Tuesday, 6 May 2014

SYNAPSE CIRCUIT LOOK NOW LOOK UP

Above: Gary Turk making his antisocial point through social networking media.
SYNAPSE CIRCUIT
OPINION:
SOCIAL OR ANTISOCIAL?



Good evening, Synapse Circuit Readers. It’s good to see you as always! I hope that all is well in your world?

I am sure you have seen the latest YouTube video, ‘Look Up’ that decries the phenomenon of (anti) social networking. Do you think Gary Turk right?

LOOK NOW
It would be very easy to dismiss Turk’s sentiments regarding folks using social networking for self-aggrandizing when the man has his own website and social networking accounts... Look:-

www.garyturk.com
www.twitter.com/gary_turk
www.newdesertblues.com

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfHJe1XCvPckXPcgKh2V-5A

It’s a bit like those anti-Transhumanists using technology to make their point no matter how ill-informed their arguments are. I would be ignorant to dismiss ‘Look Up’ by Gary Turk for the aforementioned reason(s).

I HAVE EX-AMOUNT OF FRIENDS BUT...
...I don’t feel lonely. I have over 700 friends and counting and that’s right, I don’t feel lonely. Do I know each and every one of them in great detail? No! How many people do I know offline in such an intimate way? Well, now that I am thinking about it I know a handful of people on an intimate level and in actuality I wish that I hadn’t. Sure, I am talking about ex-girlfriends and a couple of rare friendships that lasted over 10 years only to have the glues that held them together dry up! Intimacy is not all that it’s cracked up to be! Ha ha! I kid but there is an underlying seriousness too.

I would say that some of my best friendships are online than off line. I still have a handful of good offline friends and maintaining those (offline) friendships can be hard work and very rewarding. I hardly have to see them because each of us are doing his / her own thing and that, my friend, is the nature of life. We’re busy! Thanks to “free” call / messaging apps we are able to keep tabs and meet up occasionally. Should they need me in an emergency they know that I will be there in a heartbeat! I know that they have me covered too! Needless to say that navigating our...  ...ok... my way though intimate friendships – let alone family – can be a bloody nightmare! STRESS!!!!

The good thing about online friendships and yes I call them friendships is that you can switch off; turn the devices off or mute the volume... If the worst comes to the worst there is the delete and block button. It’s funny... ...I think back to a time when I was fed up with the progenitor that was MySpace and was turned on to Facebook by a “friend” that I thought I knew offline. Yes, I deleted her! Hee hee... It’s a bit of a long story but I have to say that it was useful to cut the arguments in person, over the phone and via Facebook mails with a delete and block move! I reckon if it wasn’t for Facebook that “friendship” would have endured longer than it needed to. Under the right circumstances you can find out the true nature of a “friend”.

MYSPACE, YOURSPACE, OURSPACE: FACEBOOKED
When MySpace was all the rage it was great! I met a lovely woman from Telford, we fell in and out of love (and we’re still good friends today – a rarity) and I also, around 6 years ago, met with a woman in Germany, Siegen, who I am still friends with today! If it wasn’t for MySpace I wouldn’t have met these wonderful people. MySpace went downhill when it tried to monetize and had a awful overhaul that put many off – not just me!

When I joined Facebook all those years ago I only knew that one offline friend that I proudly added to my friend list. So, I had the exciting task of getting to know new friends. In fact I tell a lie! I went through a couple of Facebook accounts before I arrived at the one I have now. I had set up a couple to interact with former work colleagues who turned out not to be worthwhile so on both occasions I deleted those accounts. My former friend reintroduced me to Facebook; I began adding friends and interacting with them. That must have been around 6 or 7 years ago.

A PROCESS
Adding “friends” is a process regardless of Facebook’s nannying annoying rules about having “knowing” the “friend” in offline. It’s a great process of discovery that I can’t replicate so easily offline. You wouldn’t “poke” a stranger on the street... You also wouldn’t approach a stranger on the street and proposition a friendship. It’s just about ok to compliment a member of the opposite sex with an offer to meet for coffee, etc. The truth is that it is easier to meet people online; it’s not only safer but simplifies things a great deal. The Internet acts like a buffer to overcome misunderstandings and suspicion in a less stressful manner. Here’s an example of an awkward offline interaction...

