Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Electronic Graffiti

Electronic Graffiti

 and Facebook as Therapy in the Information Age

We haven't yet morphed into the enormous egg-headed, spindly-limbed geekatoids predicted years ago by science fiction writers as an unavoidable consequence of being glued to a computer screen 24/7.  Some of us (you know who you are) may be getting close, however. 

Facebook is just one of the magnets potentially drawing us deep into a cyberspace life, away from weight-bearing exercise and other human activities like tending to family, work and taking out the garbage.  But it IS such a fun and addictive diversion.  God!  Find your long-lost friends and relatives, feel the rush of someone posting something on your Wall, enjoy watching your list of friends grow. You can jump into all sorts of discussions including serious ones about maintaining your precious privacy .... on a website with some 300 million members! 

Therapeutic breaks from working at my computer every day have never been so satisfying.  Much better than potato chips!

Because of the privacy concerns mentioned above, some of us are being very judicious about giving away the store: Some profiles will show only a partial name, a really old photo (maybe even one of your dog or cat) or in my case a piece of artwork, and no location, no date of birth or any personal likes or dislikes at all. This is a little extreme because we are on Facebook, after all, to make connections, so some barebones info has to ring true in order for our buddies to recognize us and for others to become friends.  Other folks just let it all hang out.  You might be able to show up at their home for dinner.  That could be a bad thing. So, as in all things, moderation is probably the way to go. But simply getting your stuff up on Facebook at all, no matter in what form, just might be a winning move for your psychological well being.

Now, The Big Wall .... it is always awash with colorful photos, book covers, artwork, puzzles, games, personality tests and so on, splashing endlessly down and down into Facebook oblivion; a gorgeous and crazyquilt explosion of Electronic Graffiti, refreshed constantly and tirelessly by eager Facebookers.  No muss, no fuss, no spraycans.  And then there are the writings .... and I do admire the courage and candor of those blurting out Twitteresque statements about what they are doing "right now" for all to ponder.  This is yet another form of therapy because it is healthy to have someplace to spill out your immediate thoughts no matter how trivial or even nutty they may be.  Just getting them out there at the very least can feel good and may even help organize your day.  Certainly, unlike any session with a pro, this will get you a whole bunch of FREE commentary and advice! When did a shrink ever offer a deal like that?

But what about the "chickens"?  Those who prefer to "watch" so to speak?  Well, they can get their jollies by following those Wall Confessions, sort of like Peeping Toms with a perpetual Reality Show.  Then there are the grocery list comments like "Don't forget to pick up the pie".  This stuff is posted by those very secure in the expectation that their messages will be picked up regularly.  Geez, I'm thinking, I hope the pie picker-upper sees this in time. Other proactive types of Facebookers like to pose possibly important questions on The Wall ... philosophical, political or sometimes, as it turns out, merely rhetorical.  They have fun engaging in Sophistry with Facebook heads by posing endlessly looping discussions, just because they can!  So there is a virtual circus of personalities weaving addictive entertainment for every type of cyberaddict.  My advice?  Be selective and moderate.  I know I am.

Anyway, I am very sure that MY time spent on this seductive and amusing website is most assuredly, "Quality Time".  C'mon, it's good for me .... it's therapeutic!!  What's YOUR excuse?


  1. Ellie, I love your blog! This is just like when you were editing AMAZING, only you don't have to limit your editorials to once a month. Let's see where this new era of communication can take us!

  2. Love it!! And so true! It's easy to see FaceBook as just another time suck, which it can certainly turn into, but it's also a wonderful tool for connecting with friends, old and new, and family. Great post!