Posts Tagged 'google'

Can I Walk Away From It?

I have 419 “friends” on Facebook. Four hundred nineteen. I am baffled as I typed that number. Last year, before “The Great Purge,” which is what I called what I did this same time last year when I deleted “hundreds of people” from my Friends list– most of whom were people I “friended” due to that godforsaken Facebook game called “Mafia Wars”– I had over 600. Six hundred!

Like many users of that popular social network, my “Friends” actually include family members, real-life friends, online “friends,” former/current work colleagues, former schoolmates, social acquaintances (i.e. people with whom I get drunk), friends of friends, friends of friends of friends. The list goes on. But, also akin to the conditions that afflict most users, I truly interact with maybe only a couple of dozen of them on a regular basis.

Such is life, you say? Of course. Then, why the hell should I have over four hundred of them saddling my account? It seems an unnecessary abundance– hundreds of people to whom I have nothing to say and vice versa. Hence, why keep them?

“You brought that on to yourself,” a good friend recently told me. Pointedly, I might add. He’s right, of course.

I thought about doing another “great purge,” and just systematically deleting people from my account, but then I thought that would seem heartless and insensitive. After all, most of these people sought me out, and I allowed the association. Simply deleting them would be the most blatant thing I could do. However, since 90% of them choose to not interact with me either, what would be the big deal? And, if they truly want to be my friend (sans quotation marks), they’ll seek me out again, right? Unless, of course, the act of deletion would make them blackball me from their “friends” lists. Am I making a quandary out of nothing?

I could make myself feel better by convincing myself that I would actually be doing those people a favor by purging them from my list, sparing them from having to see posts/updates from someone with whom they consciously choose to not interact regularly anyway. But, knowing myself, I would allow some version of guilt to overwhelm me, and I would wonder (for a long while) how many people’s feelings I may have hurt. It wouldn’t matter if those feelings weren’t hurt at all; I would still let it bother me.

Then, I thought a more brilliant idea would be create a new Facebook profile (which I already did) bearing a different, yet still somewhat related, user name. I would then strategically “friend” only the family members and friends with whom I truly want to interact frequently and genuinely. It would allow me to manage my “friends” list to a more reasonable number. Two digits, undoubtedly, and maybe even under 50. It would be very exclusive– borderline elitist– and I would summarily dismiss any “friend requests” from casual acquaintances. In other words, I would somewhat disappear from the masses.

The most radical thought I have is to just stop using Facebook altogether. After all, I’ll still have my Twitter account; not having a Facebook account would make it so that I’m checking one less thing for updates. And, if I truly needed an online venue to interact, I could explore Google+, which seems to be a promising platform for me to start over, so to speak.

In other words, I could simply delete my current account without any notice. No if’s, and’s, or but’s. It seems the most fair way to go about whittling my social (network) responsibility.

But, can I really do that? Can I truly walk away from that which I’ve built into a thriving element of my social life, however pathetic that may sound?

Dumb, Dumber, and, uh, Dumberer?

I think I’m developing a learning disability.

I’ve recently signed up for a program at work that would require me to memorize a boat load of facts, figures, and events, and I’m finding the task more daunting than I expected.

I’ve always had poor memory. Or, more accurately, my memory has gotten infinitely worse over the past two decades. I find it difficult to remember events that took place more than five years ago, and even those I do remember are blurry at best. I would sometimes bump into a friend or acquaintance and they would easily wax nostalgic about some funny event that we experienced back in 1997, for instance, and I would try my hardest not to allow my eyes to gloss over as they recounted the story with disturbing detail. They would eventually ask me that heart-stopping question: “Do you remember that?”

Recently, I had a chat with a former colleague and he informed me that I helped improve his management style because of advice I’d given him in 2001. I shamelessly asked him to refresh my memory, and he told me the circumstances surrounding what apparently was a work life-changing moment to which I was a primary cause. I sheepishly accepted his kudos after deciding that the advice I evidently gave him sounded like something I would say.

I blame technology for my poor memory.

I blame the cell phones that remember phone numbers for me; the DVRs that remember to record TV programs without my having to worry about them; the computer applications that give me those nifty pop-up reminders about appointments or someone’s anniversary or that routine colonoscopy.

I blame Google and Wikipedia for always having just the right answers for any question that I no longer have to know ‘off the top of my head’. I mean, why bother? After all, the answer is only a mouse click away.

We don’t have to remember anything anymore. We’ve gotten lazy, and, in the process, we’re getting dumber.

It isn’t as if we’re now able to use our brains more efficiently because we no longer employ as much of the hippocampus or the vast neural network that process and store memory. But, what if, because of these technological wonders that allow us to release our brains from such menial tasks as remembering someone’s birthday, our brains would then evolve to do things we’ve only ever dreamed of? Like, what it we evolve into a species where telekinesis or psychokinesis becomes the norm?

Unlikely.

We’ll probably develop a gadget someday that will allow us to do those things, too. In fact, it’s probably just around the corner.

I sometimes wonder what would happen if I am suddenly (albeit inexplicably) transported back to the 1400’s or even as recent as the 1800’s being as I am now—subconsciously and consciously dependent on technology. I would undoubtedly feel lost and helpless because everything would be so ‘manual.’ Or, I wonder if innate, instinctual processes will come flooding back if I’m suddenly forced to think about what I’m doing and how to do them. I’ll probably be frustrated at first but will end up adapting sooner or later.

Doubtful.

Better people will survive. I will be an absolute mess and would be sent to the corner with a dunce cap.

Wow, these thoughts are troublesome…

You Know You’ve “Arrived” When…

…people have started using you in verb form. For instance:

“Just Facebook me later.”

“Let me Google that real quick.”

“She Tasered him.”

I long for the day when “Have you JonSquared lately?” becomes a sound byte.