I can’t take credit for this post’s title. I heard it yesterday on NPR when they were interviewing a Wyoming rancher for an article on wolves. He had become the object of much wrath on “Facelook and Tweeter”, his words, for shooting a wolf. The wolf was on his land and he had lost sheep to a predator, so he had the legal right to kill this wolf. His problems stemmed from the fact that this was a celebrity wolf. This alpha female of Yellowstone’s Lamar Canyon pack, know by the rubric, 832F, had appeared on the cover of American Scientist and in the pages of the New York Times. His troubles began after a friend posted a picture of him with his trophy on the Internet.
Facebook is ten years old today. This social media program has transformed our society, but it has also divided it, into Facebook users and those who don’t use it, like this Wyoming rancher. I use and enjoy Facebook. I even “pimp my blog” to Facebook, again not my words. It facilitates keeping track of my far-flung network of family and friends, at least those that use Facebook. Those that don’t usually cite the issue of privacy, but if Edward Snowden and the NSA have taught us anything, privacy in this day and age is an antiquated concept. I figure nonmembers might as well join Facebook, they’re not really protecting anything and they might even learn something, especially if they just lurk like the NSA.
As I age, so do my Facebook friends. I’ve always joked that Facebook is one of the three phases of retired life. When people first retire, they travel a lot. They go everywhere, but then they get tired of sleeping in strange new beds and just want to go home again. Once home again, they look around at the old homestead and decide that it needs a little fixing up. They launch all sorts of home improvement projects, but eventually the costs of first travel and then home improvement drains the coffers. This leads us to the third phase of retirement, where the retiree sits around on Facebook all day, making inane comments to all of their other retired Facebook friends.
Some say that after ten years Facebook has gotten a little stale and that its day has passed. I’m not so ready to write RIP to it yet. My spacified sense is that it still has plenty of life left. Let me offer up two examples here. First, check out my iPhone above. It is wearing what I am calling a gramophone. It is a blue plastic trinket that I picked up a couple of weeks ago at the Saint Louis Auto Show. I’m not entirely sure how it works, because the horn is not entirely hollow, but it works. It easily doubles the phone’s natural volume. Low tech, but still pretty cool, plus it doubles as a stand for the phone. The other photo shows tonight’s weather, yet another snowstorm. I’ve posted these two photographs to this blog and they will be automatically reposted to Facebook, but writing this blog involves a lot of effort on my part. It would have been so much easier to just make a couple of posts to Facebook, like most people do.