I was on a bus travelling home after attending a satisfactory music festival and before I knew it a man started talking to me asking me if I was Gay to which I told him to kindly mind his own business and to cease talking to me. The man was talking to me with the assumption that I was Gay and I objected to it. Not because I have anything against Gay people. A) I don’t think that being Gay is subject to an accusation. B) I don’t want to discuss anything to do with sexual orientation to a stranger – especially for all to hear on public transportation. The next thing I know the man is touching me on my leg telling me that it’s alright to be Gay and that he “loves” me. I was not happy! I am a person who does not like to be touched by strangers. It could very well be that mildly autistic but in any event the man’s behaviour was wholly inappropriate. If I had done this to a woman I could have been charged with sexual harassment.

Online one can add a stranger and over a course of time get to know that person.

STATUS UPDATE: RELATIONSHIPS
In the time that I have been on Facebook I have seen quite a few women for possible romance and / or friendship. I would say that all in all it has been a positive experience. Occasionally, there have been a couple of instances whereby a couple of romantic prospects turned out to be less than honest but such instances can happen offline too! But online it’s no problem! Delete! Hahaha!

There is one big faux pas in the name of romance on Facebook: “In a relationship”? Just as it is offline, online it is hard to synchronize feelings; usually one person feels more than the other person in the “relationship”. Sometimes the online persona doesn’t match the offline persona. Sometimes it’s different to have a person in your home as opposed to a hotel. Hahaha! And sometimes people who have met online try to rush emotional development when they meet for the first time offline. Yes, what Turk said about people only showing the positive side of them is partially true. But it is also true about any kind of meeting be it a date – no farting! A job interview, you’re not going tell potentially offensive jokes! Sometimes online people forget to keep learning about the other.

There have been a couple of times whereby I started to see a woman offline in a romantic capacity and they wanted me to change my status immediately to “In a relationship”. I did it the first time as I felt we had something which ended soon after! Hee hee hee... But with the other one we hadn’t been talking that long online and I proposed that we take time offline to get to know each other. I couldn’t have made it clearer than that however she continued to get obsessed about making online statements. My logic was that if I was spending time with her offline the chances of me doing anything with anyone else are extremely minimal – especially as I take my article writing seriously! I don’t have time to entertain hordes of women! An intelligent person would know that! Still, I don’t have regrets about letting those women go as it wasn’t working out. Don’t get me wrong, I did make the effort but when I saw it wasn’t working I accepted it and moved on.

Oh my goodness! I remember another meeting with a woman that I had been talking to for a couple of weeks who wanted to introduce me to her son straightaway! I was a bit taken a back! Decorum is important both on and offline. Communication is the key! How many of us have been stung by a player we have met offline?

And in a non-romantic capacity I have seen “friends” come and go! One in particular was an animal rights extremist who insisted upon hijacking wall for her purposes and I had to let her go.

People change all the time and it’s a good thing. Friendships / relationships last for as long as they are meant to. But if you care I urge you to take time!

THE FAMILY
The mobile device revolution reminds me of the advent of the wireless radio and the TV. As a child I grew up with the TV as part tutor and part parent. I used to love my cartoons and I still do! Hahaha! Today’s child is either into a console or smartphone playing games. It is natural that a child will gravitate to the latest technological trends. But this does not mean that parents abandon their right and duty to use their guidance. Today many parents do not exercise their right to guide their children. Referring to my childhood yet again I was what is known as a “latchkey child”. When I came home from school I retrieved the door key from under the hiding place and took food out of the oven and was in charge of my two younger brothers. The TV entertained us until my Pop came home from his shift!

