Monday, 29 March 2010

Thoughts on Facebook and Skype

Click the heading for some discussion about Facebook and the internet generally. Contrary to what many people still think, it’s not a ‘zero-sum’ game, but instead adds exponentially to the ease with which we can interact with each other.

I was at lunch with a much older friend the other day and he asked me about Facebook. Needless to say, he didn't like the idea at all; few people of even of my age are comfortable with it but I tried to explain it to him as being like a series of postcards that you exchange with your friends – and only your friends – the additional factor being that most of your friends can see the postcards and comment on them if they wish. He still didn't like it. Oh well; despite that fact that I do still send a lot of real-lfe postcards, I wonder if he'll be proved right and I'll be seen as a shallow fellow, over-ready to adopt modern systems of self-gratification. One of my friends  Skypes me a lot and I find that takes too much of my time. I would prefer short messages on FB and longer conversations on the telephone. Unlike the phone, one is a little self-conscious on Skype (particularly as others can hear both sides of the conversation) and one can also be distracted by the keyboard and screen and liable to start footling around on the internet rather than concentrating on the conversation. On the other hand, self-consciousness diminishes on FB and one finds one's voice - mocking, ironic, literary or whatever - so that others become comfortable with your particular output and you theirs. 

I still think that FB adds a considerable amount to the sum of human happiness and detracts but a little.