How Plato Foresaw Facebook’s Folly
“Technology promises to make easy things that, by their intrinsic nature, have to be hard.”
Tweeting and trolling are easy. Mastering the arts of conversation and measured debate is hard. Texting is easy. Writing a proper letter is hard. Looking stuff up on Google is easy. Knowing what to search for in the first place is hard. Having a thousand friends on Facebook is easy. Maintaining six or seven close adult friendships over the space of many years is hard. Swiping right on Tinder is easy. Finding love — and staying in it — is hard.
I don’t think this fair. Nor do I trust the dichotomies that are marshalled here. To tweet well is an art of concision that takes practice. To text with any touch of brilliance requires a knack for combining words that will tickle attention — providing connectors for conversation. Searching is often a race against the algorithm pushing its own response which sacrifices precision — the art of searching depends on learning to bank on the aleatory. Friendship is often nourished by acquaintance — from those superficial encounters I sometimes bring back tidbits to share with those I have a deep and abiding relationship with — like the posting to a discussion list that led to my reading Stephens’s opinion piece and my own little rant here. And it has been easy (but not instantaneous).
And so for day 2317