Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Rant

(Rant on)

I had my first rogue poster on Facebook today.

"Lose weight now with this amazing product! I can't believe how much it did for me! You should try it too!"

I sat there and looked at it as I scrolled through the postings - at first unbelieving, then with a growing sense of offense. This is my page, the page my friends (mostly) and business colleagues (possibly) look at - and this guy thinks it's okay to post junk mail?

It seems to me (after I calmed down and removed him from the list) that this in a microcosm is yet another ill of electronic society: the concept that I can do or say virtually anything I want because I am the most important thing on the planet.

The difference between physical communication and electronic communication is that physical communication (i.e. communication in the presence of another) gives context and body language. Few people would think of blurting out something completely off topic in the middle of conversation - they would be looked at, ignored, and the conversation would continue on. However, electronic communication does not have the same feedback loop: I can post something or send you a junk e-mail and even though you delete it immediately, it still takes time and effort on your part - and the poster feels pretty good, like they've done something.

Where does this come from? This inane notion that what I have to say or do is so important that I will overstretch the bounds of good taste and manners because it's all about me (and my product, service, opinion, etc.). Of course you delete it - it's more important that I get attention to myself. What, expect restraint or good manners of me? Ridiculous. My berry-cobbler-juice- mix will help you lose weight (and, by the way, help me to make money) - It's amazing!

And so friends, as I leave you, be sure to try out Toirdhealbheach Beucail's Amazing Blend of Wisanity (it's wisdom - and insanity!). It's good for you, it's environmentally friendly, it will help you lose weight, improves your dating life, clears your skin, and best of all - it's absolutely free!

(And, all the words are properly spelled. Rant off.)

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