Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Sky is Falling- Tweet Everyone!

How much more can we take? Each day we are all bombarded with media letting us know about our impending doom. We must be afraid of everything. Whether it be rogue dictators, new diseases, comets, climate change, or a deranged killer, it seems that we have good cause to be alarmed. Hopefully sociologists in 50 years will be able to look back and decide how this has affected our psyche.

Pre-industrial societies dealt with their own set of fears. Plague, disease, and war all clouded their horizon, only they did not have to hear about it on 24-hour cable news networks, on the internet or through email forwards. However, the pre-industrial man would see these impending disasters as the hand of Providence, and mostly outside of his control. What could a colonial settler do against a hurricane coming up the Atlantic coast? How could a medieval peasant ward off the Black Death? I am sure they did not accept their fate passively, but there was an understanding of their finitude in relation to the rest of the universe. Death was out there, a threatening menace and an enemy to be avoided, but not with the hysterical, Chicken Little mentality common today.

Perhaps our fascination with social networking comes from a desire to revolt against these constant reminders of our own mortality. When we let everyone in our online reality know where we are, what we are doing, seeing, tasting, experiencing, etc.... then we are declaring "I am alive"- just look at this proof. When we do this in the context of a massive electronic pseudo-community, then we are able to be part of something larger than ourselves and declare that we matter. We do not have the tight-knit local community that was common in pre-industrial societies. A town, village, or hamlet could band together to fight off invaders, rebuild after a major storm, or take care of the sick together. How can we deal this impending doom today? Maybe these status updates, tweets, and even blog posts are no more than screams out into the digital void to prove we are alive, and we are all in this together.


jpgahagan said...

Well said Chris. I'd say that social networking has been successful in exposing our innate desire for community and relationship. The only problem is that it exists alongside of a society that doesn't understand the notion of "work" when it comes to relationships. The facebook post has replaced the phonecall and rarely do you see people inconveniencing themselves on behalf of another. Friendship isn't about just being there when it's convenient (i.e. facebook, myspace, twitter, splitter, splatter, splooter, splot, etc etc); it's about being there when it's not convenient at all. I think it was C.S Lewis that said he never understood how people could have more than 3-4 friends because of the amount of work it took to have just one.

Your a good writer you should keep doing it.

Also, watch this video:

Christopher said...

Thanks Joe- I appreciate the feedback. Great video by the way.