Anti-Social Networking

Facebook Symbol Sean Liddle
is going to go outside and throw rocks at the woodpecker pecking
away on his old TV aerial tower… 
That’s how I was going to start my
day.  First up, I slept through the ever increasing in volume
“sleep tracker” app on my phone.  I slithered out of bed after
pressing the big red DISMISS button, walked to my NOW BLARING old
school clock radio, strategically set at the far end of the bedroom
to prevent oversleeping, and turned off the tedious
blathering.  Grabbing the phone I headed downstairs, an hour
before my wife and kids get up, for the usual: ten minutes of
wakeup Facebook and email perusal, a BIG cuppa and putting out the
cat and garbage, hopefully in their applicable locations.
I didn’t do the usual.
Sean Liddle puts on new shirt from Tommy
Hilfiger and immediately thinks he looks like George Costanza and
not in the good way #thereisnogoodway 
I logged in and promptly didn’t update my
status with a smarmy witticism about Monday mornings, age, the
death of yet another weekend or some funny bit of black humour that
arrived in my email from any one of the half dozen sources of quick
news bites on celebrity or world news.
Sean Liddle sees that the lead singer of the Divinyls
has died. #touched 
 I made my tea, strong and sweet and in my late fathers ironic
Bill mug . It is ironic because the name he went by was Art. 
Bill was the name he went by until 1963. His real first name was
William.  Something about fathering a child in Germany. I
started making lunches and pondered how much time I have been
wasting on social networking since 2007. “A Lot” is the answer. A
hell of a lot.
Sean Liddle
is taking a FaceBookation for a week until the Symbiot army
finalizes its takeover.
I was sitting at my desk back in ’07 when a friend from
another department burst into our wing, rambling on about
Facebook.  “Have you seen it yet? Its awesome.  I’m
finding all my old friends from school!”
am unsure what part of my brain misfired but I immediately set
about creating a profile and over the space of a few weeks, my
quite popular and all too often updated political humour blog
stopped being the focus of my attention and I was sucked into the
world of “FB”.  It became an art form (until they changed it)
to find a witty way to end “Sean Liddle Is…” with something that
made sense to my ever increasing number of “friends”.  I
completely ignored the fact that I was a bit of an introvert, a
hermit, one who avoided old friends due to a variety of reasons
both silly and real. I friended people left and right, people I
knew, some I barely knew, some I barely remembered.  It became
a competition, I strove for 100, 200, 300 friends.  Then the
social crash hit me like a ton of Minecraft bricks.  I don’t
really “like” people.
Liddle thinks that Peanut Butter And Honey On Toast deserves
capitalization at all times as it is the greatest foodstuff ever
invented (by me, in 1974 #itsafact ) 
I culled the herd.  I brought it to a
more reasonable level in the mid 200s.  I just couldn’t keep
up. I sorted them, organized them and stopped responding to
everything even remotely interesting. I started taking vacations
here and there for a week when I realized I was going overboard in
my postings.  I stopped even looking at it for days on end
when I was writing my novel because I found I was turning into one
of the characters in my book  (a fictional version of Paris
Hilton) and started trashing folks left and right.
Sean Liddle wonders why people wear those
stretchy clingy running pants when at the gym on the treadmill.

