You have to love that.
She's up because she's 8 hours ahead. And she knows what time it is in Chicago.
So I was about to do that, go to sleep at a proper hour. The fish tank lights are off. Little One has moved on to his bedroom in the basement, computer science hieroglyphics map the dining room table. But FD, my main person, isn't home yet and it just feels weird going to sleep if I haven't seen him since morning.
Even though I have you.
He took the cream cheese with chives, I got the peanut-butter and marmalade. It's been a long day. We left an 8 inch square pan of pizza for him and some salad. This is a supportive relationship.
He had ten E.R. admissions, two patients, and a consult in the hospital while on call.
While all I have to think about is an initial visit with terror, persons badly in need of anger management. I get anger management treatment block sometimes, it happened today, just couldn't do it, not today, could not treat someone with anger, and it wasn't the obligatory tough guy clothes that threw me (leather is warm) or the attitude, we talk about it; or hands in his pockets or the mention of a particular gang. We talk about all of it. Lots of kids are in gangs, and many former convicts, people who have served time in the penitentiaries, did their time in gangs. It's nothing new.
But I had to send him to a better doctor. Then take a two hour nap.
So I'm waiting for FD to get home and can surely review for class tomorrow, because I teach on-line tomorrow night, and that would be the responsible thing to do, but. . .
Well, what would you do at 11:30 pm? You know what you would do. You would turn to your addiction, check email or read blogs or post, maybe check out Twitter, or Facebook, Digg or Flicker. You would socially network is what you would do. Who are you kidding?
So funny. I'm talking to a guy who just got his MBA and he's looking for a job. I tell him, "Well, you're the MBA, but isn't it true that
It isn't what you know; it's who you know?"Still true.
So social networking can't be all bad. There have to be some realtime rewards, somewhere, someway, somehow. A little West Side Story music from the band. But people meet people, they fall in love, create communities. The gangs are few on the Internet. But tough. Boy, are they tough.
Only a week ago we talked about letters, these things we once wrote to people in ink. Some of us waxed nostalgic. Probably there were three of us who did that. But letter writing, unless it is resume writing, isn't really social networking. Social networks get people together, create communities of people who think alike.
We've talked about the danger of Group Think. (Read the Boy with the Funny Laugh, it's on the blog somewhere and has made rounds on the Internet).
Anyway, Group Think can turn violent. And web gang-banging, mental cruelty characteristic of certain people free to comment, is unfortunately something most of us have to fop off.
Cyber-bullying is, unfortunately, not so rare as we think. Social networks do turn violent. We have several examples of this, including Lori Drew, who created an alias on MySpace to develop a romantic relationship with 14-year-old Megan Meier.
MondoReb at Death by 1000 Paperclips really wanted me to write on this at the time, but I didn't have the stomach. I tried, but every time I thought of Ms. Drew, an adult, mentally beating on Megan, psychologically torturing her as her "love" I had to go and watch Seinfeld. The cyber-bullying resulted, as you may know, in Megan's suicide.
Abraham Biggs killed himself in front of a live Webcam audience on JustinTV as the audience cheered him on.
Josh Harris' social experiment, "We Live in Public," made him sick. His pod of people under 24/7 surveillance in New York drew vicious attacks, violent responses from a once loving community of fans.
A Korean woman, Choi Jin-sil, killed herself, too, from the pressure of rumors about her on the Internet. According to Jason McCabe Calacanis,
The bullying in Korea has become so intense that you're now required to use your Social Security Number to sign up for a social network. This lack of anonymity is one of the most enlightened things I've heard of from one of the most advanced--if not the most advanced--Internet communities in the world.Who is Jason McCabe Calacanis? Jason is an entrepreneur who started with the Silicon Alley Reporter and the Digital Coast Reporter. He is a tireless socializer and nearly single-handedly drove much of the tech blog revolution we see today.
At one time his staff included the likes of Xeni Jardin, who would later become a journalist and blogger at Boing Boing, but Jason is Dow Jones stuff (which may mean nothing now for all I know). Besides developing businesses and consulting with digital companies, Jason also blogged quite a bit about his car. He drew criticism for that, having a nice car.
And he has dogs, too, something else people didn't like.
He co-founded Web Blogs, Inc, perhaps the whole concept that blogging could be a living potentially supported by advertising.
Isn't that our goal, friends? Let's talk. Did I ever tell you that I wrote to Kleenex and asked if they wanted to advertise here? I thought it appropriate. They were so nice. The Kleenex people appreciated the thought but basically said,
We actually don't need to advertise. We're Kleenex.Oops. Off to Puffs.
Anyway, he's a genius, Jason McCabe Calacanis, and has been profiled in The New Yorker and Wired. He's a wonderful writer and psychologically sensitive. Now his focus is on Mahalo, a "human" search engine. He tells us that in the process of butting heads with too many angry people, traumatized (I'm thinking), he no longer blogs. In his retirement letter he tells us that he'll miss it, but most of all, he'll miss the comments.
But he sends email to his fans. Maybe you, too, can get on his list of thousands.
Mr. Calacanis is now ranting about Internet Asperger's Syndrome (IAS). You can read about this yourself, quite the discussion.
He's saying, basically, that as Internet addicts we're losing our empathy, a symptom of Asperger's. Our empathy is going to cr__, as some of my favorite first degrees might say, resulting in epidemic Asperger's. We're becoming robots, no longer able to get outside our obsessions with email, Facebook, blogging, statistics, whatever.
The more defensive among us might get upset with this piracy, an ex-blogger, a big shot entrepreneur using psycho-babble to describe the behavioral health of essentially healthy individuals, depending. And it is a real disrespect to sensitive people with Asperger's. You can read about Aspergers on my blog, check the sidebar. Remember Cho?
But not to repeat, Mr. Calacanis' understanding of Asperger's is that there is
a dual nature of Asperger's, . . .it makes the individual focused on very specific behaviors--obsessively so in many cases--while decreasing their capacity for basic empathy and communication. It's almost as if you trade off intensity in one area for common decency and communications in another area--not that the person has a choice.I never saw it quite this way, but let's not split hairs. There's something in the brain that misses social cues, and there is obsessive behavior, but the directionality has never been established.
What is directionality?
It is, If. . .then.
To make an assumption about causality, one that is this grandiose, needs what we call substantive research. Evidenced based. Where's the beef here? I haven't read everything on Asperger's but have yet to see this established.
Personally, I think that one has nothing to do with the other. These are separate dynamics within one very complicated brain.
But what Mr. Calacanis is saying, really, is important and meritorious and I thank him for putting it all out there, so eloquently, so personally.
What he wants to say, I think, is that our social skills are ebbing. We're losing them.
Whereas once your mother would say, "Dear, telephone," and you would jump to get the phone (it had a cord, you had to do something outrageous, move to talk on it) now you're screaming,
"Not now! I'm busy!"An old friend you haven't seen comes over to say hello and you're happy to see him. But there's that piece of you thinking,
D____! Why does he have to come over right now?! Why now?! I'm blogging!Your spouse comes home, after a hard day at the hospital, and it is an effort to put it away, your computer, to look into his tired eyes and say, "Let's sit down and talk about it."
You want to know if I did, don't you. You want to know.
Sure I did.
But wait. We're not finished. Jason McCabe Calacanis has dubbed today Empathy Day. If you Twitter, you're supposed to say something nice about someone and add,
to the message.
Go for it. Even if Mr. Calacanis has a lot of chutzpah diagnosing people. That's worth marketing, empathy.