The Logical Philosopher

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I am a Facebook Slut

“Dude, you should totally do it. Everyone is all over it.”

”That is so 2005. And besides, when I send you an invitation to Linked-in last year, you were all ‘Sorry, I don’t do social networking’ to me.”

“That was then. This is NOW. And besides, if you don’t sign up, then you’ll never be on the leading edge of what’s up with my life.”

My friend Eduardo convinced me to sign up for Facebook two weeks ago. Since then I have spent, er, more like wasted, an inordinate amount of time trying to boost my friends count and make it look like I really know more people than I actually do. In actual fact, that’s the main reason I haven’t posted for a week – I was busy making up profiles that were more entertaining than “went to high-school together”. I’m particularly proud of the one Rick Mercer approved with me.

I thought it would be all fun. Right after signing up I had that warm, happy feeling you can only get from a string of Matrix like one’s and zero’s. I was part of something – a network. But not any network – a network that I could control. I had the power to reconnect with old friends and lost loves, all while keeping up to date with the happenings of my current friends.

But what I hoped would happen, and what actually happened are two very different stories. Here’s how it went down:

Day 1
1:34 pm: After getting badgered for the last time vial email from Eduardo, I cave and sign up for Facebook. I promptly added him to my ‘friend request’ list.
2:20 pm: My email alert chimed and I had my first friend (Eduardo)
2:37 pm: Surf to my High School Grad group’s and write on their wall, saying Eduardo told me to
8:43 pm: Ping! Another email alert, this time I had received my second friend request from an old swooner – a mere 6 hours after I posted on my High School Group I wall. Keeping in mind this is 15 YEARS after I graduated I was instantly afraid. Very afraid.
8:49 pm: Sent a panicky email to Sandritia and Eudardo, explaining I had already been poked and befriended and was now afraid for my life.
9:12 pm: Sandritia calls me, in a fit of laugher, and signs up while she was on the phone with me. Her reasoning for doing it now when before she didn’t want to “I’m in it just to see how some online stalking is going to go down!”

After that, I should have seen the warning signs and quit where I was. But I didn’t. On Day 2 I got a phone call from my younger sister who wanted to know “Since when are you into Facebook?!?”

”You know me, leading edge and all.” I replied in my best web 2.0 voice. “More to the point, how do you know I’m on it?” I’m not sure if it was a good or bad sign that she avoided my question.

Day 3 came, and another ping for a new friend – this time from one of my sisters friends that I know.

With that, I realized I was faced with a social networking moral dilemma: If I befriend my sisters friends, am I a Facebook slut? Am I robbing the Facebook cradle? Later that evening I talked over this dilemma with Sandritia, which brought me no closer to my decision.

”I to, am in the same spot” she confided. “I mean, I only have five friends now, and that makes me feel so unpopular! In fact, I’m thinking of poking some of my brother’s friends, just to see if they will take me in.” She continued on, “And when I get really desperate, I’ll just mine my other friends friends list.”

“Well, you were no more help.”

“Can’t you see? I’m all about upping the count – Facebook slut or not, if you’ve got the numbers you’re in charge. It doesn’t matter where you got them from!”

“Man, this is like pregnancy – you’re either in or out. There is no halfway when you get a request. It’s either say OK or tell them to take a digital powder.” I sighed, knowing what I was about to do was probably the beginning of the end. “You’re right. Ok. I’m accepting the request now, before I can back out.”

So I did and upon accepting her request I began the slippery slope of being a Facebook slut.
And where does this leave me: A call for friends. Anyplace, anywhere, anytime. As long as it is still anonymous, I’ll be there for you. If you want to be my friend, post your profile link or email me and I’ll add you… but in doing so you agree to abide by the following rules:

Rule 1: What happens in Facebook, stays in Facebook
Rule 2: What happens in Logical Philosopher, says in Logical Philosopher
Rule 3: Do not compromise Rules 1 and 2 by cross-posting!

And right now, all I can think is “Man, I can’t believe I just wrote that post.”

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Speed of Slow: Part 3

The local brewpub

“Why do you blog?” he asked over a mini-pint of freshly poured stout. We couldn't decide which ale to try so a sampler tray of six seemed to be the best decision. It took awhile but we finally got down to the samples of Irish Stout “I mean, it seems like it takes time away from your other projects. Why keep going?”

“Actually, it helps me find time - it helps me slow down and pick the important things to do. It helps to remember there is more in life than moving to the next task.” I gestured out the window into the rain. “Look at the people out there in the rain, rushing around. I have a feeling they would be rushing even if it was sunny.”

We had been talking about my blog for awhile now, but the consumption of a few beers seemed to help my blogging theories crystallize in his head. He started to nod, slowly at first. At last I could see the wheels moving as the nod sped to a steady bobbing. “I get it. Like people moving in general without unachieved direction. Whereas slowing down to blog gives perspective, which leads to priority, which helps chart a focused direction.”

“Yeah. That’s what I meant. At least in the direction of what I meant.” I took a sip of my stout and looked out into the rain. After a few moments I interrupted our silence with my newest thought. “That’s heavy.”

“Very. A whole new perspective on things.”

“No, I meant the stout. It’s heavy. But the perspective thing? It’s only heavy if you go against the flow. I am part iconoclast towards the cult of speed at this point in my life, so I’m just used to it.”