So I
walked away, again and was pulled back by “friends” who wondered if
I was okay.
Sean Liddle
thinks “Kiss Off” by the Violent Femmes is a damn fine and oft
overlooked song #siriusfirstwaverocks 
So it went and so it goes.  I run
away. I take breaks. I focus on my website. I focus on writing the
two books I am working on. I unfriend the irritating. I get
re-friended by the irritating because I worry I may run into them
late at night or they may be suicidal and don’t want to be the
catalyst for their demise. Generally, the crack, the social meth,
the cocaine that is Facebook is fuelling a huge wastage of time
that I could be spending on other things, things more
profitable.  Things more, (insert Shatner Pause) productive.
Sean Liddle is pleased that
when he stopped to get a coffee, his fit athletic son had zero
interest in any doughnuts, cookies or pastries
I am
also noting (though don’t tell anyone) that approximately ninety
percent of my real world friends are infinitely less interesting
than my electronic, digital, non Real World, in-person friends.
Yes, I have “friends” that I have never met.  Friends that are
of the entertainment/celebrity sort, some from the realms of
science I am interested in, some from various atheist groups I
follow, that I have never met.  Frankly, I have more in common
and more interesting discussions with them than that guy I played
hockey cards with in grade five.  Doesn’t mean that the
GIPHCWING5 isn’t nice, funny, decent, it just reinforces something
I have been saying for years to my wife: There is a reason you
don’t stay in contact with some people.  It is that they have
a place in your past but don’t fit in your future.
Sean Liddle warns you to not watch
Gilligan’s Island ever again in your life.  I did. It isn’t
funny.  Let it remain a memory
Ever notice when someone says “don’t get me wrong, but”
they are about to say something offensive?  Don’t get me wrong
but I wish Facebook had never been introduced to me.  Apart
from meeting about a dozen non-real-world friends, two of whom I
have met in meat space, and maybe another dozen friends I actually
did know years ago and lost touch with, it has been a never ending
drain on my productivity.  My son wants me to build a remote
control vehicle powered by a sail and a fan on a moveable
pivot.  My video gaming has taken quite a hit and there are
games that I wanted to play that I never purchased and have since
vanished from shelves.  There are TV shows I am only now
marathoning through because every night that I have free time I end
up babbling on with my friend Nick for the world to see about
something inane.
Sean Liddle
has seen three people today driving Mercedes that look like cavemen
guess what is really in question, as I don’t seem to be the only
person fixated by FB the way I am, is why?  Why have we become
literally a planet of millions of people spending their free time
updating their friends on their current status.  I am at work.
I am at the gym.  I have just run 10km at a speed of
X.X/Y.  I ate sushi for lunch. Why do I think, why does the
world think that my friends need to know this?  Has society
become so close knit that we need to know everyone else’s
activities on an hour by hour basis? Has society become so
fractured that they only way we can maintain a tribe/community feel
to our lives that we have to pretend we are talking with like
minded, like origin, like acting compadres rather than dealing with
the vast array of difference around us? Why do we feel the desire
to weigh in on other people’s status updates? Is it because we all
consider to be life a stage and we are all vying for some sort of
comedy award? Why is it so hard to run away from it all and just go
back to dealing with the day to day without sharing our trials
tribulations and our kids ribbons they received for showing up at
school each day without punching someone?
Sean Liddle thinks that “fauxhawks” are the hula
hoops of the 2000’s.  The idiotic bejazzled pink hula hoops
that you wear on your head. #banthefauxhawk 
So here I sit, sipping a beer, a very nice
English ale far superior to anything you have in your fridge,
debating a dozen witty status updates, resolved to not type a
single one into my phone app.  I’ve taken breaks in the past
for a week or two but always devolve into reading notifications and
sending messages, taking only a break from the status
updating.  I’ve been away while on vacation but the first
moment in wifi range I am back on, telling people I am on my way
home, telling them the vacation was awesome and so much better than
theirs. I’ve stepped back from the false sense of community and
done things, read more books, written more things, watched more
episodes of Mythbusters, caught up on the pile of magazines beside
my 1950’s era comfy chair, one glass of scotch and a pair of
slippers away from a cliché.  I’ve done this, and felt the
need to let people know I have done this.
Perhaps that is it. Sean Liddle Notes the the use of
hastags in status updates is useless as Fb doesnt recognize them
Perhaps it is
vanity and in some cases a cry for input.
The world is big, bigger than ever.  When it was the mid
nineteen eighties you could write a book and it was a BIG THING
even if it sold five hundred copies.  Now, everyone and their
dog, yours truly included, can whip up a book and self publish
it.  A decent song could sell a whole album, now, people buy
the song in seconds and may never listen to you again.  Now,
we are ants, cogs, Borg in the collective, yet we all ascribe to
the belief that everyone has the ability to become a star. 
Reality shows and talent shows and handing out awards to every kid
that takes part in a sport doesn’t help this because in our real
lives we know it to be hogwash.
Sean Liddle dropped his son off at school today and
saw the most perfect little bunch of blue and white flowers in a
tiny rock garden beside the parking lot.  He got out and
photographed it and showed his son and other kids came over and he
showed them too.  He felt like it was the most perfect thing
he has ever seen growing in nature and that there will never ever
be a more pristine display of colour and life and he desperately
wants to cling to that image and if he were to die tomorrow he
would be content that he did not see more flowers as he has seen
all that matters.  He chose to not share it with the
It is time we
all stepped back from the “social network”.  I don’t mean
delete accounts, I don’t mean take a year long vacation and invent
the time machine.  I just advocate we stop and think about why
we are doing what we do on Facebook, Myspace (sorry, I try not to
laugh even typing that), Twitter etcetera.  Why are you, we,
all of us, letting everyone we know in on little intricacies of our
lives. Why are we rambling on about Breaking Bad when the show is
on hiatus till June and there are other shows on.  Why are we
dumping crappy haikus about winter on the screens of 200 or so
“friends” when we could be writing fifty more and putting them
somewhere the world could see.  Why wax poetic about politics
to those that haven’t relegated you to their “acquaintance” friends
listing so you don’t fill up their inbox when you could go join a
party and actually make a chance. Go do something real.  Go do
something you like.  Go do something worth telling people
about, then log on next weekend and update your status about it
instead of spouting on that…

Name Here) would (insert goal) if he (insert reason he isn’t
working toward the goal at present) but he (insert joke about why
its not really his fault and maybe something from George Takei or
Grumpy Cat)


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