'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
FEEDBACK FROM THE TWITTER-FACE-SPACE PATROL
A while back I wrote a column about online social networks such as “Twitter,” “MySpace,” and “Facebook”—or as I called them for short, “Twitter-Face-Space.” I explained that my plan was to sign up and use those services so I could better understand why they are so popular nowadays. But something got in the way of my plan: my life. I concluded these social networks are incredible time-wasters, and the people who use them frequently have exactly no life.
Maybe it’s just me, but spending countless hours sharing intimate personal details with total strangers, not to mention countless hours spent learning intimate personal details of celebrities, does not strike me as a good use of one’s valuable time.
Not surprisingly, that column generated a lot of feedback. The email notes I received fell into two general categories: the “you’re an idiot” category, and the “look who’s talking about wasting time!” category.
Messages in the first category often employed online shorthand, such as: “U R DUM,” “I PRAY 4 U 2 DIE,” “WTF’S YUR PROBLEM?” and, “YLOAACOTICMITB” (which is a abbreviation for, “Your lack of appreciation and comprehension of these innovative communication methods is truly breathtaking”).
Many other notes were either written in a shorthand code I do not understand, or else the writer’s pet gerbil escaped from its cage and did a tap-dance on the computer keyboard, generating a stream of completely random characters.
Messages in the second category, thankfully, were typed using real words (what a concept!). On the other hand, because real words were used, I understood exactly what was being communicated, which was not often very pleasant. Here are a few of these messages:
“Time waster? You’re kidding, right? All you ever write about are the dopey Red Sox. Anyone with that much information about baseball stuffed into his head has certainly wasted most of his life.” Signed: Terry Francona.
“How can you say Facebook is a waste of time? I notice that you often discuss golf in your column. There has never been anything invented by mankind that wastes more time—not to mention money and patience and natural resources—than the game of golf.” Signed: Jack Nicklaus.
“People who follow celebrities on Twitter have no life? Get real. You constantly mention celebrity trivia in your weekly column. Whichever way you gather this information, the conclusion is obvious: you, my friend, have no life either.” Signed: Brittney Spears.
“Oh please, how can you insult the millions of people who use online social networks? They have no life? Your columns frequently quote obscure movie dialog, and you proudly discuss your vast collection of DVDs. Is this not a huge waste of time on your part, sir?” Signed: Steven Spielberg.
“If you spent as much time working around your house as you spend complaining about the work that needs to be done, you’d have a gorgeous home.” Signed: Bob Villa.
“Fact: you claim MySpace is a waste of time. Fact: you constantly discuss plotlines of network television programs. Conclusion: you are wasting your entire life away!” Signed: Dwight Schrute, Assistant (to the) Regional Manager.
“I find it interesting that you write a column each and every week, regardless of whether you have anything to say or not. Although it is obvious that you put little thought or effort into these 600-word exercises in vacuity, they surely take up a certain amount of time. Maybe some introspection on your part will reveal a better use of this time. Also, you have an annoying habit of inventing quotations and assigning someone else’s name to them. Please stop this.” Signed: Editor, Accent Section.
* * *
(Note: after being told countless times that I'm all wrong about Facebook, and it's actually the greatest thing since sliced cheese, blah, blah, blah, I gave in and set up an account. So I posted some dopey snapshots, volunteered far too much personal information, tried to figure out what the heck a "wall" is, struggled with the should-I-friend-him-or-not thing, and now after less than three days of being a facebooker, I thoroughly regret it! Check it out if you'd like, but I'll probably update my stuff very, very infrequently.)
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