Saturday, January 16, 2010


A few months ago I experienced a very unusual surge.

This mysterious force convinced a man who prefers black-and-white movies over computer-generated aliens, Have Gun Will Travel over the Simpsons and the literature of James Fenimore Cooper over Steven King suddenly decided to look into this social networking phenomenon that's sweeping us up.

Yes, the guy who has watched Casablanca 30 times and wouldn't go see Avatar if he had an engraved invitation, a free bucket of popcorn and a limousine ride to the theater decided to peer into the present.

Sorry, I didn't like what I saw.

I was tweeting for awhile, and I must say that speaking my mind in the framework of 144 characters is hardly my style. On top of that, my Twitter account was hacked and threatened to bring down my computer, which as you would gather I use quite conservatively. So to my young colleagues, I say, tweet to your heart's content but you'll no longer find me among the songbirds.

Then there's Facebook.

The moon must have been aligned with Jupiter or something the day I signed up for Facebook. At first, I enjoyed it. I wrote some notes about what I was up to and chatted with friends and colleagues. Then I came to my senses.

Why the heck do I want everybody to know what I'm doing all the time? It's not that I'm ashamed of it. What can possibly be decadent about covering high school basketball or disruptive about taking long rides through the countryside listening to the Grateful Dead? And I'm not even lighting up.

I don't cheat on my wife nor do I have the slightest urge to do so. Thus, I'm not particularly interested in rekindling old flames. Any old friends with whom I'd like to reconnect aren't going to be on Facebook anyway. Many of them may not even have computers. Heck I have friends who refuse to allow the internet to invade their homes, and I'd be fibbing if I said I hadn't given that some consideration.

But the bottom line is this: I have no urge to thrust my thoughts and meanderings into the face of others. I truly couldn't care less that somebody's kids are going to a birthday party and another's are playing hockey. I'm not interested in the weather in Orlando or somebody's family photos from their European vacation. Thus, I don't figure anybody's interested in my visit to Goodwin Tech last night, or the fact that I'm looking for a good restaurant in Springfield tonight before the New Britain boys play. I'm not figuring anybody cares who I think is going to win the Super Bowl. I'm sure I'd be wrong anyway.

I have regressed, or perhaps progressed, to the point where neither Twitter nor Facebook will soak up my free time. I'll check Facebook now and then to see who wants me to be their friend or to see if any long lost buddies are buzzing around, but I'm not prone to feign such self-importance that I'm going to prattle on about the accomplishments of my offspring, siblings or myself.

So crank up another episode of Gunsmoke. Time for another chapter in my Humphrey Bogart biography. Think I'll drive around the corner an extra time to hear the end of "Truckin," but I believe for the time being, the only tweeting done around here will be by the robins come April.

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