this fabulous fantasy life online, hmmm....

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Too funny! I know what you mean about the status updates, etc. Although I think Twitter is starting to get a little more serious and less trivial (I get some great links to interesting articles there.)

Right now I'd love a status update that reads: "Elizabeth Spann Craig is celebrating the release of her bestseller's sequel on her yacht in the South of France."

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

I'm usually late to the party on things like this, but once there don a lampshade and have a great time.

I fought getting on Facebook and Twitter, and when I did, did so grudgingly. Now I love both, though sometimes quizzes and such are annoying. And like Elizabeth, I've learned some wonderful and timely things through the postings of friends and followers/followees. Even though I post a few times a day, I'm on and off quickly before I get sucked into a time wasting whirlpool.

Last fall my office gave me a Blackberry. I didn't particularly want one, but since it was free, took it. Now I don't leave the house without it and if I leave my job will have to get a Blackberry of my own because I'm so hooked on its convenience. My purse always contains both the Blackberry and my personal cell. A few years ago I had neither.

The main thing is, FB and Twitter are great promotional tools if used correctly. Selling books is viral and these tools help spread the germs.

Patti Blackhall said...

I agree with Sue Ann, I was late to start FB, a friend keep telling me to get on so I had my husband do it for me (cause I didn't know how to do it) since than, I have to say my computer use and knowledge has accelareted.
I can't stand all the games and clubs, etc. (waste of time) a friend pointed out that it is the only contact she has with the outside all day, most of the time (she has 2 little ones).
I check it in the morning and maybe at night. I must say, I have had alot of fun catching up with people from my past (school, jobs, church) that I had lost contact with. But I still don't like being in cyber space longer than 1/2 an hr. at a time.

Keith Raffel said...

So many of my Facebook friends are fellow writers. Here are three factors to consider:
1) Writing can be lonely.
2) Writers tend to procrastinate. 3) Writers like to express themselves.
No wonder we fill up Facebook with our meanderings!

Deborah Sharp said...

Thanks to all for thoughtful comments. Glad no one has blasted me (yet) for exaggerating ... ok, lying ... to appear more interesting.
Ah, Lisa ... I was a cyber-naif like you a couple of years ago. You'll become a convert soon, it's almost essential for an author.
PS to Elizabeth: Happy sailing!

Julia Buckley said...

I know exactly what you mean, Deb! I am a member of many of the newfangled sites, but I don't always find time to visit them, and I feel rather artificial using them. My son, however, is entirely at ease in this milieu. The young are the natives of online societies--we are the immigrants.

I do wonder about how growing up with these sort of artificial societies will affect real life, but perhaps as Paul said, it's just the newest technology and life won't all that different.

Alan Orloff said...

O DS, u r 2 rofl! U &^ :~)

no wt i mn, grl?


(Who's got time to write what, with learning all these dadburn new languages and newfangled dadgum technologies, huh? Now, where did my slide rule go?)

Deborah Sharp said...

Hey, Alan ... funny guy! all I got from that was ''know what I mean, girl ....'' and no, I don't ... As for your slide rule, I think you put it next to my Selectric typewriter, dadgummit!

K. Michel said...

People put the most trivial things on their Facebook statuses; things they wouldn't speak on in the off-line world... it's annoying.

Now, my status would read... "K. Michel is in the process of having his best-selling novel translated into 27 languages..."

G.M. Malliet said...

My status would read that I'm having lunch at the Elysée Palace with Carla Bruni and Nicolas Sarkozy (as so often happens).