Saturday, April 27, 2013

Good Will (Rogers) Hunting

Yesterday I celebrated a birthday-a new kind of birthday complete with my browser hovering over the Google Chrome logo and perhaps because I'm on Google plus (Michelle, our very smart daughter's, theory) there was a caption wishing "Happy Birthday William!" (I may have added the exclamation point; Google is very much a declamatory operating system).

More interesting and amazing, as a man who can count his friends on fewer than five fingers of one hand (and you've guessed which finger I am), I received the most cheerful of greetings and salutations in Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Farsi (I believe), German and English as well as Jersey (ha-ha! THUNK! Sound of me laughing my head off).

I call all Social Media Facebook, FB, and I've mentioned the dichotomy of flesh and blood friends (F&BF) and Facebook Friends (FBF). With my mad math skills I calculated of the birthday greetings I received, 99.79% were from people I have never met, not shall I ever (in all likelihood). We aren't familiar strangers-neither they nor I would know one another if we tripped over ourselves.

Are the contrivances and edifices of Social Media a form of cloaking of those of us who are members of the lonely crowd or are we creating variations of Erich Fromm's egoism a deux? Are we now more, or less, alone than we were a decade, a generation, a lifetime ago and for what end and to what purpose have we allowed these invisible airwaves to weave a tableaux, a Story of Us, we can tell to ourselves to keep the dark of night at bay?
-bill kenny

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