Thursday, October 13, 2011

Facebook, Facebook, where art thou?

          My doctor-friend Donna had an interesting observation as she manipulated my left leg. She said the story of Romeo and Juliet would've been quite different if they could've texted each other.

           That comment really took my mind off my leg. How different history would've been, as well as literature, if the Internet and cellphones had been around back in the day. 

            Would Socrates have avoided the hemlock if he blogged instead of asking all those provocative questions right out there on the Acropolis?

            Would Julius Caesar have figured things out and been better prepared if Brutus had unfriended him?

            Would Cleopatra have found a soulmate more her type than Marc Antony if she went on

             Would Lincoln have gone to the theater that fateful night if the play had received bad reviews on Yelp?

              Perhaps the Internet and social media aren't changing history this dramatically yet, but they are changing our behavior. Is there a student in America that doesn't check her Facebook page before doing homework? My students email me if they miss a class. My doctor emails me reminders of my appointments. Directory Assistance texts me the phone numbers I want. 

             We rarely seem to talk anymore. We don't get to see the subtle looks on each other's face, hear each other's voice, question each other's silences.

              When I was in college I was on the phone with my girlfriends every night I wasn't with them. We developed much more intimate relationships on AT and T than we could've on Safari. Come to think of it, the words "I love you" are usually whispered. How do you whisper on the World Wide Web? I don't think a tweet would be the same, either.

               Like most of us I do check Facebook a few times a week to keep in touch with people. 

               But keeping in touch and touching are quite different.

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