Sunday, February 19, 2012


I've been a little stressed out recently, so when I was looking for someone on the dominant social network while laying on the couch with my son I started scrolling through people's faces (using a tablet from a certain computer company) --  and was somehow overcome with joy looking at all these people from various phases of my life, all of whom having selected a picture of themself which they think represents them best to the world -- an excellent smile, or a picture of them with kids.  And I was, truth be told, thankful to Mark Z. for having put together this pretty cool platform.

It's not that I'm not conscious that users of fbook are lambs to the slaughter of marketers.  I get that and find it a little discomforting too.  But at the end of the day, the platform has its uses, and it does a good job putting and keeping people in touch.

There was an article in the Times somewhere recently on the death of the cyberflaneur, the early promise of the web to promote random strolling and serendipity in the style of the heros of Walter Benjamin's and Charles Baudelaire's visions of the great avenues of Paris back in the day.  And it's true, one doesn't do much of that.  But if your network on the platform which must not be named is fat and random and inclusive enough (i.e. you're friends with people of opposite political parties), you can still get a reasonable degree of randomness out of it.

In any case, the overwhelming feeling I had looking at all those smiling faces was that I'd love to see so many of those people more often.

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