Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bye/Hi

Two weeks shy of the third anniversary of my first blog entry there and closing in on forty thousand views, I'm shutting down my MySpace page and blog. My Facebook page is already gone. This lovely little landing strip will stay put, and more energy will go into keeping it current, in our mutual interest.

The decision had been building for a while, but it came to a head today. My head, actually. My fifteen-year-old asked if I had to be a friend with her on Facebook. In my dad-like way, I was enjoying this new avenue of communication with my kid, but failed to recognize the obvious cringe factor involved in having your own parentals somewhere in the virtual room with all your cool friends. So I said no, I did not, and I removed her profile from my friend list with maybe a little pause, then a bigger pause.

It struck me how much time I was spending every day on these two sites, deleting messages and event invitations to gigs in Scotland and Mississippi. And now deleting someone near and dear to me when I had complete strangers chatting to me daily about whatever was on their minds.

The morning ritual, along with coffee, had become to check for messages overnight on Facebook and MySpace. And there always were. And many needed replies, and business was starting to be conducted there, and it was consuming great hunks of my time, transfixed by what is happening in the Live Feed. Links to follow, videos to watch, mp3's to listen to. Books to find. 'Gifts' sent, left unopened and deleted. Someone sent you an obsidian paperweight, what would you like to send back? Flair? For a short while at the beginning, I gave people crummy old synthesizers. Lucky them. If it actually was that room full of your cool friends, no one would hear each other think.

Mornings turn into afternoons and...

Who has that kind of time?

I don't, unless there would be a way to do this and have them pay me, which is highly unlikely. I barely get done what I need to do online presently.

It's my fifteen-year-old and her cool friends who actually have the time. They have school and homework and Facebook, and they negotiate it a lot faster, downloading photos and changing layouts. I think it's great that some people can do this actively, especially some of the non-teenage ones who I suspect might be at work, too.

Me? I'm getting shitloads of NOTHING done with those two pages in my life, so I'm taking a man-sized action and killing them off before they suck down any more of my time.

I'm supposed to be using my time wisely, writing here anyway, right?

Plain White T's, I have not become there, and the spread of my influence through MySpace page's music player is probably negligible. It got down to putting up the Monkees' tribute tune and nothing else; I wasn't recording anything new, and the ancient catalog of near-hits is overmined elsewhere. I guess I'll miss that promotional tool that I used so well.

I had a wall. I don't like walls all that much, even virtual ones. Send a letter, don't scrawl on a wall.

So I had over two thousand friends on MySpace. Crowded room, there.

I heard from people I thought didn't exist anymore, people I'd watched from a distance but was able now to confess a crush from three decades before, people whose bands I'd worked with, roommates from school, classmates out the wazoo, people who needed you to write back and people who just wanted you to. People who heard my songs when they were getting together with their girlfriends or breaking up with their boyfriends. People who were there at the beginning, people who weren't born then til after the end. Some who sought me, others whom I unearthed. Not all two thou, but many letters in three years from all over Creation. I thank them all for writing.

I found people whose work I admired, too, and with whom I was able to cultivate a couple of superb conversations, very gratifying.

And it's not that I don't want to hear from old and new friends. I just can't be the kind of attentive friend I'd really try to be if we were in the same room. There are lunches to be packed, limbs to be pruned and dB's records to finish in my living world, and I can't spend near enough time with any one in my computer to make it worth their while.

I do owe the facility of the system at MySpace credit for making me into a blogger in the first place. Ease of use is a great there for a tenderfoot, and although I got the same error message (Blog advanced editor can't run on your current browser/OS) for three years, I could give a tinker's damn if I type in something like TextEdit.

It was never in my mind to become so beholden to my little MacBook and its path to the Internet, but it happened. The social networking sites' precedence has made it an all-or-nothing proposition for me, because I have never been able to practice much moderation in anything I do, like my fabulous drinking career. It's imperative that I remain connected on my computer for writing and recording, but there's no way I can do that if I'm constantly checking a message board. Hell, Craigslist is bad enough, and I can't stop shopping even if I'm not buying.

So I've made a choice that makes good sense for where my life is presently.

What I'm trying to say is, stay tuned here. This is where the action is now. Concentrated into this blog form, replete with images and links and the general morose pithiness you've come to expect from me (except not in this post). I still don't think I'm going to do mp3's here, with the ever-so-slight chance of having the RIAA descend on me with a giant leech, but maybe someone can talk me into it. The communication will be a little more one-sided, but replies will happen best as I can manage.

See you shortly, and thanks for keeping on here.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Nancy Baym said...

Well, as one of those old friends who found you on FB, I understand your choice here. I'm glad you're still blogging cuz it's so nice to have found you again after all these years.

Me, I went for the "I Study Socializing On The Internet" solution which means that all those hours spent doing all that stuff you mention is ... participant observation research!

Lawrence said...

and from one of your newer "friends" who wondered why he couldn't check out what you'd become a fan of today on Facebook, we'll miss you there, but glad to know you're here now! Peace,
Lawrence

Ed Ward said...

Don't worry about it: ever since I discovered you could write prose as well as songs, this has been where the action is for me. I check daily. Facebook has other uses for me, and while it was nice to have your name on the "friends" list, it won't matter one way or the other.

Uh, now to put the link to *your* blog on *mine*.

Tim Armstrong said...

Makes perfect sense! Oh, as a fan, I'm glad to read "dB's records to finish"...

Cheers, Tim

the sandwich life said...

delighted to hear it....this is my favorite venue....I fear I'm too old or SOMETHING for Facebook.....and Myspace? too damn ugly....this is where I like to read you....

many thanks for all your writing....

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry that happened with M...I know it broke your big ole heart.
It gets better, trust me. They get older and wiser just like we do.

Donna Lethal said...

I won't go on facebook. I don't need to be reminded of things I did in the 80s and "remember me" makes me cringe!

Debra Rae Cohen said...

I'm just sorry I don't still have an e-mail address for you--I hope you still have mine!

Debra Rae

Tom E. said...

Funny - I discovered you missing from FB when I was about to suggest you as a friend to CS (apparently a NEW FB member). Perhaps you should warn Chris before he gets too deep in this online lifestyle.

BTW, my pinging my kids resulted in one realizing that FB was no longer the hip hangout for her so she canned it. The shock of Dad dropping in must've been too much!