SAY ANYTHING: The lowest form of communication

Joey Bagnasco

 About a year ago, I committed virtual suicide. 

Today, in view of the astonished visage of my inquirer, I was obliged to explain yet again why I do not have an account on Facebook. 

Somehow this shocks people. 

Midway through articulating the reasons for my lack of participation I decided to write this article. It is essentially a compilation of my thoughts concerning Internet communication and the Web sites which enable it. 

I had a Facebook account for my first semester in college and found it to be not only an incredible waste of time, but also a superficial measure of friendship, an annoying advertising platform, a key contributor toward the torture and death of the English language and an outlet for all things meaningless. 

My ire is raised, however, primarily by the Web site’s tendency to promote “microblogging” through status updates. Microblogging is essentially the lowest form of communication that humans are capable of performing. 

It is an Internet trend which involves the continuous sharing of information, usually about one’s personal life, with just about everyone. 

This phenomenon is also at work on the Web site Twitter. Besides being the chirpings of a bird, “twitter” literally means “to talk quickly and nervously in a high voice, saying very little of importance or interest,” according to Cambridge Dictionary. 

An increasing number of Internet users have been “tweeting” or updating their Facebook statuses not just to report a significant event, but to announce every minute occurrence in their life, or lack thereof. 

This propensity to write a type of online journal of one’s day-to-day activities, in conjunction with platforms which connect hundreds or even thousands of people, amounts to a dizzying amount of crap to read for the modern, well-connected nerd. 

As absolutely everyone under the age of 40 knows, the snippets found on these Web sites are liable to include anything from political views to attempts at philosophizing. 

However, the vast majority of tweets consist of mind-waste penned out of boredom or a desperate longing to feel important or be heard. 

It takes quite a narcissistic bore to imagine that his or her choice of breakfast cereal is at all relevant to the world. This need for constant self-affirmation through mass semi-socializing appears to take on addictive qualities as some people tweet several times each day. 

These microbloggers reflect on their situation or send word of their current emotional state out into the unfeeling chasm of emptiness we call the Internet. 

I think that this microblogging issue is really a reaction to modern social isolation along with a need to feel connected with friends. 

The irony of the situation is that in an attempt to connect with others, people have turned to the most impersonal means. A text or instant message, however irrelevant or stodgy, at least addresses an individual. A public tweet can technically reach an unlimited audience and is thus the antithesis of personal. 

Beyond microblogging, people can become obsessed with scrutinizing their online reputations on social media Web sites. 

With the vast amount of comments, pictures and even videos uploaded to Facebook, many feel not only disconnected without it, but obligated to monitor the ways in which they are represented. In reality, even the most active Facebook users have very limited control over their reputation, virtual or otherwise. 

If you have the patience and discipline to employ Facebook only as a tool to keep in touch with your actual friends or to sift through all the refuse on Twitter to find interesting comments, the sites can undoubtedly be useful Web sites. 

However, I feel that for me it is not worth it. 

I would rather read the published word, which is at least edited and checked for content.     

I have never tweeted and don’t plan on it. I left Facebook about a year ago because I was through reading banal statuses, many of which absolutely butchered all standards of acceptable English. 

I was becoming sick of people even when they were not around me. 

If you want to spend your time creating and maintaining a virtual version of yourself and keeping tabs on the virtual representations of your “friends” and their every sentiment, go ahead. 

I’m done with that noise and have been for some time. 

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       Joey Bagnasco is a sophomore English major from Waco, Texas. He can be reached at [email protected]