June 24, 2014  •  5 Comments



What I mean by masturbatory is in the stroking of egos on a quid pro quo basis. Let me explain!!

When we attend any group event there are certain protocols to which most attend. As you walk by people at the event whom you know but not really, I mean you've seen their face, recognize that you have seen each other but that's about it, there are certain social conventions that need to be met. If the event is a large event, maybe a high school's 25 year reunion or family event, you might know that you know this people but not enough to have a long conversation. Truth is you could not care less about any conversation with them but social convention states we need to acknowledge them. You shake hands, give the head nod and ask " How are you?". They give the same head nod but add a shoulder shrug and answer, "Great just wonderful and you?" You keep walking but answer, "Great just great. Have a great day". Both move on happily that both understood the rules; be polite but keep moving. We are satisfied that we gave the other the least acknowledgement possible but did acknowledge them really. You might do that 10 to 20 times a day.

​That handshake and question is the equivalent to the 'LIKE' on Facebook: quick, easy, no big commitment and only the expectation of a return handshake. If they do not acknowledge this simplest of social convention, next time you look the other way. Sometimes happy to not extend this faux friendship any longer but resentful that they dictated this mini breakup. It's the same thing on Facebook. They don't LIKE your post (the handshake) then you don't like their post. 

Let me change the location of this meeting. You are at a meeting of like minded people, maybe a business meeting, a place to exchange business cards. You meet a person, you stop hold the handshake a little longer, look them in the eye and truly have a conversation. Maybe the conversation starts out about your business or theirs, you both listen attentively and one may ask for a few more of their business cards to hand out to some people you know that might be interested in their services. That is the equivalent to the Facebook 'SHARE'. You both part with an implied agreement to look into each other's business a little more,  visit their website and explore their business. Some will and some will toss the cards when they get home. This is the equivalent of people on Facebook that always 'like' but don't take the time to leave comments and never visit blogs.

On Facebook often the only time people will truly get engaged with your business (web site or blog) is if you visit theirs, quid pro quo. If one party does not have a blog with which to interact, they revert to the like button with a few "great, just wonderful" over and over again. You like me and I'll like you and we all feel wonderful to have given the least acknowledgement possible but it's a small ego stroke. 

If you belong to a group of artists, the whole relationship is usually more supportive, more honest and at least the equivalent of the 'Share' on Facebook. Most times, they are much less worried about stroking each others EGOS and more about being supportive giving and taking constructive criticism  (comment section on blogs) or sharing ideas, a meaningful exchange of ideas!

I am wondering if involvement in Facebook, in an artistic or business sense is worth the time. I see a decision coming real soon on my part.

By the way, if you're still reading, I freely admit that the quality of content helps drive participation.


Chris Deno(non-registered)
I so agree with your sentiments Jim. There was an article a few years ago in the Atlantic monthly. "Is Facebook making us lonely". I always wonder about the real person on the other side of the comments. As for the birding pages they are enjoyable regardless of knowing the photographers personally. I am from a generation, culture and profession of getting to know people in person.
One could go on and on about this topic.
Tameka M.(non-registered)
I agree with this Jim. Your contrasts were on point. I do think social media is all about the numbers for some people and it is a shame. I actually enjoy reading other people's content and learning about their goals and dreams. I wasn't very active in the blogging communities for the past couple of years being that I lost my mom in 2013. That took a lot out of me. I am just getting back to reading some of my favorite blogs and I missed everyone dearly.

I am noticing that the community that was there is almost nonexistent now. I do think staying connected and I mean truly connected on social media is time consuming and people are so busy that at times I don't think they value their online connections as much.

Hopefully, this will change. I do think blogs like Humans of NY has a very strong a vibrant community because the thing at the center is other people. My challenge is to build a community like that of my own.

I will be stopping by more often now that I am back on my emotional feet. I have missed your photos very much.

Thanks for such a thoughtful piece! I liked and shared it! :-)
Chris Calohan(non-registered)
Humans, by nature are social animals, thus a venue like FB is not just attended, but often sought as a way to communicate without having to make that obligatory handshake, so to speak. As per the photo forums, I find there is a tendency to "Like" without particular reason, or to comment without really making a substantive judgment on a work. It's easy to hit the "Like" highlight and go about your day; I do it all the time. What I don't do, and I have been admonished before on this, is like something I don't "Like" just because everyone else does. I wish there was an FB photo forum that encouraged constructive criticism so the photographer could get a better idea as to how to make a work better, shoot or compose better, do a PS or LR adjustment, etc.
Susan Davis(non-registered)
Astute observations, Jim. I can see your point. As an artist I am used to working by myself for long blocks of time with little or no social interaction. I am not sure that "liking" and "sharing" have much meaning to me as an artist...I work to suit myself. So why do I participate in FB? It's a way to be a bit more social, I have connected with a few more artists in a meaningful way (messaging at length) and I get a chance to look at others photographic work (something I avoided as a metalsmith/jeweler). Best of all, I find I really value sharing information with people who are interested in the same areas...conservation and wildlife. I am not really doing the "i'll look at yours if you look at mine" thing but I do check in every so often to see what people who inspire me are doing. We all come with different ideas, goals and expectations.
Carl Rossi(non-registered)
Facebook is as hollow as it is substantive. The medium is fast, fleeting, temporal, fragmented, random, and uncontrolled. It is a tool to some to seek out connections, keep up with connections digitally, and expand their world. In a purely social context, it will garner these benefits. For intimate interaction, it is profusely inhibited by nature. Everyone is looking! There are a couple of business sites, our own school District for example, or our architect that showed promise at first and then got soft. (no connection to your blog title!) At some point it is garbage in, garbage out and static sites seem the most professional forum or type for businesses. In the end, I like the closing of distances the most with Facebook, it is global, and one can interact with more cultures, as fleeting as it may be, then every before. And the fact that we all enjoy this sort of behavior somehow pulls us together. Ok, breaks over, back to work....
No comments posted.

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