A How-to Instructional Book on Slow

Inspired by Carl Horne’s book “In Praise of Slow”, I wrote the preceding two parts of this post a few months back, during my visit to Toronto. Looking back I think it was ironic that while in one of Canada’s largest metropolitan cities I found the time to “go slow” and start to ruminate on Horne’s book. However, my reflection took a long time to culminate to something I could write about. It really wasn’t until the last few weeks when I appreciated it enough to write this final part. Five months to write 3 blog posts. Talk about going slow.

For those who haven’t read the book Horne talked about how slowing down, while still going fast in some aspects of life, can pay dividends in your life. On his blog he posts the following summary of the book:

“These days, many of us live in fast forward – and pay a heavy price for it. Our work, health and relationships suffer. Over-stimulated, over-scheduled and overwrought, we struggle to relax, to enjoy things properly, to spend time with family and friends. The Slow movement offers a lifeline. It is not a Luddite plot to abolish all things modern. You don’t have to shun technology, live in the wilderness or do everything at a snail’s pace. Being “Slow” means living better in the hectic modern world by striking a balance between fast and slow.”

He talks about his research, and experiences, in deceleration at meditation workshops in Tokyo to SuperSlow exercise in New York – and these are just two of many examples of how to go Slow. He goes on to way “In the war against the cult of speed, the front line is inside our heads. Acceleration will remain our default setting until attitudes change…If the Slow movement is really to take root, we need have to go deeper. We have to change the way we think.”

While I didn’t reach a state of slowness in any of his topics he undertook, I found on my own I had changed the way I thought, finding my own deceleration exercise: blogging. To write I had to slow down, and pay attention. Walk down the sidewalk and watch the world move around me. And once I did that, the details and inspiration sprung out.

“Traveling on foot can also be meditative, fostering a Slow frame of mind. When we walk, we are aware of the details around us – birds, trees, the sky, shops and houses, other people. We make connections”

So where do we go from here?

Horne finishes his book by pondering the question “When will the many acts of personal deceleration occurring across the world reach critical mass? When will the Slow movement turn into a Slow revolution.”

I, for one, am all for a revolution. As a (now) Slow writer, I have some perspective on why that is.

I have alluded in some past posts that I had to make some “go Slow” life changes in the past 20 months. In some ways I have missed out and seen less, but in experienced far more than I would have imagined. I see the speed of our pace as the difference between knowledge and wisdom.
Fast brings knowledge. Slow brings wisdom.
The real question is, after taking the time to read all three posts on going slow – will you keep on driving, or stop to enjoy the view? Hopefully you will choose wisely.

If you do, come back as I would love to see your “Slow” stories posted in my comments.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Speed of Slow, part 2

Scene 1: Bloor & Young connector
They moved like a whirlwind around me. Clutching briefcases, laptop bags and coffee cups they grudgingly parted for me as I moved against the flow. Union Station was the end of the line for some, and a quick transfer to Bloor Street for others. I headed out while they all herded in. Arriving with time to spare I stopped, now a stationary barricade in the spawning stream of professionals and students, all moving to their destinations without out any thought. Rote human behavior with professional workers at it’s finest form. Watching it became apparent that for everyone here it was about the destination, not the journey.

Scene 2: Go Train, heading west
My train arrived, more workers pouring into the city. About 1000 arriving for every one of us departing. We departed as scheduled, of course. Speeding out of the city we passed the remnants of “the big smoke”, now converted into living/working lofts, allowing more to work closer to their destination. We sped along side the 8 lanes of the 401, snarled one way and empty the other. As the concrete buildings receded to under two stories we passed streams where fly fishing was in season. More trees, less concrete. The country side started, slowing, a spindling of tree before the forest started.

Scene 3: Niagara on the Lake
I walked, rain coming down but dampened by the red and yellow canopy of maples and ash trees. Stopping to listened to the rain I took this picture. A forest path – a symbolic journey. No whirlwind. No rote movements. Just a path in the middle of a forest. An east cost Middle of Nowhere with no Pandora’s Box in sight.

It was very clear – the perspective on viewing life as a journey, not a destination.

I slowly headed back to the car for the return trip… back to the Big Smoke, the whirlwind of Union Station. I love the bustle of the city, but I feel emancipated when I depart it.

Next up - The Speed of Slow, part 3 of 3. The iconoclastic within.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Speed of Slow, part I

We all want it.
We've all seen it.
We've all focused on it.
We've all lusted after it.
We've all sacrificed for it.
We've all negotiated around it.

Lifestyle – a means to the end, or an end to our means? We stop, long enough to listen to the pace around is. “I’m missing out” echoes around us. Email; virtual offices; Blackberries; Like the forbidden fruit, a taste is all it takes to blindly jump back in.

Yesterday’s dreams are turned into successes of today, which are overshadowed by wants of tomorrow.

Ironically it starts slow. Added responsibilities, prestige, power, money – repeat. We automatically shift to the next level, unaware of our ability to tread backwards. We can, but it is as awkward as running the wrong way down an escalator. Why expend the energy to remove the perceived comforts? “ Ride the wave of comfort…” we think as we subconsciously keep our eye on the golden parachute to take us back down.

Now the real question comes: Can we reclose the Pandora’s Box of lifestyle?
Can we have a shift, without the shift? What if we stopped? Quit – stepped off the escalator where we were at? In our culture of success how is that different from mediocrity?

More pointedly: Is there still success in slow?

Next up - The Speed of Slow, part 2. Three locations with a feeling of emancipation thrown in.