Sound Observations

Humor, sports and social satire from an absurd modern world. Comments are encouraged and appreciated. Welcome!

Location: Nashville, Tennessee, United States

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Why Will Destroy the World

This column originally appeared at February 9th, 2006.

At last count, has roughly 12 trillion users with their own personal niche carved into the world-wide web. This is a catastrophe waiting to happen.

For those of you who don't know, is a self-described "Place for friends" to connect, re-connect, and disconnect in a safe, user-friendly environment that promotes benefiscence and global communication. Sounds innocent, right? I mean, who wouldn't want to find their high school sweetheart, teenage pen pal, summer camp counselor, and favorite R & B singer's personal site in under 5 minutes? It must be a modern-day phenomenon!

Maybe not. Since the increasing everday worldwide absorption of the internet, global communication has become as easy as clicking the mouse a couple of times and letting the good times roll, whether it be email, job searches, finding movie times, locating that Pabst Blue Ribbon beer sign on Ebay, or discovering the inherent joy of Lithuanian Acid-Induced Gymnasium Pornography. Good times indeed. MySpace, however, takes it to a whole new level. It's gotten personal.

I don't write this as an outside observer. Sure, I've received many an invite from people that I know well, and I've listened to rave reviews about how a buddy reconciled with a former girlfriend, only to have the current girlfriend become dangerously irate and threaten to perform a "butterfly cut" on the buddy testicles, but I still had my doubts. I signed up for the damn thing about a month ago.

Instantly my world was rocked. The planet was at my fingertips. I could find people that were really into table tennis, loved to read John Milton, or appreciated the subtle artistry of Beavis and Butthead. Not only that, they could immediately become my "friends," promoting a sense of community of which I had only dreamed.

With slight amusement, I watched as high school classmates and other previously known aquaintances sent welcome messages to my "website." "Wow," I thought. "I haven't heard from that guy in ten years!" I then realized that I had been registered on the site for only about an hour. The walls were already caving in. This was getting a little disturbing.

I had to cancel my account within two hours of creating it. I have friends, but I'm not that popular. It was like I was a moose in central Canada, and people couldn't wait to bag me as their MySpace pal. "They're everwhere! Retreat!" My email was blowing up like never before. It's chilling to know that many people know where you are and what you're doing. It led me to think...

Globalization of information has assisted in building international businesses from scratch, but it changes people on a personal level. Some of you might be a proponent of the dating services available online. Others may see the intrinsic danger of anonymous chat, leading to predatory encounters.

Now, don't label me as a moralist. Those of you who know me know that I'm maybe the last person to go to for personal ethical advising. However, I'm concerned that as globalization increases, cultural differences wane, and individualization disseminates into cyberspace. It's not a popular opinion, but one worth considering.

Old-fashioned? Maybe. The way I see it, if you really had wanted to get in touch with your little league baseball team before MySpace, it would have taken an effort that said team would certainly appreciate. The ease of communication in the modern day could be cause for alarm. Is it hypocritical that I'm posting this on an internet weblog? Perhaps, but I see it as hitting 'em where they congregate.



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