Today’s parent or parents (if the child or children is fortunate) has to work very hard and for very little. The UK economy is at a critical point because employers do not want to pay workers a good wage and so they draft in immigrant workers (usually from Poland) who will work for less. This has resulted in the level of pay going down and it makes working life very hard for British nationals who are more or less driven by consumerism. Buy this latest tablet on sale! Buy this 52 inch curved flatscreen TV for only £££! Buy! Buy! Buy! So people try to live this technical modern life on credit and have little or no means of paying the credit back.

It’s a hard time for workers and the unemployed! If you’re in work you’re struggling or if you’re out of work you’re struggling to find it! Some people have just given up looking for work altogether. And at the moment this coalition government is cracking down hard on those receiving state benefits and are using sanctions to cleanse London, for example, of its poor population by driving them to other cities. It’s really horrendous as to what’s happening right now. I believe that it breaches human rights laws.

In any event working parents are often burned out and find it hard to get that quality time with their child or children.

EMPTY PARKS
Technology is not necessarily preventing children from playing in the park. No. There are a few factors...


1. The parent(s) find it hard to cook meals from scratch and so feed their children with cheap frozen foods full of fat, salt and sugar content. Children and adults do not feel full on such a diet because there is little or no fibre in pizza, cheap white bread, fizzy drinks, etc so they over indulge.

It’s customary for children to eat meals from fast food establishments more than twice a week. This results in children and adults becoming obese to the point where they cannot find the energy to partake in outdoor activities.

2. You just can’t leave your child or children unsupervised outside your doorstep let alone in a public park! It could very well be that the media is scaremongering the population with news of paedophile activities. There seems to be at least one story every day about child abuse. As a parent you do not want to be one of the unfortunate to have experienced the abduction, sexual abuse and death of your child. That must be one of the most horrendous things to happen to parents and children. You can’t even trust family as in a lot of the cases that I have followed it is an abusive uncle, stepfather, grandfather and even women at a nursery have been behind child abuse and paedophile rings.

3. Then there are young teens partaking in gang violence leading to lethal consequences meted out to transgressors of gang rules such as being in another postcode (zip code) area. As a parent you do not want to let your child or children out in such environments. You try to keep them at home as much as you can. Growing children can rebel and for working and single parents it is hard to impose disciplinary measures as the child can turn around and claim abuse to the authorities. Such claims can result in the parent or parents having a criminal record! And if your child is not in a gang you do not want him or her to get caught in gun battle crossfire. Stray bullets have found themselves borrowing into the innocent. Another disturbing trend is that young girls / women are initiated into a gang through performing group sex. You’d think that some of these young girls / women are forced into such sexual acts. Very often female gang members are willing to cross that bridge to be inducted. No doubt that some are forced physically and some mentally by peer pressure.

I do see the family suffering unnecessarily through the government giving children rights and therefore weakening the parent or parents authority Then the government in turn are looking to fine parents whose child or children vandalize buildings for example.

The mobile or smartphone is pivotal in today’s society for parents to keep track their child or children. In an ideal world parents wouldn’t rely on just mobile devices to entertain their child or children; there would be time for family outings. Oh, and because of the violence some parents do not want to venture out with their children to avoid exposure to dangers of gang violence. Many adults are afraid of unpredictable teenagers and young adults. There have been a virulent outbreak of young men testing their strength by a dealing a devastating blow the the temple of an unsuspecting passerby. Or even an adult querying antisocial behavior.

Going back to the government... I don’t know why they are interfering with how parents discipline their child / children to the extent whereby they can be prosecuted citing physical abuse. But there again, the prosecution system allows for violent criminals and sexual predators walk free amongst communities. It does not make any sense to me.

STUPID PEOPLE / SMARTPHONES / THE MEDIA
I don’t think one can blame the advent mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets for the decline in intelligence in society. For want of a better expression people were stupid beforehand.

Do you think that people speaking sentences in questioning tones started with the advent of the smartphone? Do you know how dumb that sounds? Yet this phenomenon has spread like a virus to the point where some television presenters sound idiotic. 

