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A mixed blessing: social media in 2018

(That’s my cat Fiona online.) I’ve been thinking about the pros and cons of social media, some of which generate more attention than others.
Obvious pros: keeping in touch with, or reconnecting to, faraway friends and relatives; advertising your business and inviting people to social or business-related events; up to date photos of people you care about; stress relievers like jokes, cartoons, and of course, animal videos. The immediacy of a topical joke, meme or news story with video is undeniable. Obvious cons: an opportunity for bad/immature people to bully, insult, and stalk others, and to misrepresent themselves anonymously. Hate speech and indefensible doctrines can be spread. The anonymity brings out incivility or worse in many, especially about politics. People use social media to brag, distort the reality of their lives, and as a substitute for real life friendship, meetups, dates, or simply getting out of the house. There is an insidious feeling of being “connected” which is very different from actually talking to and listening to other humans. Social media can be an addiction and a time waster for sure.
I have my own Facebook page, and have one to advertise and give information about my business, Moon Pie Press. I’ve chosen not to also do Instagram, Twitter or other options, because email, a website, two Facebook pages and a blog seem like plenty of online engagement to me. That brings me to this rather dark poem by the always-provocative and honest Sherman Alexie. If you’re not familiar with his poetry, novels and recent memoir, I highly recommend all his writing.

THE FACEBOOK SONNET

Welcome to the endless high-school
Reunion. Welcome to past friends
And lovers, however kind or cruel.
Let’s undervalue and unmend.

The present. Why can’t we pretend
Every stage of life is the same?
Let’s exhume, resume, and extend
Childhood. Let’s play all the games

That occupy the young. Let fame
And shame intertwine. Let one’s search
For God become public domain.
Let church.com become our church.

Let’s sign up, sign in, and confess
Here at the altar of loneliness.

copyright 2011 by Sherman Alexie (from The New Yorker)

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The power of writing on paper

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hand writing

greeting cards

Recently a friend posted on Facebook about getting a handwritten thank you card and how rare that is. I love getting snail mail. I may well end up being the last person in my group of friends and family to send out paper Christmas cards. I also love writing accessories–pens, stamps, stickers, and address labels. I read an article the other day stating that one of the things you can give up in your 50s to gain freedom is sending out Christmas cards; the writer opined firmly, “No one really wants them any more” – I disagree. I saw another article declaring that cursive handwriting is a dead, unneeded skill. I hope it isn’t true!

I like Facebook, for the ubiquitous pet pictures and photos of my friends, their grandkids, vacations, etc. And of course e-books are great; the excellent writer Margaret Drabble recently wrote an article in praise of them (5/23 Guardian). But paper books and paper cards are never going out of style as far as I’m concerned. An e-birthday card or greeting is better than none, of course, but don’t you love opening an envelope hand-addressed to you by someone who took the time to choose a card and send it?

Social media, and art pertaining to books

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giant bookBatman library

bird,book photo

books butterfly pic

cat and library

This week I’m posting some cool photos/art about books and reading – which I took mostly from Facebook. I have mixed feelings about social media — I’m uneasy particularly about our lack of privacy and all the undisclosed Big Brother-ish information-gathering about us behind the scenes. But Facebook is undeniably good for current jokes, endless cat pictures and beautiful photos and artwork of all kinds. I started a FB page for my press because that’s how a lot of people, especially young folks, get their information – not from a website, though I will continue to update mine with readings and events, and of course the Moon Pie Press catalog.
(www.moonpiepress.com) If you could LIKE the Moon Pie Press page on Facebook and add it as a “friend”, that would be greatly appreciated. The press runs on a shoestring budget and anything free that helps spread the word is wonderful.

More reading-related art and photos will follow in future blogs.

Happy reading !