Hearne: The Irrational Exuberance of Facebook & Twitter

 I-Got-Your-Tweet-Right-Here-twitter-Geek-TeesLuddites of the world arise…

I refer, of course, to those “opposed to, or slow to adopt or incorporate into their lifestyle.”

You know who they are.

More often than not, they’re aging Baby Boomers pride themselves in things like not really knowing how to use their computers. They wouldn’t dream of texting and most certainly decry the annoying, intrusive ubiquity of smart phones.

Younger, wiser heads are largely dismissive of these worshipers of the past. Life goes on without them, so why worry about it, no biggie.

However, most people in the know recognize that not keeping up with technology is lame, unfashionable and unhip even. Nobody’s going to think you’re cool just because you’re not on Facebook or Twitter.

Or are they?

Music and entertainment gadfly Bob Lefsetz thinks the opposite. 

In Lefsetz’ world, the people out there tweeting about “lunch beers” and their kid’s stomach flu are the lame brains. Does anyone still think being on Twitter’s a sign of hipness?

“I don’t want to tweet. It’s like pissing off a cliff in the dark,” Lefsetz grouses in his latest missive. “No one sees it and you risk getting yourself wet. At best, you screw up and become a pariah. Which is why Twitter is a sea of dropouts and the fawning press trumpeting its IPO doesn’t realize that sites built upon the backs of users are fads.”

previewLefsetz is right about one thing.

The mainstream media – print and broadcast – love to carry on about how huge social media is these days. And at times it can be – like in the wake of some dramatic news – but 99 times out of 100, it’s inconsequential and pretty much a waste of everybody’s time.

How did it come to this, Lefsetz asks.

“Like every fad, once upon a time Twitter was cool,” he explains. “You know how it works, you hear about something from your hipster friends, you say you don’t need it but eventually you dive in, love it and then abandon it. Come on, how often do you update your Facebook page now?

“Furthermore, those who fan the flames of cool, the young ‘uns, are always on the hunt for the latest and the greatest, moving on to new social networks their parents are unaware of, only to abandon them when they fall out of favor, or when everybody else is there, or lose their cred.”

Unknown-1There you have it, Huey Lewis was right; it’s hip to be square again.

I mean, really, does it really matter to however many friends and family members that you finally saved up enough to buy a Micky Mantle baseball card? Or more likely, that you opted to eat lunch at Freddy’s instead of Chic-fil-A.

No offense, but who really cares?

“Do we need a real time news service?” Lefstez postulates. “One in which we can learn the comings and goings of those we’re interested in and facts from the street from the millions of reporters that the traditional media industry cannot provide? Yes.

“So you’ll find out the world ended first on Twitter. But you won’t get any analysis. That’s hard to do in 140 characters. You might even find out your favorite singer got hitched or busted or smashed his or her car in a DUI. But do we really want to know the comings and goings of everyday people? No.

“Call it the blockbuster mentality. We’re not interested in what most people do, only a few. Remember when every day your inbox was cluttered with a joke? I haven’t gotten one in years. Because people were thrilled they could connect with old friends from around the world, but they really didn’t have much to say past the initial greeting, so they sent jokes. But now everybody expects to be in contact with everybody they ever knew all the time. So there are no jokes. E-mail is for business. Maybe personal, but people complain when their inbox is being cluttered.

“Facebook was cool for a minute because you could hook up with those you’d lost touch with and burnish your own self-image, trying to tell your high school buddies you’d won. But then you realized that once you graduated, no one really cared. As a result, it’s only a hard core who are Facebooking today. And there’s only a hard core who are tweeting.

627“I’ve about given up. Because unless I reach deep down inside, try to be witty and viral all the time, unless I consider it my job, almost nothing I have to say will be seen by almost anybody, and it’s just too frustrating to continue. So I’ve dropped out. And so have so many others. Oh, we’ve still got Albert Brooks and Kelly Oxford, but so many I used to follow have gone silent.”

In Lefsetz world people who tweet about the meaningless details of their lives are largely losers, wringing their hands over how many friends or Twitter followers they have. It’s like they’re in back high school vying for status and popularity with the mean girls crowd.

“Twitter followers are like virtual badges, they’re ultimately meaningless…” Lefsetz scolds. “It’s not like being the king of Twitter pays…

“Everybody in America is lonely and looking to be important. They believe someone is interested in their travails when the truth is we all live in silos, unless you’re truly famous, which comes with its own set of downsides. And the news people are trumpeting this stuff you can live without. Links to some blog or videoclip done by some hack with no impact. Or else it’s the same viral sensation you’re already aware of, like that video about the fox. And then the mainstream media hypes the same damn thing making like it’s important when it’s truly not.”

