[lit-ideas] Re: The Medium is the Message

  • From: "Lawrence Helm" <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 25 Oct 2011 08:25:34 -0700

Interesting.  My initial response to this thread was that I didn't disagree
with Irene's assessment, and whenever I do that I suspect I am becoming
psychotic.  Upon reflection (and relief) I determined that I would never
have written what she did.  While I don't use Facebook, I have tried it
several times and didn't find "those things of value" that Julie did.  Had
I, I might have pursued it a bit further.  Susan is on it and enjoys it for
some of the reasons others have mentioned and tells me if she runs across
anything I should know.  


I suspect none of us has the time or inclination to keep up with all of the
technological innovations being advanced almost every year.  Ursula posted
her note from her iPad.  I am not critical of her or anyone else who has
one.  I'm sure they are very nice, but I don't have one.  This note will
come from my laptop.  


Susan, who asks my help if her desktop or laptop computers get cranky has
just acquired an iPod, but that is only because she totaled her 2005 Subaru
and acquired a 2012 Elantra which doesn't have room for all her CDs.  The
salesman explained that an iPod can be "easily" integrated into the
Elantra's sound system; so last night she began loading her music onto a
version 5 iPod what fits into a tiny compartment in front of her gear shift.


I on the other hand shuddered, went downstairs and kissed the hood of my
2002 Jeep Liberty.   




From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of Julie Krueger
Sent: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 7:06 AM
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: The Medium is the Message


I often think of FB as a way to send a postcard, electronically.  Just drop
a line about something I'm doing or found interesting, or share a bit of
music or art, note a book or an idea I find worthwhile.  It serves, for me,
a much different use from what eMail does.  In addition, I get to hear those
things of value from strangers (or acquaintances) around the globe that I
would never, ever otherwise encounter. 

Julie Krueger

On Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 8:35 AM, Ursula Stange <ursula@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Well, Andy did begin by saying her assessment was based only on vicarious
experience.  If not misrepresented, this kind of "here's what I think" isn't
wrong on the face of it.   On top of that, she's not entirely wrong anyway.
Facebook doesn't really lend itself to engaged discussion.  It's more like
meeting people on the street, sharing a joke or a book review or a comment
on current affairs and then moseying along.  (Very enjoyable if you choose
your street wisely.)  


Another part of the Facebook experience I like is the eavesdropping aspect.
Some of my best former students have become Facebook friends and, while they
talk mainly to their contemporaries, I get to listen in and stay informed
about their grad school experiences, their travels and their engagement with
the wider world, all without any obligation to comment or acknowledge.   


My own children are opposed to Facebook, but there is a whole subgroup of
farther-afield relatives who keep me informed of family doings and post
pictures of their children and their travels and, here also, I find
enjoyment with no obligation to comment or acknowledge.  Additionally, I get
to learn something about their interests In and opinions about the social,
economic and political currents swirling around us.  I'm their distant
(they're mostly American) aunt or aunt-in-law and most would never write
more to me than a Christmas card.  So this Facebook connection is a real


For the past fifteen years, the four of us in my immediate family have had
an email group to which we sometimes write longish letters about our doings
or announcements of upcoming personal events but, just as often, send links
to articles or web pages that have amused us or outraged us or informed us
(kind of like leaving a magazine folded out to a great article for others in
the household).  It's informal and there is no obligation to respond to
everything but I wouldn't trade that fifteen year archive for anything.
It's a part of who we all are, indivdually and together.


After all these years, my Lit-ideas archive feels kind of like that.  Among
the Lit-ideas friends now on Facebook, I continue to find a wealth of good
notions, stimulating music, intriguing literary craftsmanship, sane
political and social commentary and just plain fun.   

Sent from my kitchen...where my iPad lives,


On 2011-10-25, at 8:45 AM, John McCreery <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

There you go again, Andy, pontificating about something you know, at best,
second hand. And in this case, the fault is particularly egregious, since
trying out Facebook for a week or two to see how people actually use it is
free. All it costs is a little time. Why, pray tell, do you think that
anyone should pay the slightest attention to what you say? Except, of
course, for the irritation felt on encountering mindless babble?


Grumpy in Yokohama,



On Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 9:31 PM, Andy <mimi.erva@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

I understand that Facebook seems to be absorbing a lot of conversational
energy.  Just some thoughts, but first a disclaimer.  I don't have a
Facebook account, have never had one, and don't participate as a 'friend' on
any other Facebook account, including those of relatives.  For what it's
worth, my understanding of Facebook is that it's all about posting pictures
of how much fun you're having.  It's not about having fun, it's about
proving you're having fun, especially for the younger crowd.  Based on my
vicarious understanding, I can't imagine having an intelligent conversation
on Facebook.  Certainly I couldn't have one with my relatives (and that's
with two nephews in med school), or for that matter with most of my flesh
and blood friends.  Lit ideas people who have Facebook accounts are
certainly excepted, but generally Facebook to me is a pure pomo experience,
reality as if.  Worse, it's a reflection of the general dumbing down of
everything, a great big huge Twitter with pictures.  'Reality as if'
requires no depth of understanding, which would make Facebook and Twitter
the media for the times.  A vicarious understanding, yes, but I think
unfortunately accurate.




John McCreery
The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
Tel. +81-45-314-9324 <tel:%2B81-45-314-9324> 


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