Facebook Status Updates Feed Connection Addiction

Facebook Example i i

hide captionFacebook updates allow you to see that one friend is losing a Scrabble battle while another one is walking his octopus.

Screen grab courtesy Heather Murphy
Facebook Example

Facebook updates allow you to see that one friend is losing a Scrabble battle while another one is walking his octopus.

Screen grab courtesy Heather Murphy

The holidays are usually a time when all but my nearest and dearest fall off my radar screen, as they retreat to their respective cocoons of family and friends.

But it's just the opposite this year thanks to microblogging. It's as if everyone has nothing better to do than text a day-to-day play-by-play of everything from sweeping up the pine needles in their living room to cleaning the wax out of their menorahs.

This time of year brings into sharp relief just how strangely mundane microblogging is. Don't believe me? Well, here's a sample of those supplied by over 400 people I'm connected to on Facebook, where people type what are called "status updates." The names have been changed to protect the inane.

Shari is motivating herself to go to yoga. Mike is organizing his shoes with a new shoe rack. Shane is going to attempt to drive up the icy road for the first time in a week. Bert is wondering why his daughter bought a bikini when its freezing outside?

It's an endless stream of breaking non-news, and here's the kicker: I'm hooked. I check my status updates like five times a day and post my own thoughts about five times a week.

My wife, Lauren, has just about had it with my new habit.

What she feels is an invasion of her privacy I see as participating in a potluck reality show: everyone contributes a little from his life for everyone to feast on. It makes me feel connected to a community. But Lauren doesn't buy that. She sees microblogging as an outgrowth of our tabloid culture.

Its strange to hear such resentment toward tabloid culture from someone who hasn't missed an issue of Us magazine in five years. But she has a point. Microblogging can feel like a marathon group therapy session for exhibitionists. Still, it's a voluntary exercise in mutual voyeurism, only we're not doing anything worth observing.

Absurd as it sounds, I'm OK with that.

Andrew Wallenstein is deputy editor of The Hollywood Reporter.

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