9 Mar 2012

A bit off topic

You all know about it, you've read it a million times in the last couple of years, I'm won't say anything new here. Although I doubt very, very much that social networks are the threat to governments and the status quo that the media would like us to believe, the reality is that, as long as you have an internet connection, modern technology allow us to share ideas, opinions, curious things and bollocks, lots of bollocks, with the whole world and instantly. If we are on holidays we can make a photo of something that's caught our attention, upload it to our Facebook, Twitter or whatever account so all our friends/followers/whatevers can see it and react to it. Same if we are at a party, concert, on our way back from work or having pint at a pub or a beer festival. Click! Tipititap! “Upload/Share”, that's all you need.

As everything else that exists, has existed and will exist this paradigm isn't good or bad, it simply is. I won't slam it, one the one hand, because it would be like complaining that it's cold in winter or hot in summer (or about the new layout of the FB interface) and on the other, because I'd be an hypocrite.

My Facebook page has allowed me to connect with readers and share with them stuff I find beerily interesting in a way that is faster and more comfortable than the blog, with more or less the same result. At the same time, I do have a Twitter account, for nothing, really. I haven't found any use to it and I don't see much sense to the platform to begin with, it might be because my internet experience is fixed, from my desktop PC and not mobile. (so, don't bother following me because I'll lead you nowhere)

There have been times when, while being at a pub or walking down the street, I would have liked to do some Click! Tipititap! “Upload” to share something beerily interesting, curious or out of the ordinary, or simply to tell everyone what a good time I'm having. It's a feeling that last a fleeting instant, then I realize that perhaps is better that way, that I can live that moment to its fullest, selfishly, without worrying or even thinking about what others might say about it, unless they are with me there and then, which would make them part of that moment that for some reason I find interesting, curious or out of the ordinary. To share it with the rest of the world, there will always be time, later, nobody will care whether I do it at that very instant or several hours or days later.

Could it be that I'm missing something? I see on Facebook mobile uploads and status updates of people who say what a great time they are having or how delicious it is what they are drinking or eating here or there right when they are having such a good time and drinking or eating such good stuff, always followed, also almost immediately, by the reactions of “friends”. I guess that, due to the platform's nature, things are even more intense in Twitter. It's clear that they like this, that it's for them fun, that it gives them some sort of pleasure. But I wonder if it is not them who are missing something. Or could it be that the enjoy the act of sharing the moment more than the moment itself?

After having seriously considered the purchase of a smartphone that would allow me to be connected while I'm not sitting here, I came to the conclusion that the usefulness this machinery and service might might have every now and then wasn't enough to justify the extra expense on hardware and fees. Of course, I could also use it for things that are less practical or urgent, but since I work mostly at home, I already spend quite a long time with my face stuck to a computer. Besides, I have also decided that I want to keep on enjoying those beery (and other-y) moments to their fullest and when they are over to have time to meditate whether they are worth to share with people who couldn't or didn't want to be there and then. I know that having a smartphone with WiFi wouldn't require that I change that habit, but I know myself and I know that it'd be really hard to resist the temptation.

Na Zdraví!

PS: This isn't a criticism to anyone, nor it intends to be. Each is free to do with their free time whatever they want however they want to do it. Now, if you are in the company of someone, be polite and turn that effing mobile phone off. The person who is with you is there and then more important than anyone who might be calling or texting you and than all of your Facebook friends and Twitter followers put together.

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4 comments:

  1. Someone said once, "Facebook is for people you knew in highschool, Twitter is for people you wish you knew in highschool".

    I don't think it's true for everyone, but I find myself using Facebook to add people I once worked/went to school/otherwise met, but don't have much interaction with. On the other hand, on Twitter I am able to connect with people that I never met in person, but share a common interest (I'm a computer programmer, so I "follow" fellow programmers; I am also a whisky aficionado, so I follow distilleries and other whisky writers). All this without adding someone as "friend" or "acquaintance". On Twitter there is no distinction - people are followed and get followed, without requests or permissions. You subscribe to someone's public updates.

    In your case I think it's different, because you're using Facebook as a platform to communicate with your readers, which I think is great, and having a Twitter account would not necessarily give you any added value.

    -Igal

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  2. Some good points, Max, but as you say, each to their own. I've also considered getting a decent smartphone, but more to capture decent photos or locations, or notes for myself. But the temptation is there to blurt out anything (which I sometimes do from my (work) BlackBerry via Twitter).

    I find I'm not as arsed taking beer notes when enjoying company, unless it's also a bunch of beer geeks. Don't know whether that's shame or politeness! :D ;)

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  3. An excellent post sir! I have the same feelings, even getting to the point where I don't want to have my camera and notebook with me when I go to the pub. I used to take pictures on my old mobile phone, but that was because it took decent pics, whereas my current mobile is kind of shitty on that front.

    My drinking has more and more divided into two forms, at home for notes and pictures, in the pub for company. Admittedly I drink more in the pub than at home.

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  4. Unless I need to do it for work, I stopped taking notes at a pub sometime ago, same at home, though I still like taking pics of some beers when I'm here. I do still take mental notes, which I might post later on the FB page.

    Hardly ever take my camera with me anymore, though....

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