The latest “Big Thing” to hit the Wonderful World of the InterWebs is the idea we now call “social media.” MySpace was the pioneer social networking hub; its unfriendly interface, however, was unappealing to many users. (This is one columnist’s way of saying that he, personally, never liked MySpace.)
Then came Twitter. One can post anything he or she wants to, so long as the message, or “tweet” in Twitterese, doesn’t exceed 140 characters. Of course, tweets can only be read by “followers” of the tweet poster, so the idea is to establish a Twitter account, and then solicit as many followers as possible. Politicians love Twitter. In fact, it’s a great way to tell if your Representative or Senator is actually casting votes on bills, or simply tweeting photos of his private parts.
The most popular of all the social networking sites is Facebook. For those three of you out there unfamiliar with Facebook, it’s like Twitter without character limits. And very stupid time-wasting games. Unlike any other networking site, however, Facebook allows its users to poke and be poked. I’m not real sure what poking someone online actually accomplishes, but dammit, we Americans should be able to poke people over the Web any time we like!
After you establish your Facebook account, you can publish as much or as little information about yourself as you wish. It seems that most people today, in these times of identity theft and online privacy concerns, publish just about everything about themselves with the possible exception of their Social Security number! Date of birth… hometown… current city… education and job experience… interests… and whether you’re “in a relationship,” “single,” “married,” or “it’s complicated” are all pieces of information you can choose to share with your Facebook “friends,” or anyone else who searches you out. In fact, Facebook is the number one method for all those people you went to high school with and never wanted to hear from again to find you and “friend” you. The good news is that you can “unfriend” someone on Facebook as well.
Photos and videos are a key component of Facebook. There seems to be no limit on how many photos, organized into “albums,” you can post for friends to see. Post photos of yourself, your weekend, your getaway, your car, what you had for lunch, your trip to Wal-Mart, your boring job, your new chair – heck, you can even post a photo of your Social Security card! And then there’s the Facebook “meme” – a photo or image accompanied by a clever saying that you share virally on your timeline as well.
For those people with too much spare time (and they seem to number in the millions), there are games like Bejeweled Blitz, Candy Crush Saga, and my all-time favorite, FarmVille. The apparent object of FarmVille was to “work” on a virtual farm by planting virtual plants and caring for virtual animals. As many remember, FarmVille generated gazillions of updates of lost farm animals that were sad and needed a new home and won’t you please adopt them? There were lost brown cows, lost black cows, lost ugly ducklings, lost black sheep, and more, all looking to find a new home. I wonder if there ever was a FarmVille farm that turned lost cows into virtual hamburgers…
I can only imagine what might happen if all the “work” being done in virtual FarmVille farms were actually being performed on real farms. We would likely solve the world’s hunger problems with all the crops being grown… at the expense of having sad lonely lost brown cows roaming our neighborhoods looking for adoptive homes and avoiding being crushed by falling candy.
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I am very sorry to report the passing of P. Morgan Hill. Morgan was a good friend with a heart of gold who helped so many people here in the Keys for a lot of years, and was dedicated to making her community a better place. We offer our condolences to her friends and extended family. Rest In Peace, my old friend.