A fo­gey in an e-world

The Maui News - - OPINION -

So­cial me­dia don’t set our heart atwit­ter. We were born in a so­ci­ety where old say­ings like “good fences make good neigh­bors” also im­plied that the only way to as­sure an on­go­ing friend­ship was to never re­veal the real you.

To­day’s gen­er­a­tion doesn’t be­lieve in fences and in­ti­mate se­crets are posted through­out a cy­ber­world. And they are posted in­stan­ta­neously — per­haps even be­fore you had time to con­sider whether or not that shot of grandma BB-gun­ning stray cats in the back­yard is go­ing to be well re­ceived by the Hu­mane So­ci­ety.

Steve Wos­niak (co-founder of Ap­ple) has ex­pressed the fear that so­cial me­dia and as­so­ci­ated gad­gets are ad­dic­tive. Well, duh.

Movies reg­u­larly be­gin now with in­struc­tions to “Shut off all cell­phones.” Five min­utes into the movie a phone will ring.

Putting the thing on vi­brate doesn’t count as shut­ting it off, ei­ther. Even as deaf as we are, we can hear a vi­brat­ing cell at 30 paces in a theater. And that vi­brat­ing noise is ev­ery bit as ir­ri­tat­ing and in­tru­sive as the lat­est Barry Manilow ring tone.

It is alarm­ing to some of us that a good seg­ment of our pop­u­la­tion can­not stand to be out of touch. Their minute-by-minute lives are tweeted, in­stant-mes­saged or Face­booked. At first we thought these peo­ple must have colos­sal egos to think oth­ers re­ally cared about such mun­dane tid­bits.

But most of the peo­ple we know who use so­cial me­dia have dozens of fol­low­ers. The so­cial me­dia buffs are not only send­ing out their own trivia, they are read­ing other peo­ple’s.

It sim­ply makes us long for the days when a beam­ing mother would ask, “Would you like to see a pic­ture of Ju­nior?” and we would po­litely an­swer, “No, thank you, all ba­bies look like Nikita Khrushchev.”

Now, Ju­nior’s pic­ture is all over cy­berspace. And we’re talk­ing about 460,000,000 Ju­niors.

It makes us shud­der.

Edi­to­ri­als re­flect the opin­ion of the pub­lisher.

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