Mark A. Carter
 

SOCIAL MEDIA: drivel, gossip,
innuendo, and mind control

World famous Canadian Science Fiction novelist Mark A. Carter gives his two cents worth about Social Media.

If you expect to find me participating in the nether realm of the blogosphere or the twitterverse, you can forgetaboutit. You won't. It's all drivel, which is generally defined as non-sense, twaddle, claptrap, balderdash, gibberish, rubbish, mumbo jumbo, garbage, crapola, and verbal diarrhea; and, represents an utter devolution of language to the point of minimalism akin to the crude gesticulations, grunts, and shrieks of our distant ancestors before we developed the ability to speak. The last term of that definition suitably sums up my impression of social media. It's verbal diarrhea. And as far as I'm concerned, the digital miasma of these addictive obsessions is swirling an entire generation of humans and perhaps our civilization, if you can call it civilized, down the drain at an accelerated pace. But I get ahead of myself.

If you Google my name you will, no doubt, find my Doppelgängers out there in the blogosphere. But I have better things to do. I am too busy being creative. I am too busy doing research, dreaming up stories, and writing. I am disconnected from the banality, the drivel, and the hive mentality of social media by choice.

If I was playing the game, I would make up a lame excuse like: I haven't gotten around to blogging, friending, or tweeting yet. And I would create the fictional mystique of an antiquated author who has a distrust of and a love/hate relationship with technology that has kept me from delving into social media. I would further embellish my fabrication by explaining that I still have a land line in this day and age and never shall get a cellphone because they are just too complicated for me to fathom. And I would cap the fictional persona of incompetence with the confession that I am surrounded by technology that I hate. I am sick and tired of downloads and updates, of optimization and virus checks. I have passwords and user names up the whazoo. I am one stroke away from forgetting how to configure the simple speed dial on my telephone. In fact, I am so tired of technology that, if I didn't rely on it for research, sales, web site development, and writing, I would chuck it all and go live in a cave like Timon the hero of an obscure Problem Play called Timon of Athens by one William Shakespeare. Who knew?

But let's get real. I always have been and always shall be a tech lad. Be that as it may, I never shall blog, friend, or tweet. It isn't that I can't. It is a conscious choice not to take that mind numbing drug. No one in their right mind or worth their creative salt would waste their time in the drivel and digital miasma of social media. The closest thing I could equate to it would be taking a dive into a pool of liquid excrement, as in the 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire. And what rational person wants to go there? Yikes.

Emma Thompson, in a May 20, 2014 Vanity Fair interview with Julie Miller, when asked whether she would ever join Twitter, had a similar opinion of social media. What she said was this:

Listen, I'd rather have root canal treatment FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE than join Twitter. I can't bear the thought of being connected all the time. God knows what it's all doing to us.
 

And when asked whether she ever Googled herself, she replied:

Putting my head in the toilet and flushing it repeatedly would be a more cleansing experience.
 
 
Still from Slumdog Millionaire copyright 2008, Celador Films, Film4 Productions, Pathé, and Eros Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.


Ha.

If I was disingenuous, I would say: please take pity on me. I am a troubled soul caught between a rock and a hard place. If I did blog, friend, or tweet, I could talk about my books with a wide audience of friends. And book sales would be up. But I don't know how. So, I am going to rely on all of you to take up the torch on my behalf. If you like my books, by all means, spread the word on social media, baby.

But the reality is I don't believe that anyone who blogs, friends, or tweets actually reads novels. Quite frankly, to borrow a term from the 1932 novel Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley, I think people who waste their time in the blogosphere and the twitterverse punching out their hash tags one-liners are gamma minus morons. At least their comments seem to suggest they are. God knows, they cannot write a single clear, concise, utilitarian sentence without errors. Moreover, I question their thinking process. And quite honestly, I question whether they can even read.

Years ago, when I asked my granddaughter, who was around twelve at the time, and was constantly texting her friends on her cellphone, to read a small passage of text out loud from my computer monitor, she couldn't articulate two words. I have seen children in grade two reading The Adventures of Dick and Jane who had better reading skills. So, what good would my deep dive into the digital miasma of social media achieve except to bore me beyond belief, frustrate me to no end, and waste my valuable time?

Brave New World (1932) by Aldous Huxley.  

My definition of social media is this:

Social media is a digital ocean of demented drivel that passes for thinking amid the hive mentality of the mindless minions where the craft of writing sentences has become a legend from a bygone era as language devolves toward oblivion.

