Facebook and Twitter Have Rotted Our Brains!

And I don't mind as long as you click on my link, genius

Facebook and Twitter have turned our erudite minds into cocky doody! Once the floodgates opened for everyone on earth to emit short, quick outbursts onto a willing public (i.e., one another), the bar dropped to the ground, and even a diploma achieved for $45 online wasn't needed to become an internationally known commentator. With two major venues for sharing one's every brain bubble, we've become flooded with one another's soup recipes, "comic observations," and asterisked epithets, leaving us so numbed that our next comments will undoubtedly be even shorter and more shamelessly flaccid.

It's not all stupefying, mind you. Like everyone else, I use social networking to promote my links, and I often get a healthy response from intelligent people who have a fetching sense of humor and/or something to say. I enjoy the give-and-take and think the whole game can be useful when it clicks (or when they click). I love my "friends" and "followers" for realz! But the dummos are really out there in force, and thanks to the bottomless freedom they now have to spout inanities, they seem way dumber than the usual dummos. Like monkeys with a keyboard—or Republicans with a Bible—they can't stop banging out tripe just because they can, ranging from "duh" obviousness to "huh?" cluelessness with every new emission.

"So sad about Whitney" is a tweet that was barely worth the non-effort—and it's still coming at me again and again!

Barry Bruner

"How could you complain about what Lagerfeld said?" came the righteous Facebook whines last week. "It's free speech!" You answered your own question, dummo.

And just as bad is the opposite tack—the way Facebookers line up to celeb-bash with no sense of perspective or self-awareness. When I wrote about an actress who ill-advisedly said she'd chosen to be gay, one guy replied with: "How dare she fuel prejudice? She's a fucking cunt!" Unwitting irony is queen on social-networking sites.

A lot of these people present themselves as above the law as they lobby accusations at big names who have wantonly misstepped. I'll often join the fray as I go into knee-jerk diatribes about what a psycho Charlie Sheen is, how pompous Madonna comes off, and how Paula Deen should choke on her egg burger. I'm all for bringing celebs down a notch when they deserve it, but the armchair-antagonism gang banging can become a little bit wearying, and I sometimes start to wonder if maybe we all need to get fucked more.

Some great stories and ideas have been shared on Facebook, but sociopolitical issues don't get much of a rise unless they happen to have a celebrity angle. Whenever I shoot out something about Occupy Wall Street, the response is generally as silent as I am when someone says "Please like my page." I guess the crashing world economy is just not as interesting as pop-star paternity suits or Demi Moore's whip-it problem.

And the sense of entitlement! If I post a link called "Guess Who Got Snubbed By the Oscar Nominations?" the first comment will invariably be something like "Meryl?" Oy! The person could have simply clicked to find out the answer, but they deemed it easier to sit back and type in a guess! Why do you think I'm posting this shit? For my health? And how slow would you have to be to think Meryl wouldn't get a nomination anyway?

And what about all the "like me" crap? Has Sally Field taken over Facebook? Does extracting a viral thumbs-up really validate you before some higher power? Can I "suggest" that people please leave me alone about it?

It's basically an ego boost from a stranger—a free hand job, as it were—the way someone "favoriting your tweet" gives you a quick but hollow rise. ("Nine people favorited my 'I hate Citibank' tweet! It's going places!") And so you post more and more tweets, hoping to get more and more retweets, which will nab you more and more followers. The only problem is, you can have 5 million followers, and that still doesn't mean more than a dozen of them are necessarily reading your tweets! Most people only read other people's tweets when they're posting their own tweet and notice something provocative on the screen—maybe a tidbit involving a link to pictures of hot people doing naughty things. But of course they won't retweet that because it'll make them look as lowbrow as they really are.

Perhaps the weirdest thing about some Facebook and Twitter regulars is that they're fully versed in cute expressions such as "lol" and wacky punctuation effects like ":)," but correct grammar poignantly seems to elude them. Even celebrities—or especially celebrities—use "your" instead of "you're," and the endless employment of lowercase letters and ellipses obviously attempts to camouflage the fact that they have no idea how to construct a complete sentence.

I'm not above any of this, mind you. I will resort to my old blog tricks of posting racy pictures, mocking anyone entitled, and even indulging in the dreaded "lol," even when it isn't the least bit appropriate. ("One of the Sweathogs from Welcome Back, Kotter just died. LOL.")

