Wednesday, 28 March 2012

"Invention is the mother of necessity"

I just saw the notice: Blogger is getting a new look in April.  I learnt today that, come March 30, Facebook's Timeline will be mandatory.  When did these tools we opted to use begin to mildly frustrate us as their purveyors push what they think is better?  We could opt out - or could we?  Well, we could, but, we have grown an extra limb or two or three.   Getting through our days without the Twitter limb or - for some - the Facebook limb, seems like a crazy, far-fetched idea.  When the creators of these limbs twist our arms to get us to move in their direction, quite frankly, it doesn't take much effort on their part.  It's pretty much get with it or get out of the way!

You may know of my love and appreciation for Marshall McLuhan's quotes:  "The medium is the message/massage"; "We shape our tools and then our tools shape us" and, a more recent fave, "Invention is the mother of necessity"!  So, there you have it, folks!  Let's just take that all in for a moment, shall we?  (Tangent:  I do like that part of the Bio that says: "He was learning in spite of his professors, but he would become a professor of English in spite of himself."  Not too keen on the "training of perception" idea, though.  I think it bothers me... or intrigues me...?  Not yet sure which. I would have to explore whether my appreciation for these quotes is incongruous with that idea... I dunno.  And now is not the time to ponder this.)   Moving on.

We have indeed shaped our tools and, in turn, have been shaped by them.  Our priorities have changed; our preferences for the way we interact have been re-defined.  There is a tool for every mood; a tool for every kind of message.  The medium that we use helps to shape the (kind of) message we wish to send.  Sometimes you'd rather not call, just text - because, well, you know.  The invention of gadgets and electronic tools galore have birthed the (desperate) need for accessories we had no clue we sooo needed before they came on stream.  We have a gazillion ways to talk and interact with each other, but more and more of which have little to do with the original - face to face.  Not in a Skype or other video chat way, either, but, in the way where we can reach out and touch each other; hug; hold.   Question: If we had an opportunity to get together with all our followers, LinkedIn contacts or Facebook friends, for example, would we?  Or, ok, we might have placed them in categories based on shared interests.  Even then, would we want to be in the presence of all these people of like interests?  I imagine the answer depends quite a bit on our personality but, whatever it is, we gotta give thought to the possibility that, at any given time, there are people with whom we would want to be in touch with physically and there are those we don't.  Also, that there is a time when it's convenient to connect and a time when it is not. And, there is a tool, a medium, for every preference. 

More than anything, however, all this repeatedly brings home to me the distinction between what really matters and what doesn't.  What.  People close to me matter to me.  A lot.  However, a few offline contacts/friends have come to matter, too.  And the joy (the what) that they bring to my life is invaluable - even if just for a season.  So, while we *cough* I *cough* bond with a new PlayBook (thanks for helping me choose @MizDurie), discover new ways to connect online and indulge in reading on the go, I've come to accept a few things:  (1) The fast pace and accoutrements of technology will be around for a while.  (2) The occasional mild frustration is bearable when compared with the thought of a severed limb.  (3) There is peace in creating at my own pace and (4) It's important that I remain grounded and book face time!

Updated: 2012-03-28 at 4:28PM with link to story on FB's Timeline.



  1. Claudia, I need to re-read this whole thing. What do you mean "Facebook timeline is mandatory." ??
    * * *
    I have an inactive Facebook account. I strongly dislike Facebook and discontinued use there quite some time back.
    * * *
    & applause & "here here" on 'staying grounded and face time

  2. Hi Ms. Kaye! Re FB, a link would've helped, eh? I'll make an editor's note and provide the link in the blog. Some news sources indicate that it's for "pages"; others say it's for users. Come Friday, we'll see :)
    I have an FB account as well and will be going kicking and screaming into the new Timeline. Thank you so much for taking the time to read (and re-read :)).