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Internet Bandwagons

Dan Blaufuss | October 2009

    I balked for quite some time at getting a Facebook account. With two email addresses plus a MySpace page, I felt that I spent enough time keeping up with the internet. I finally caved in a couple years ago when a friend told me that the reason I never heard about social events anymore was because they were all planned on Facebook. I thought this was a lousy way to keep everybody informed, but some battles are unwinnable.
    Now I check Facebook more often than email. I haven’t received an Evite in months, but every few days an event invitation awaits me when I log into Facebook. The cycling club I run is also entirely on Facebook. I plan an annual autumn trip to a corn maze near the Wisconsin border, and this year I sent out invites to that only by Facebook, making me into exactly what I used to complain about.
    Early this year I was also badgered into signing up for a Twitter account. An old college roommate and a couple friends from church use it extensively, but as I spent time on Twitter, I realized that there were very few people I knew there. I quit updating it after two weeks and quite checking it altogether a week after that. Many other friends have said the same thing. There aren’t enough people I know using it regularly to make me want to use it regularly.
    It reminds me about something I read about sarrusophones: few people played them because nobody wrote sarrusophone music, and few people wrote sarrusophone music because nobody played it. Today sarrusophones exist primarily in the hands of enthusiasts. Although I’ve never come across an abandoned sarrusophone, any data that makes it to the internet is supposedly there forever, which in turn leads me to wonder what will become of my abandoned Twitter account. Someone who finds me in the future will see two posts about setting up the account, two posts about biking, and two posts about me planning something evil. It’s strange to think that’s all someone may ever know about me.
    I think the lesson in this is not to sign up for something based on peer pressure or media buzz. Facebook was a good decision because I was able to reconnect with friends and relatives, stay informed about social events, and even play Scrabble online. Posting on Twitter felt like talking to my wall.