Facebook, Jim Morrison, a Poke from the Past & Me
I have been having a love & hate relationship with Facebook, as a late adopter (2009) I think I have missed out on all the pioneering aspects of the tool and other subtle marketing tricks I never read or pay any attention to what is going on with the sponsored links or click anything on the right hand-side of my screen, I have liked a few things and followed a few topics but like the apps statistics I have abandoned 99 % of them shortly after the first encounter. I am no social media hermit however and I must say I am grateful I have managed to find long lost friends from previous decades and for me that was the real value.
Or is it really? I suppose this needs to be balanced out, my experience is that past the excitement of reconnecting and the odd catch up mail if I am honest it happens that it has turned out to be a rather disappointing experience over the years except for one, for the others it is a bit like yippee I have found you super and then so what?
So slowly I became Facebook lazy and I would have never considered myself as an active user. I think I was happy being one of those lurkers happy reading stuff but reluctant to commit to the tool publicly. I guess all in all I was happy with my Facebook relationship, it was under the radar, steady and not demonstrative or even attention seeking.
Like any relationship it went to a point where we had communication breakdown and I did not even bother engaging with others, Facebook as a good data godfather saw this and got alarmed, he saw the trend of engagement dangerously spiralling down, its first port of call was to send me numerous reminders urging me to connect and catch up on news from friends and family. I read them and I told him I know it is not you it is me.
What Facebook did not know is that he was right on all accounts except for one, for one and one only while geographically distant the Facebook link did translate in almost a yearly meet up and sometimes mails about how we entered adulthood and our formative years compared to the adults & fathers we had become.
After checking my inbox and reading one of those Facebook reminders in fall 2013 at a time I was going through a phase of sleep deprivation and I ended up falling asleep on the couch with my tablet. For reasons unknown I dreamt I had joined a digital retreat on Facebook back in 1970, Jim Morrison was there too and he was giving a key note on mis-information, strange days and soft parading.
He said Facebook was perfect for him and his nomadic lifestyle and it helped him reconnecting with his family in 1969. He also gave an anecdote on his senior-year English teacher saying he was such an avid reader of off-beat books his teacher had another teacher check to see if the books Jim was reporting on actually existed.
Do our Facebook friends really exist? Wide awake I realized I had forgotten to ask that question to Jim in my dream, funnily enough I thought exit Mark Zuckerberg Jim Morrison is the new digital messiah. I was still very confused by the experience and still not clear whether Facebook was a real part of my fictional life or a fictional feature of my real life.
On that note I thought I needed distraction and I went on to check my Facebook page.
What I read scared the hell out of me, It took me a while to process the information and I think I was in denial for a few minutes, those few minutes seemed to last a century, I was reading and reading it again I read it once , twice , three times and probably more, the message was clear it was saying that the big C. had caught up with THE ONE of my (FB) friends living in the US and he could not think of any other way to let us all know what was going on in his life. This was not a simple post, this was not a Facebook dream this was a real life nightmare.
From that moment onwards I stopped being a Facebook hermit and my relationship with the tool stopped being casual, bravely enough our favourite New Yorker gave us weekly or twice a week updates with upbeat messages and other markers reports, we all thought he would go through and while updates became scarce at some point most of his community of friends did not worry he was a fighter.
We were I suppose all getting on with our lives until one afternoon looking for news I read the most shocking statement I have ever read on a computer screen, the disease was too strong and he wrote himself it was now a question of weeks or days.
The avalanche of comments from all over the world from a 150 people strong community overwhelmed me, from people recalling greats stories , fun BBQs or his incredible entrepreneurship spirit Facebook became a celebration of life platform, I think he read most of them or used the thumbs up with probably the wit I have always known him having. Almost stuck in a time warp I think all of us were in denial and were still hoping for a miracle when the mirage of good vibes stopped suddenly, that's when the platform had to transform itself into a temple.
On the day of his final departure, for those of us who could not make the long trip over something very touching happened it is probably not the right word but what I can only describe as a Facebook funeral took place, numerous posts comments, poems, photos, and so many thumbs up you would need 3000 hands tied together to count them flourished on his page.
That chap had influenced and helped so many people from all over the world that seeing his legacy was actually very real and would not be forgotten was somewhat reassuring while I remember asking myself at the same time, is this a surreal moment this is not tangible or palpable or is it?
He is gone a few years now and strangely enough I ended up wandering on his Facebook page on a regular basis not because of a morbid or misplaced intention of mine but because this unfortunately is the most immediate way I can still ``connect``, now after a few weeks I realized I was not the only one and a bit like Jim Morrison`s grave in the Pere Lachaise in Paris I started noticing other people too have been visiting his page and some even wrote down messages to his attention I suppose we all need to find a way to overcome the ride of the storm.
That’s it, I am a bit unsettled writing about this and publishing it, my relationship with social media as one`s of Jim Morrison favourite poet William Blake would say is probably like
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Previously posted on a different platform in 2014
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