Jim Shelley & Book Of Kills

You Are Not News

I've long professed the fact that I just don't much care about Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and whatever social medium is the flavor of the month for promoting the big poop your poodle took on her morning walk earlier today. Yes, I know I am publishing semi-regular updates on this very social media thing called bookofkills.com, but I post on it (almost) exclusively to promote my own music and my love of music as made by others such as The Beatles or Bob Dylan or the few local bands I'm aware of such as Buck Gooter and SLeePFeeDeR. I simply do not care about you documenting your life by the hour on Facebook. And I don't care to document my own for you. Oh, I check in on Facebook every once in a while mainly to "like" something someone says (how absurdly silly to "like" a comment or to "poke" someone...I still don't know what poking actually means) or to wish someone a happy birthday or congratulations, but if I never saw Facebook again, it wouldn't matter to me one teeny tiny bit. That's why I love this mini-essay from Reza Aslan, found in Sunday's Washington Post:

"What is your status? Please do share. Make sure to inform us of what you are eating or reading or doing at this very moment. Convince us you are happy and fulfilled. Otherwise, how would we know?

I'm not the first person to decry how publicly self-involved we have become. And I'm certainly no less addicted to my smartphone than the average American multitasker, as my wife will attest. But there is a fine line between relying on social media for information and communication--and using it to broadcast your every experience.

Have I interrupted a date with my wife to keep up with the latest happenings in Ukraine? Yes. Have I done so to Instagram my salad because (OMG!) it has currants in it? Never.

Does that make me a social media elitist? Probably.

But I am concerned about the way our obsession with the status update has transformed reality into something else entirely. When we regularly step out of the present in order to record it, filter it and then share it with people we do not care enough about to actually be around, we are removing ourselves from the moments we're documenting. Our filtered lives are subsuming our real ones.

So by all means enjoy that salad. But stop documenting it. No one needs a press conference about your appetizer. You are not news."

And before I leave this blog today, here's one more related quotation from David McCullough, Jr.:

"The great and curious truth of the human experience is that selflessness is the best thing you can do for yourself."