A smartphone can actually help people to spell with the auto correction (predictive spelling) turned on. But if one cannot spell anyway one will not be able to recognize the correct spelling! I have been asked by people in a position of management to turn off the auto correct feature of their handset! Some people prefer to spell using shortcuts such as “soz” meaning sorry for example. And these shortcuts have extended to phonetic (no pun intended) spelling such as “intelektual”. While I can understand using spelling shortcuts due to the limited texting allowance  from a network as it can be costly. But because of smartphones one can make use of "free" (depending on the Internet allowance) applications for messaging. Once I moved over to “free” messaging apps I dispensed with spelling shortcuts. I hate it! After a while I think I was losing my ability to spell! Gosh!

But society is constantly being dumbed down by the corporate owned media. Remember my “friend” Josie Cunningham? This is what made the headlines 9 hours ago on the front page of UK tabloid The Mirror which was also posted up on its Facebook profile:

Oh dear. Josie Cunningham is at it again. This time she's vowing to release footage of her baby's birth so she can be 'bigger than Jordan'.

''I'll sell DVDs of my baby's birth to be bigger than Jordan'': Josie Cunningham's latest outrageous confessions

Keywords: Celebrity News Josie Cunningham abortion

Just think about it for a minute... This, er, news (sic) was “reported” by The Mirror. Who the hell cares if she was “at it again”? Don’t report such foolishness! Yet people react to it on Facebook like sharks to blood in the water.

Look at the keywords... “Celebrity” Is that what passes for celebrity these days? “News” Again, that’s not news! “Josie Cunningham abortion...” For real??? Why on Earth is this news for anybody to know about??? Jesus wept! You could say that I am reacting to it too but I am reacting to idiocy of the whole thing. Don’t get me wrong, if Josie Cunningham wants to get into “show business” then good for her but why does it have to be on the back of nonsense such as threatening to abort her alleged child? Talk about selling one’s soul...

And if that is not enough music has been reduced to soft porn. I was just saying the other day that the current music industry will never see another John Lennon, Bowie, Iggy Pop, Sex Pistols, etc again. I think the next time Miley Cyrus announces a concert the tickets will be in the form of scratch ‘n’ sniff thongs.

CONCLUSION
I think that social networking and smart mobile device technologies can redeem mankind from going down this path of ignorance. It’s down to people using the likes of Facebook and Twitter to expose the extreme Thatcher-right wing politics of the UKIP which sees their members uttering the most inane ideas about race, homosexuality and feminism since the Stone Age. Hopefully the UKIP will disappear up its own orifice.

In the meantime I continue to make wonderful friendships online and I look forward to meeting them – if possible – offline. I have many friends all over the world and it is a great feeling and extension of the pen pal concept.

I also look forward to one day finding my significant other either through social networking or by chance when I am going about my business offline. I am not impeded by technology to interact with others face to face.

I think that Turk’s ‘Look Up’ video appeals like tabloid journalism in that it tugs at the concerns of thoughtful people to the point where they question themselves for being able to interact with meaningful connections.

Yes, some connections will be deeper than others. Yes, you will be deleted by someone and you will no doubt delete someone yourself. We make what we will of our social networking. There’s so much potential for us to meet and form deeper bonds / connections with people because our honesty will sort out the sincere from those pretending to be something that they are not.

You know what they say? Like attracts like!

I do believe that we can develop such a powerful neural connection / network in that our smart-devices become extra synapses – hence Synapse Circuit - that can be likened to a “psychic” experience. However, we must allow for the rest of the mind and body to catch up when we meet! We are different offline not because we present ourselves differently online but we react differently in physicality to each other. We react more to body language which we do not usually see unless using a webcam or video call via the smartphone and that's just the facial expression.

When we become more comfortable with each other we become more open. Online this openness can come more quickly than offline because we’re using this extra synapse to compensate for the lack of a physical presence. As long as we take time to adjust should an offline meeting takes place we’ll be alright.

And we shouldn’t substitute online for offline interactions and vice versa. In a word: Balance.

We need more time and time is money so if anything we should ask for a raise and shorter hours to spend more time with our family and friends.

THANKS FOR READING...
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