As I watched Christopher Nolen’s latest movie, Inception, I had a line from another one of his movies, The Dark Knight, pop into my head:

You know, they’re schemers. Schemers trying to control their little worlds. I’m not a schemer. I try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are.

I thought of it, because at the heart of the movie Inception are schemers.  People who are trying to control their world by planting the idea into a man’s head that he wants to break beak up the company his father built.  It is against this backdrop and lost in a world endless possibility the Leonardo DiCaprio’s character makes the pronouncement: “What’s the most resilient parasite? An idea. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules.”

In the end I think that I agree with this idea, which brings me to my real topic: Facebook.

Although this is what prolong exposure can feel like.

About two months back I committed was is most commonly referred to as “Facebook suicide.”  There are a myriad of reasons I did this that include things like I never really used it, that I was sick of all the Farmville and mob requests I received, and finally there were all of the on-going privacy concerns.  Taken together I decided that it was just not worth my time and effort to keep my account, espically if I had to deal with such a large baggage train.  And behold, my life has become so much better!  My inbox is much less cluttered, I don’t see all of the updates that I could have lived without from people I only was vaguely curious to know about, and it makes it harder for people to “tag” me in photos or otherwise link me to some of the stupid things I’ve done over the years.

I love previews.  And when I watched Inception there was a preview for a new movie called The Social Network, which more or less tells the story of the inception of Facebook.  Meaning that one idea has changed the way 500,000,000 people act on a day-to-day basis. To put that into perspective the idea that you can share your life with your “friends” via the computer has affected the lives of more people than are currently living in the USA, Canada, and Mexico combined.

Facebook is really a place where people should be able to share parts of their lives, and to connect with those they wish to, but like all great ideas it has evolved (or devolved, depending on your point of view) into something that is only a parody of that initial goal of connecting people.  Size changes things.  Sometimes in very unexpected ways, and the behemoth size Facebook has reached and the onslaught of information it provides about the lives of its users has brought forth some unexpected consequences.  Take for example this article, which is basically about how kids are now showing up to college without the interpersonal skills they need to deal with the dreaded freshman-roommate.   Or stop at your local bookstore and pick a book in the vain of The Dumbest Generation, which is basically about how being connecting all the time is taking people away from the quiet time you need to grow as a person.  Or just look at this final article in which the “tell-all” generation learns the value of omission. These are things that are being eroded away by social networking, and who is to say if that is a good thing or not?

And while I can’t say what the long term consequences of the social revolution are, the unflinching truth is that for a growing portion of the people that use it, Facebook has become so puerile that it is the equivalent of always having that ex-girl/boyfriend calling you when you’ve not returned a phone call of theirs in FOR-EV-ER!  The sad part is that Facebook, like those exes has the the audacity or stupidity to assume you are always happy to hear from them. The problem is that if Facebook connects someone to a distant and dimly remembered name from the past, it is increasingly only in a cursory or perfunctory manner.

In many ways, Facebook represents the exact opposite of all the things it takes to build a real connection with somebody.  Of course not everyone is going to be your “bestest-friend-ever!;” however, for any real connection the basics still remain.  You have to make time for a friendship by taking time out of something else you are doing.  You, usually, have to go out of your way to make a new and lasting friendship, and in doing so you have to share something of yourself that is more than just a trite summary of what you’ve been doing to today or geo-tagging (that is the most annoying thing ever…unless you are my girlfriend or immediate family, I don’t care where you are if you are not sharing space with me) the restaurant you are eating at.

I'm gonna give it to em!

I’ve never thought of myself as a Luddite, as I generally enjoy seeing new technology in action, but the faster things move in this world, the more prone humans seem to be to throw the baby out with the bath water, and if the rising trend of teenagers who can’t hash out simple roommate problems is any indication, it may be a good time to stop and ponder if, like the good people of Gotham, we have a monster running rampant though the streets, who is fixated on mayhem as yet undreamed.  Or perhaps we have simply slipped too many levels down into the dreams of a digital age.  Or it might just be the case  that Facebook is “not a monster, [it’s] just ahead of the curve!”  Time will tell, but it would be nice if this was one dream that we didn’t have to kill ourselves to escape.