I like this idea as I think it taps into something very important for my generation. Specifically, there is a greater emphasis on creating and implementing your own vision rather than working through others’ models. The internet, as I’ve often said before, is the great equalizer, allowing individuals or groups to come together to create in a manner never seen before. It is inherently DIY, allows ample opportunities and platforms to be used and manipulated with, and requires the user to think outside of the box to be heard among the glut.
I thought I’d make this very public statement as to why oldschoolnick is so important to me since I haven’t posted anything on the site in a couple of days:
On the one hand, the site serves the purpose of nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake. The feeling is comforting. I feel at ease with images that represent a time in my life when I didn’t know or understand the complexities of the world and when my greatest concern was immediate gratification (read: fun). The shows portrayed unrealistic, yet hopeful ideas about the future, my possible future.
More importantly though, the majority of the characters were junior high age or in high school, at least with the live action shows. The characters were often weird, goofy, quirky, and comfortable enough with themselves to not change those things that made them so recognizably weird, goofy and quirky.
Many times, the other characters on the shows embraced the quirkiness of the main characters. They didn’t question the main characters’ need to accept themselves or try to maneuver through the world with their heads held high.
Basically, the characters were normal, relatively average. They weren’t pop stars in training. They were real people with real concerns and quirks and that was something to get excited about (and something to still feel nostalgia for).
My real problem with Facebook is that, unliked Linked-In, which is basically a resume service and has no pretence to warmth, Facebook gives us the illusion that we have real, working relationships. It allows us to “keep up” with people without actually doing the hard work of interacting with them. With Facebook, we can avoid the back and forth of real conversation—posts are not conversation— and thereby reduce the friction with which real communication burnishes friendship after the age of fifteen or so.
Facebook also reduces “friends” to a numbers game. Real friends? if you’re lucky, you’ll have three in your lifetime. To devalue the concept of friendship, to commodify it— that’s a depressing outcome of social networking. When all friends are equally important, none is important.
Facebook is attractive because it is a large, clean grid into which we can enter, a grid that makes life less complex, provides a sense of boundary, of safety, of organization, of comfort. With the population so much larger than it was even ten years ago, an organizing system for people is useful. And so much more fun than having a small number tattooed on one’s forearm.
I’ve signed up and look! I have so many friends. I must be of value. I can sit here and create and promote a better me. I can clean up my existence and create a false-fronted representation of my life. Hey. Let’s all contribute and create a huge network of false-fronted lives, lives that make us all feel of value, of importance, to ourselves if to no one else.
I can play Facebook all day long, and avoid the real work of my life, the work of becoming “single, separate, vertical and individual,” as Wallace Stegner once said. I can always avoid the work of my life in other ways, but this particular procrastination device is more attractive than my previous procrastination devices— it’s designed to change and refresh and update constantly before my eyes. It keeps me busy and happy in my chair. Facebook keeps me busy like a baby with a mobile over the crib.
Really, why spend too much time in real life where things get hard, where people make so little sense, where sadness erupts, where life can be messy and confusing? Why not just sit here and write little things and look at the pictures of all my friends and post to people from my past whom I never bothered to contact before contacting them became as easy as typing in a search? But we’re in touch now, and isn’t that nice? Something of a relief, feeling like we’re in touch again.
“All sorts of half-forgotten acquaintances and abandoned friendships reappear in this spreadsheet of potential reasons to feel terrible about yourself. If you’re as petty as I am, you spend a lot of Facebook time gauging your own feelings of inadequacy in direct relation to other people’s success. All these people you couldn’t give a shit about a couple of years ago are now these omnipresent benchmarks and counterpoints to measure against whatever you have or haven’t got going on in your life.”—James, a 28-year-old student, quoted in “Welcome to Your Quarterlife Crisis,” EYE WEEKLY, which concludes, “Nothing could be more alienating to someone in the midst of a crisis than a tool like Facebook.” (via somethingchanged)
"We wandered up the street. Paul- mid-sized, bald, with a mustache and glasses, dressed in a trench coat and beret and thick-soled shoes- strode ahead, eyes alert and noticing everything, his trusty Graflex camera strapped around his shoulder. I followed, eyes wide open, mouth mostly shut, heart skipping with excitement."