So Sources Close to the Hill tell me he is indeed gone from Microsoft and these same sources have provided blogspot info and facebook page addresses, which I had been hoping to avoid. The blogspot thing has no way to contact him, and gives the impression that the man is currently wandering around Russia wearing a kilt. It surprises me that his blog is reverse-reading type, which I thought the Starch Readership Reports reported was hard for people to read way back in something like 1962. Ironic.
But the Facebook page. Now see, that is a problem. Because there is something about Facebook that just makes my skin crawl and I hate to have to join it just to track down Bill Hill. I dislike LinkedIn too, which I got snagged into years ago, but haven't had the time to figure out how to make my darn page there just go away.
Facebook is one of those things I could easily take a stand against and then end up using out of sheer peer pressure, so I am watching my words here. I see its appeal for people in college. For people older than thirty, it just seems sad to me.
Perhaps I've been involved in computer security discussions too many times for my own good, but if a total stranger came up to you on a city street corner and asked you your birthdate and the names of closest friends and what you were currently reading and what you were currently listening to, wouldn't you be slightly repressed about answering? And yet we can't wait to put all that stuff on Facebook, where it becomes part of a huge database owned by a corporation with no moral agenda.
My real problem with Facebook is that, unliked Linked-In, which is basically a resume service and has no pretence to warmth, Facebook gives us the illusion that we have real, working relationships. It allows us to "keep up" with people without actually doing the hard work of interacting with them. With Facebook, we can avoid the back and forth of real conversation--posts are not conversation-- and thereby reduce the friction with which real communication burnishes friendship after the age of fifteen or so.
Facebook also reduces "friends" to a numbers game. Real friends? if you're lucky, you'll have three in your lifetime. To devalue the concept of friendship, to commodify it-- that's a depressing outcome of social networking. When all friends are equally important, none is important.
Facebook is attractive because it is a large, clean grid into which we can enter, a grid that makes life less complex, provides a sense of boundary, of safety, of organization, of comfort. With the population so much larger than it was even ten years ago, an organizing system for people is useful. And so much more fun than having a small number tattooed on one's forearm.
I've signed up and look! I have so many friends. I must be of value. I can sit here and create and promote a better me. I can clean up my existence and create a false-fronted representation of my life. Hey. Let's all contribute and create a huge network of false-fronted lives, lives that make us all feel of value, of importance, to ourselves if to no one else.
I can play Facebook all day long, and avoid the real work of my life, the work of becoming "single, separate, vertical and individual," as Wallace Stegner once said.
I can always avoid the work of my life in other ways, but this particular procrastination device is more attractive than my previous procrastination devices-- it's designed to change and refresh and update constantly before my eyes. It keeps me busy and happy in my chair. Facebook keeps me busy like a baby with a mobile over the crib.
Really, why spend too much time in real life where things get hard, where people make so little sense, where sadness erupts, where life can be messy and confusing? Why not just sit here and write little things and look at the pictures of all my friends and post to people from my past whom I never bothered to contact before contacting them became as easy as typing in a search? But we're in touch now, and isn't that nice? Something of a relief, feeling like we're in touch again.
Maybe I'll just sit here, honing the constructed image of my life until there's no time left for me to create a real one. It will be easier on the world. Fewer people thinking thoughts. Fewer people questioning. Fewer people rocking the boat.
But what am I saying. I'll probably end up joining.