The Old Man writes,

I used to think of bloggers as really hip & up to date, but now blogging seems so 2007. For 2008 we got Facebook & now for 2009 Twittering.

Since I never got into blogging, I certainly have no involvement with Facebook or Twittering, and tend to view them as a further debasement of the currency of the written word.

But I’d love to see you post your thoughts on these things.

And you know, I’ve been meaning to do so for a while now. It’s true that blogging has started to seem sort of quaint and archaic, that the real action has shifted to technologies offering even-more-instant gratification. I have made a personal policy decision to steer clear of these things, and here’s why.

I fear the Facebook for a number of reasons. One is that it will cause me to be found by people whom I don’t particularly care to have find me. Another is that I know I have compulsive tendencies, and I can easily imagine the Facebook becoming a truly monumental timesuck. But mostly it’s the whole “friends” thing. I don’t like the emphasis on the number of “friends” you have (and I insist on putting that in quotes, because they are not really your friends; I mean some of them are, but some are mere acquaintances, and some are virtual strangers or even actual strangers). And I worry about a future in which all of our relationships are virtual, where we have hundreds of “friends” but no real friends. Again this is partly a personal matter, because I also have reclusive tendencies that don’t need to be reinforced by replacing human interaction with artificial substitutes.

Do I think that the Facebook in and of itself is pernicious? I haven’t decided yet. It has many potential benefits along with the potential downside. Since it seems to be an unstoppable force at this point, I hope that it turns out to be beneficial.

As for the Twitter, I recognize the appeal. I would like to believe that my every passing thought is worthy of being recorded and shared with the world. But I don’t. Blogging doesn’t put up much of a barrier to expressing anything that crosses my mind, but at least I’m forced to sit down and compose actual paragraphs, which I think is good. The last thing our information-overloaded world needs is more random, unfiltered data. And with all the excess brain activity going on in my own head, why do I want a subscription to other people’s thoughts? Wasn’t there a Twilight Zone or something about a guy who gains the ability to read minds and ends up going insane from all the overwhelming nonstop clamor? That’s what the Twitter seems like to me.

The Old Man also says,

[I want] to pass on to you the “old man” title, since us old guys have been saying this more or less about a lot of things that have come down the pike for a long, long time.

And he may be right, this may just be me on the downside of 40, but that’s OK. In the end, I’m just looking for a simpler and more peaceful life, and the Facebook and the Twitter aren’t going to help me with that.