Would Seinfeld like Facebook?


When I created this blog, I included a video clip from an old favorite TV show, Seinfeld. I included it because I thought this blog would celebrate the spirit of that show in my own way – documenting thoughts or experiences randomly, with no aspirations to be anything profound.

That spirit is what is on my mind today — I was thinking about Facebook and how some people have embraced it and others seem to think it is a waste of time. One of my favorite criticisms of Facebook is from a scene in the movie ‘Easy A’, where Emma Stone’s character is sitting with her teacher, who is wondering why the high school students post useless information on Facebook: http://youtu.be/d0E8QkHwK1s. This clip isn’t as funny as it comes across in the movie, but you probably get the point – he is wondering why in the world anyone would think other people would be interested in knowing that someone drank a Coke Zero that day.

A more scholarly critique was included on the TED blog, Damon Brown cited Jaron Lanier’s assertion that “social media is flattening people into one big pile of mush”. You can read Mr. Brown’s entire analysis here: http://blog.ted.com/2013/05/07/does-documenting-your-life-online-keep-you-from-actually-living-it-an-excerpt-from-the-new-ted-book-our-virtual-shadow-2/

Adding these insights together seems to say that people who use Facebook share pointless pieces of information together (like the Seinfeld characters) and as a result, they are all becoming similar, or at least all seem to laugh or enjoy similar things (like the Seinfeld characters). So I figure yes, the Seinfeld gang would very much like Facebook.

As for me, I actually love Facebook for some of the reasons it is criticized. Maybe I don’t want to know who had a Coke Zero this morning, but for some reason, I get a kick out of my high school friend Dominic’s ‘Margarita Thursday’ posts or Claudine’s ‘RunKeeper’ shares. I may vicariously enjoy the margarita or get motivated to go for a run myself – so these little posts that some people might think are goofy are just what I need when surfing my smartphone while waiting in line somewhere. And I will disagree that Facebook users are becoming flattened into a homogenous pool – I’ve got very diverse friends who give me new perspectives on life. Many are high school or college friends that I’ve reconnected with and found out how wonderfully interesting and different we all are as adults – even though I felt we were all the same in school.

Post on! Oh, and today I had a Diet Snapple (sorry, Coke Zero).