It is the last place anyone with half a mind would want to be. So, my question is: why is it out there? And why are we encouraged to participate in it?

The blogosphere, the twitterverse, and what have you are all drivel, gossip, innuendo, and incoherent snippets of unsubstantiated grammatically incorrect and misspelled quasi-opinion written by digitally addicted gamma minus morons.

Emma Thompson, in the aforementioned Vanity Fair interview suggests that social media is an experiment.

I hope that everyone does realize that we are all just one giant human experiment at the moment. We are just a great big bunch of little gerbils on wheels.

Personally, I suspect that social media is a means for government mind control. The average mind is easily persuaded to do just about anything. The mind of the average person is not trained in logic. It is motivated by feelings and by intuition and is susceptible to suggestion. Political parties know this. That is why the most popular candidate wins and not the best candidate. He wins because of good looks, the color of his tie, the scuff of his shoes, and what he has been coached to say. And if he is a better actor, and sweats less than his opponent, we vote for him. We are manipulated utterly, despite being told that we have a choice.

My worry is that the addiction of texting, of blogging, of being on-line constantly, from the moment we get up to the moment we go to sleep is setting ourselves up for suggestion. It is setting us up for mind control. H. G. Wells speaks about insidious mind control in his 1895 novella The Time Machine. Whereas, air raid sirens once called civilians to underground shelters to survive the aerial bombing of London in World War II and III, in the far future air raid sirens call the beautiful but mind controlled Eloi underground to be devoured by the carnivorous and hideous Morlocks.

But in our future, the social media suggestion might be as simple as the statement: "Time to die." It may very well be the government's answer to overcrowding. It would be a human cull on an unprecedented scale. A simple suggestion would be transmitted to bloggers worldwide. And billions of the faithful would perish by their own hand on the same day.

Emma Thompson says something similar.

In about 25 years, maybe, a sudden generation will just drop dead. Everyone will just die on the same day. We will wonder why an entire generation chucks itself off a cliff like a bunch of lemmings. What do these people have in common? They were connected every day 24/7.

Perhaps all the government need do to initiate the human cull would be to shut down the cellular communication system worldwide and/or to shut down the internet for a time. The withdrawal would be unbearable for internet addicts and they would commit suicide en masse.

 
In 1859, a coronal mass ejection hit Earth's magnetosphere and burned out telegraph systems all over Europe and North America. It was called the Carrington Event. Today, if a Carrington-like solar megaflare recurred, and there is a one in eight chance of it happening in our lifetime, the CME would fry all of our electronics worldwide. And because we are so reliant on our electronics, it would take us down as a technological civilization for years, decades, and perhaps centuries. It would literally plunge us into a New Dark Age without electricity, gas, or water. And the same human response among the internet addicted would ensue. At least they would depart before the grocery stores were depleted and the cannibalism began. But that is food for thought.
 
   
 
A Coronal Mass Ejection or CME is depicted heading towards Earth in this artwork courtesy of universetoday.com.

My last point is this: one of the greatest delusions among people who occupy the blogosphere is that they have the right to speak their minds. No, Virginia, you are mistaken. You have no rights. You only have privileges, baby. And as easily as privileges are granted to you, they can be denied. All it takes is the stroke of a pen. So, tread softly and speak quietly while you are allowed the privilege to express your pathetic, so-called, opinions. Be respectful of the privilege you have been granted.

My advice is stop letting the blogosphere control your life. It isn't real. Stop letting others think for you. Break away from group think, from the hive mind of the blogosphere, and think for yourself. And don't do everything you think. Some thoughts are crazy. Just because you think them doesn't mean you have to do them. Calm down. Eat some fruit. Read a book. Go for a walk. Listen to the birds. Plant a garden. Actually talk with real people face to face. Do you ever really know who you are communicating with on-line?

If you have not yet taken the plunge into social media, don't. Save yourself. If you have not yet been trapped by it, but have suffered its debilitating intoxication, detox now: unplug before you harm yourself beyond recovery. But alas, for most users who have plunged into the depths of the digital miasma, I suspect that it is already too late. Like a lobster who has found the bait set out for you and has been intoxicated by it, you cannot discern your way out of the trap. Perhaps, if you are truly that far gone, you don't even realize you are trapped. In that case, you are doomed. Je suis désolé.

Only time will reveal the full damage of this insidious social media experiment.

Read: Antisocial
Bug-Eyed Monsters
Recycling
Sexting

Now you know.

from the imagination of Mark A. Carter - novelist

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