Screen shot 2013-09-16 at 1.41.17 PMLefsetz bottom line:

“The Internet has turned into a giant game that everybody’s trying to win at and few can. Remember when everybody was gonna have a Webpage, then a blog? How long do you think they’re gonna be interested in Tumblr or Pinterest? Remember how long Turntable.fm lasted?

“So I won’t say there’s nothing there at Twitter. There is a kernel. A nugget. But following people is time-consuming, and ever less fulfilling. As for participating yourself, why would you?”

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14 Responses to Hearne: The Irrational Exuberance of Facebook & Twitter

  1. harley says:

    its not hip to be square anymore….
    with facebook I get to communicate with all my family and friends.
    At one time my family in florida and California…wouldn’t see or
    communicate with them but maybe oncevevery 3-5 months…now we
    communicate and share our lives every day on facebook.
    we exchange photos….stories….we follow each other’s lives so
    its not like they live 2000 milesaway ….its like they’re with us
    all technology is changingthe world…something 5000 miles away
    gets noted within seconds of happening….I can follow the world
    with a click….
    the young kidsdon’t gotto bars anymore looking for a hookup…its
    now click and roll.
    I knew of 5 dui checkpoints with a click on Friday night (although I
    never drink and drive)…
    the world is smaller and like evolution…you either adapt or
    you die…
    glaze has 5000 friends…I have about 180…but mine are people I
    love reading about…not some strangers who friended me for
    business or to follow my life.
    So while many older friends of mine never really embraced the
    internet…or hardly use it….I found it an incredible new way to
    do businesst …meet people…communicate…learn things tha t
    I neverk new….new ways to influence people…change the world…
    and when I speak with my biz partners who are some of the
    brightest doctors in the nation they tell me the internet has
    changed the way medicine and health care is changing and the
    way its delivered.
    Its not cool to be square. I love facebook but recently saw that
    people are using it less and less.
    makes life easier and cheaper.
    for my business…it’s been a wash..good and bad.
    but I did find an investor on the internet when they read about
    my proposal from someone who emailed them what I was doing.
    I always say the world is changing. 4000 people showed up
    at a party with a single text! and eventually the kids won’t
    go to school..they’ll learn on a computer..
    Sure we olders would rather sit and talk over a beer
    or hear the kids voices instead of getting a text.
    Everybody is going nowhere…heading there in a hurry
    and don’t have time to call.
    Regardless…we live in an incredible world.
    A relative of mine suffered thru the depression/no money for heat or food/major
    commander in pattons army…was the first American into Buchenwald concentration
    camp …lost his son in an auto accident….endured more terrible times than
    I ever imagined…Yet when one of his family complained about life today his
    learn to adapt…its a beautiful…incredible world we’re all living in!!!!!!!

  2. harley says:

    hearne holds up my comments and then publishes them….because
    I used his name one time.
    but I got an email and I wanted to reiterate something in my previous
    comment before I leave for “lost wages”.
    while facbooking /twittering/texting etc. is very convenient
    I still love the face to face interaction with friends and family.
    Nothing replaces the feeling seeing my 3rd and 4 th cousins
    who are like my brothers.
    And the nice chats on the computer are nothing compared to
    the incredible conversations in person with friends and family.
    Not 140 words limitations…but the talks about fun/happy/
    great/not so great things happening in life.
    yes technology is great…but nothing like heading to vegas
    for 2 days with people I’ve grown up with since kindergarten.
    sure we’ll roll the dice/drink a ton of booze/but to see them
    again….ain’t nothing like it folks…NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. the dude says:

    No plans soon to facespace or twatter any time soon.
    If Glaysure could wrap his old, addled brain around the technology he would be all over it like white on rice.

  4. charles says:

    I guess that means that the 8-track player and cassettes really aren’t coming back.

  5. I think I’ve read some similar sentiments from Lefsetz posted in this space previously, and I couldn’t agree more. Not to mention, the facebook and the twitter have been around awhile now. I did both for multiple years, and finally became thoroughly bored. One’s gotta keep movin’ on.

    That said, when the next facebook and twitter arrives, I’ll be the first to check them out and participate for a time. There’s a difference in this life between having your head stuck in the sand and knowing when your face has been chapped by the desert wind for long enough already.

  6. balbonis moleskine says:

    Zombo.com is the best site out there

  7. Rich says:

    LOL at the cartoon graphic at the end. The other subhuman FB/Twatter types that need to be pounded with a bag of hammers are those taking and posting selfies.

  8. Mysterious J says:

    No comment 🙂

  9. RickM says:

    “However, most people in the know recognize that not keeping up with technology is lame, unfashionable and unhip even.”

    Gee, I don’t want to be seen as unhip so I better get an FB account to find out what Newt Gingrich had for lunch that day.

    Seriously, job seekers have a particular reason for staying off most social media. If some prospective employer or HR dept. does a background search, finds something you post and takes it out of context, you’re literally out of a job.

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