Many millions of words and countless thousands of articles have been written about social media (you know, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, et al), some of them rooted in fact, so there’s no way I will be able to convey anything meaningful in a blog of this length. However, I am constitutionally entitled to make a few remarks, which I will now proceed to do.
Point one: This form of social interaction is not for everyone. Point two: Most people use it to convey the most inane and irrelevant thoughts and opinions. Point three: In defiance of logic and common sense, they have an audience. Point four: Hey, these people may be on to something here. More on this later.
Apparently some people spend more time with Facebook than with their partners. This is unhealthy. We’ve also been told about mature, otherwise intelligent people who send tweets (as in Twitter) about thoughts and activities so mundane as to be downright offensive (do we really need to know about the functioning of their digestive system, or share in their breathless anticipation of macaroni cheese for supper?).
This is bad enough, but how about the younger generation? Their digital communications are characterised by a reckless disregard for spelling, punctuation, syntax, grammar and everything else we hold dear. Hell, you’d be lucky if you could decipher a word. Teenager initiates conversation: “Wazzup bru?” Other teenager responds: “Hey wazzup.” Does it get any better? Not much.
So I despise Facebook and Twitter, then? Not at all. Some of the nicest people I know use these tools to great effect, making contact with old friends, arranging social gatherings, maintaining business links, exploring their past, sharing their experiences and generally celebrating this wonder of 21st century communication. Sometimes they post news items of such intimate content that it makes their correspondents cringe, but mostly they’re sensible about it.
Popular Mechanics has a Facebook page, naturally, and a couple of our journalists send regular tweets to their followers, none of whom are chainsaw-wielding serial killers. Our company has embraced social media with gusto, exploiting its myriad platforms and opportunities with a fervour that’s almost palpable. So why haven’t I taken the leap of faith and invited someone, anyone, to be my friend? Er probably because we haven’t been introduced yet.
* To visit PM’s Facebook page, click here. Oh, and if you’d prefer the blog response option, please tell us how you feel about social media right here.
* Follow Anthony Doman, PM SA’s deputy editor/esteemed sci-tech writer, on Twitter: http://twitter.com/PopMechDoman
* Follow Kate Downs, PM SA’s online manager, on Twitter: