All my friends are doin' it

Posted 08.27.14

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | It's a rare person today who criticizes "social media" as a basic tool of communication. Just look at any gaggle of teens in the mall, all tapping away on their phones as if they each were alone in the world; look at adults constantly checking their mail on a date, during supper, while driving. People sleep with their cell phones, and check them during the night.

Doesn't everyone comment with a 140-letter profundity on every thing they see or hear? Don't all moms discuss with their ten-year olds what they're planning for supper as they wait at the check-out counter? We're hooked, and it's good!

Civil servants and consultants with the City have told us they are now using "social media" to reach taxpayers; the federal government releases major policy statements and legislative agenda items on Twitter.

The Prime Minister -- what a guy!-- congratulates folks who've won the lottery with another Twitter, and consoles those who've lost family members in Syria the same way.

An interview by the national press corps on the new budget, on cuts to hospitals, on funding for asbestos or tar-sands research-how old fashioned! Check facebook.

No one, absolutely no one, questions these uses. They're so perfectly natural. My goodness, how else could the Premier or the Mayor get an audience of thirty million listeners?

Who cares if they're in sub-Saharan Africa, they are "eyeballs" and "clicks.". That's what counts, numbers of eyeballs on a website, numbers, big numbers, astronomical numbers!

Yet researchers tell us that 40 percent of all facebook users are bots. Media consultants announce they have "farms" generating positive responses to their own messages, sites, twitters, and products sold by their clients. Some farm-generated commentators are not positive. No matter. They're numbers!

Hey, my<’i> friends all follow Facebook. Therefore: Everybody does.

This winter the city of Gatineau announced that despite canceling publicity in traditional media (like this newspaper) and switching to "social media", more residents are not composting. Recycling is actually declining. And that, despite all the exhortations pumped out on Twitter!

The Canadian Cancer Society tells us that skin cancer is spreading as never before - despite their switching to social media and texting warnings. What an improvement on traditional media!

And, now, the next blessing is on-line grocery shopping. Already in Britain, South Korea, Japan, the US and France, on-line grocery shopping has expanded dramatically.

In England, Ocado will deliver your texted-in shopping list, while in France shoppers drive to the grocery drive-thru and pick up their order. The Economist magazine reports that Ocado has yet to turn a profit after a decade of business - and also that surveys show on-line shoppers spend a whooping 30 percent more than when they walk through the aisles themselves.

Hey, millions, billions are clicking through our website! Hey, all our friends are Facebooking! Hey, just a second, got a message -- a lady in Nigeria has left me 6.5 million euros! Sweet potatoes cure cancer! Wow! Wow…


Copyright © 2014 Fred Ryan/Log Cabin Chronicles/08.14