“These moments can be important. They can connect us to others; they briefly inform us as to the state of the world; they often hint at an important idea without actually explaining it by teasing us with the impression of knowledge. But they are often interesting, empty intellectual calories. They are sweet, addictive, and easy to find in our exploding digital world, and their omnipresence in my life and the lives of those around me has me starting this year asking, “Why am I spending so much time consuming other people’s moments?””
“Collectively, the people I follow on Twitter — book nerds, science nerds, journalists, the uncategorizably interesting — come pretty close to my dream community. They also function as by far the best news source I’ve ever used: more panoptic, more in-depth, more likely to teach me something, much more timely, cumulatively more self-correcting and sophisticated. Additionally, they’re immensely generous with their time and knowledge; in contradistinction to most Internet agoras, the Twitter I know is helpful, polite, and friendly. It’s also a meritocracy; say enough interesting things, and other people will begin to engage with you. Surprisingly often, that engagement crosses the digital barrier into real life — and, without exception, the people I’ve befriended on Twitter have turned out to be terrific.”
—Kathryn Schulz, How Twitter Hijacked my Mind
So much I love about that.
“We complain about how lonely technology makes us and how awful social media can be. But this is often a loneliness of our own making. We fuel our own jealousies, don’t know how to limit our own obsessions, binge and purge. We make a thousand “friends,” though we scoff nervously at the notion of a real connection. There is nothing so worthy of an eye roll as someone using technology to be sincere, and yet on any given Saturday night there we are, a nation of us, checking in and tweeting our hearts out in hopes that someone will know where we are, and respond. It’s not technology that’s making us lonely. Most often, we just are lonely. What we do with technology is up to us.”
—Leah Reich, Disconnect
A beautiful piece on social media and technology and life and sickness and emotion and connections. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.
“Instead of thinking about virality, I think the focus should be on what makes something worth sharing to begin with. I think emotion plays a big role. What do people really love, what gets people to feel something, what sorts of experiences can you give people that they would want to give to someone else—could be a laugh, or a moment of feeling connected to something, a moment of a guilty pleasure, a moment of finding out something about yourself and wanting to see if it is true for someone you care about. Thinking about it on a more personal level keeps the process of making content grounded in something real and approachable, and I think that results in better media overall.”
“Social media has no understanding of anything aside from the connections between individuals and the ceaseless flow of time: No beginnings, and no endings.”
“It’s taking me a while, but I feel like I am getting closer figuring out how to let the parade march by and go happily along my way.”
—Andre Torrez, We Met On The Internet
I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I credit a lot of wonderful things that have happened to me to connections made through these sites but on the other hand, I have a growing frustration with this feeling that we need to not only have opinions on everything but share those opinions with everyone. I’m learning it’s okay to not have an opinion; that sometimes you don’t need to share your thoughts on everything. By ignoring the noise that’s pulsing online every single day, we can focus on that which is most important.
“My favorite thing about Facebook is seeing how people choose to present themselves. It’s especially interesting when my friends change profile pictures: I like imagining them looking through their pictures and finding the right one that they feel perfectly sums up how they want to be seen and then cropping it. The narrative and process behind the selection of a profile picture is really endearing.”
“Twitter — I have no idea what Twitter is. But Facebook I know, because I saw the movie and I liked the movie. So I know what Facebook is. And I have a website, which I have never seen in my life and have no idea how it works or what the point of it is, but people have done it for me.”
—Woody Allen, from this interview with MSNBC. Love it!
And as a sidenote: go see his latest film Midnight in Paris. It’s fantastic—quintessential Woody Allen.