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Facebook; A Writer's Meandering Thoughts # 3

I last wrote about Facebook on January 12, 2009 (see archived entry). Since that time, I have accumulated some “friends,” a still modest thirty-three at this writing, and I have gone onto the site now and again each week. I enjoy aspects of the experience—lighthearted banter, photos—as I have written before, but remain disheartened at the phenomena as a vehicle for writers to express themselves and/or stay in touch. I don’t think Facebook really keeps us in touch except in the most superficial ways. In that sense, the phenomena is very American. We have the reputation (in Europe) of making friends quickly without constancy or deep commitment.

Like the sound-byte culture of market-driven television, there is no opportunity for reflective thought on Facebook. My commentary stands out in the threads as too long for the medium. It’s an impatient, ephemeral medium. The email function is available as an enhancement, but it is boxed and replies tend to be short, too.

As writers,we need to linger, to take it slow, to expand our verbal capacity. It takes time to struggle every day with the complexities of human psychology and experience. Facebook does not encourage such thoughtfulness or complexity; it demands contraction,distillation, and speed, the very opposite of what writers must do to write well.

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