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16 comments
Eurobaby
Eurobaby

Geez, I tried to venture into lib land to see what I could see. Interested in the topic at hand, I stepped into the 'arrogant', 'narrow-minded', 'mean-spirited' Land of the Left-aka 'intolerant - and proud of it'! Your 'erudite minds' should know better. 'Republicans with a Bible'? Apparently you,with your erudite minds, haven't learned that the Republicanism and Christianity are not synonymous. Why don't you try to exemplify what you screech, I mean preach.

Dallwilson
Dallwilson

tomorrow i'm posting my life story including the names of everybody in my first grade class and upward. thanks, for the suggestion, MM. I know you will look forward to the information therein and hang on every, uh like, ya know, word and all.

Stelmachlovejoy
Stelmachlovejoy

Wow,Michael I really think you wrote this artical(and a long one for you) just to make me reflect on myself. I enjoy the witty banter that takes place on Facebook.I guess my Adhd likes the quick responces and bordem funnals my need for more. I'm one of those you mentioned that doesn't read the whole post or doesn't use proper grammer. For the most part because I was knaping through most of high school and college. Buy,I do find your articals entertaining and you do actually read your "friends"comments.we/I appreciate you for that.I told myself the other day before making a comment I should read the artical first,but didn't. Yes you called me out on it and than this post came out.sorry I frustrated you that much.I'll make this prommis the next time I post on your wall, I will read the artical...your friend robin..

Caleb Hillman
Caleb Hillman

Brilliant observation of the click-it culture.

Rawdoc
Rawdoc

Yeah...I like to pretend friend people then unfriend them...& then post scads of anti-Face Book rants...like yours. Face Book is far more dangerous than the Government when it comes to freedom of expression, because we can't vote against Face Book like we can Politicians. Of course, with the IPO, many of the one percent will be able to vote on how Face Book is run. This assures Corporate control of expression for the 99%, one way or the other.

Lowell48
Lowell48

Rotted what brains -- alas? Brain-rot set in years ago and looks likely to flourish. It's like sortof like gee like donnchaknow-like endemic. Very cool.

Guest
Guest

The internet can educate us, or it can send us in the wrong direction.

Unfortunately, the people who are most likely to use their laptops to speak their minds are the people who are going in the wrong direction. What urgency is there in posting hateful, mediocre comments, and then having dozens of followers click "like" on those comments? Some people live for that. Maybe they've decided their lives aren't empty enough.

We saw this coming before most of had computers. The people who stampeded to the television to get their news from talk show trash merchants weren't invisible. The only thing which has changed is now those people are now putting their own garbage online.

I'll make a public confession (Hey, we're all supposed to be exhibitionists, right?): After I comment on an internet item, I go back later to see if other people have replied. The "likes" make me feel good. The "you dumb (multiple expletive)" remarks, not so much.

Gay Movie Fan
Gay Movie Fan

I said I'd never join FB. I gave in and have regretted it ever since. Or maybe I should say, I got what I deserved ("Hey everybodyI just brushed my teth and farted at the same time!").

However, I draw the line at Twitter.

And yes, everyone on-line it seems could use a refresher course in English, spelling and syntax.

novenator
novenator

Well, the average attention span has dropped form 12 minutes to 5 in the last decade, so there is a certain amount of focus degradation going on when everything is geared towards instant satisfaction. A good example of this is the preference of pics with funny quotes on them compared to actual articles these days.

Fudge
Fudge

Yes, keep it cranky. It's all true, so what the heck. LO...No, I won't finish that.

Savannah Montgomery
Savannah Montgomery

Ever notice how the "young-un's", (basically anyone under 40), can't tell a sustained story?

They verbally "tweet" it. And when YOU attempt to recount a story, you'll get verbally "tweeted" (off-topic, of course) again, as soon as you stop to draw a breath...now that's maddening!!

Rogie
Rogie

I keep wondering who you remind me of - some avuncular relative, or an old-time blues artist? Just that the crankier you get, the more you wind up endearing yourself to (I'd like to think) your best readers.

Roi
Roi

Hilarious and every word truer than true!!!! And yet I'll be back on Facebook and twitter in two secs. For realz.

Redondo
Redondo

Your my friend too, lol. You make me laugh, Musto.

Guest
Guest

On the topic of oral hygiene and flatulence being addressed in the same update, let's just say too many people think of Howard Stern as a role model.

 
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