I picked up this card at a cafe in Soho one evening in the mid 1990s. It was an invitation to a show called “Get a Life!” I have kept it above my desk or nearby ever since. Every time I clicked onto Facebook and found out what so many acquaintances were thinking or doing I would lean back in my chair and my eyes would rest on this postcard. There were some people I enjoyed hearing from, there were so many more that I hardly knew. Were they actually my “Friends?” I could not honestly say yes to this question. Some were, some were the best friends of my life. I realized that Facebook was actually a barrier between us. It occurred to me that I would rather write a newsy letter about every six weeks. Then I thought how about those people who are really interesting? How would I keep up with them? I had been neglecting Feedly and wasting time on Facebook I concluded. Those whom I was interested in following all had websites or blogs. I made the decision that if they had something really interesting or newsy to report it would find its way to their site. So, please to all my friends, make a blog or web site and send me your url. I really want to keep up. Check your real email and you might find a note from me some time. Also, check your real mail, when I can afford stamps I might write you a letter. Written in real ink, I got a real fountain pen for Christmas.
I now have time to relax and think about what I read, time to actually be involved with people, and time to try to write something at least a little bit meaningful. I realized that a lot of FB communication is like what transpired between Native Americans and the settlers of the west. That did not work out very well in the long run for at least one of the parties involved. I also realized that if I felt the need to include a good ole Fuck or Fucking in my post to get attention, then it was overwhelmingly unlikely that I really had anything meaningful to contribute. I am not at all put off by words; I was an English major as an undergraduate, and spent much time on the History of Language and on grammar. I suspect learned more about these words than anyone actually needs. One of my writing heroes, Harry Crews, rarely used these type words in his novels, and he was a great teller of stories. Words were my friends, I just realize that like everything else in life all words have their time and place.
I am happy for Mark Zuckerberg and his colleagues, what they have created is an act of genius. Still, when I read Facebook I am made keenly aware of the quote by Albert Einstein, “The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has limits.”