Saturday, October 2, 2010
I had a few interesting Facebook experiences yesterday. First, I read a review of The Social Network in the paper that made me REALLY want to see it. Later on, in the office, a friend was telling me about the lunch conversation during his last training jaunt. He was the only one amidst the sandwiches and cans of soda in the conference room who used Facebook. The conversation went something like:
Them: I don't need to tell people I just had toast
Him: That's not really what it's about
Them: I don't want to hook up with old boyfriends
Him: That's not what it's about
Them: Oh yes it is.
And then, over my own lunch, I checked in with Stephen Colbert who was interviewing Aaron Sorkin, writer of The Social Network. Aaron Sorkin is not on Facebook. He tells us why: "Social networking is to socializing what reality television is to television." The audience responded with a bemused silence. He asked Colbert to clarify what the audience thought about his statement. Dutifully, they applauded.
I wish I could have been there to explain to him that they were silent because what he said made no fucking sense. There's not a person out there who confuses hanging out on Facebook with hanging out with real people. People who use Facebook understand that it is something new, not a replacement for established social conventions. No Saturday night barfly has ever said, "Huzzah! Facebook! I'm going to stop hitting the bars and never leave my house." People use Facebook as an easy way to invite people to birthday parties... not as a place to throw a birthday parties.
But this is familiar territory for the Sorkin. His weird loathing of reality TV paired with his blithe willingness to make all reality television into "Naked Conscience-Free Who Want to Marry a Millionaire and then Eat Bugs" was the weakest of many weak links of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. It was clear that Aaron Sorkin didn't know what reality television was but felt free to comment on how terrible it was.
Here's my thing: I'm a mom whose husband works nights and have a job in which I spend most of my day sequestered in front of a computer screen. Facebook (and Twitter) is just an awesome way for me to connect with other people out there. People who say funny and sweet things. People who have parenting advice and can suggest movies to see. People I can complain about Newt Gingrich too. People I can gab about Project Runway with (I think Mondo has this thing locked up) and argue (still) over the finale of Lost (grrrrrrr). It's great fun and a great way to keep from feeling lonely when real life forces force you to be alone.
And if you've never used it, stop telling those of us who do what it's about. It's not what you think it is and you sound like one of those Luddite nerds from 2002 bitching about cell phones. A half a billion people across the world have decided this is a valid way to talk to each other. Get with the program or shut up about.