The Demise of TMI

There’s a new phenomenon sweeping through cyberspace, and maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I just don’t get it: on Facebook, seemingly all my friends are “checking into” places using Apps like Foursquare.

I’ll see status updates that say, John Smith is at Red Robin or Jane Doe is at Target. Every night, one of my friends updates his status to show he is at warm, comfy bed with my wife. I have two questions:

  • Do we really need to know your whereabouts every minute of every day?
  • Is it wise to announce to the world that you aren’t even home?

I mean, we’re all guilty of this already, I suppose. My Facebook status yesterday read, Mark needs a break. Feels like a good day to stomp around Powell’s Books for awhile. Which means I essentially told the world “I won’t be home for a few hours – now would be a good time to come rob me!” Right? Anybody who has even a passing knowledge of my life knows that I’m divorced, share custody of my kids, and they aren’t with me this week. So I guess taking it one step further with Foursquare isn’t really a big deal, unless you’re obsessive about it and update every time you set foot outside or close the bathroom door. Which, umm, some of my friends do. It’s interesting, when you think about it: in the 21st century, we have witnessed the demise of TMI.

How different would the world have been if social media had existed centuries earlier? Think about some of the status updates, tweets, and Foursquare check-ins we would have been privy to!

Ben Franklin thinks a storm is approaching. Now would be a good time to go fly a kite. 

Hannibal is at Pyrenees with army and elephants. 

Julius Caesar The @Colosseum is packed today. Looking forward to the #gladiator games. I give them a thumbs up! Or thumbs down…LOL.

Our historical figures didn’t bother sharing their every thought or move with the rest of the world! Probably a good thing, too. George Washington might never have made it across the Delaware. Not that the British would necessarily have been ready to stop him on the other side, though. They might’ve been too busy playing Angry Birds.

I give this one a thumbs down! (Courtesy of historylink102.com).

I got to thinking about all of this yesterday because, when I went to Powell’s Books, I brought along my iPod Touch. I had downloaded this cool new App called Meridian, which presumably allows you to type in the name of any book Powell’s has in stock, and it will guide you directly to the book through step-by-step directions. You might think this sounds silly, but Powell’s is no ordinary bookstore. It encompasses an entire city block in downtown Portland and is several stories tall. It’s considered the world’s largest independent bookstore, with over a million titles stocked on its shelves. To a book lover, it is Heaven, Paradise and Nirvana all rolled into one, a glorious collection of new and used books covering every topic under the sun. The cavernous rooms are all color-coded: the Gold Room contains mysteries and thrillers, the Blue Room houses literature and poetry, the Orange Room contains cookbooks, and so forth and so on. Having this App, with turn-by-turn directions, would definitely be a boon!

Only, when I fired it up, it wasn’t working. I have no idea why – the WiFi connection worked fine, but the App showed me nothing. For a few brief moments, I panicked. What am I going to do now? I wondered. How will I find the book I’m looking for??

And then I remembered that I’ve been shopping at Powell’s for fifteen years and have always been able to find what I needed. There are computers scattered throughout the store, and an army of helpful employees who can hold your hand and walk you to the right shelf if you ask them kindly. And I realized right then and there how soft we, as a society, have become.

I remember when you walked into the library and had to use the card catalog. Ahh, the Dewey Decimal System – how antiquated. And yet, it worked just fine! I imagine my ancestors (who may or may not have been Austrian) thought the Abacus was a perfectly satisfactory counting tool, as well. Don’t even get me started on mimeographs. Remember the way the paper was all limp and damp and blue and had a certain smell when it came off the machine? Ahh, the good ol’ days! Sometimes I long for simpler times. But then I turn on my LCD television and scroll through the programs on my DVR and I get over it.

On a final note, you can probably tell that I changed to a new theme. I like this one a lot – Mystique’s got a bunch of really cool features, and I like the colors. All that grey was starting to get me down. I like the different post formats – I can just post an image, or a quote, or an aside, rather than a 1000-word rant, if the mood strikes. Which is, oddly enough, pretty much just like a Facebook status update. Ahh, the possibilities.

TMI? There’s no such thing anymore.

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24 thoughts on “The Demise of TMI

  1. I GOT OFF FACEBOOK. ORIGINALLY IT WAS DESIGNED AS WAY FOR PI KAPPA ALPHA ALUMS FROM FLORIDA SOUTHERN COLLEGE IN LAKELAND FLORIDA TO STAY IN TOUCH AND PLAN REUNIONS. THIS WAS FOR CLASSES 1966-1974. (IT DID TAKE SOME 8 YEARS TO FINISH).
    BUT THE GALS JUST RUINED IT. HOURLY REPORTS ABOUT TIMOTHY, THE DOPEY CAT, THE DENTIST, BAKING A CAKE FROM THE GIRLS WE MARRIED AND DATED PUT 50 ADDITIONAL ITEMS IN THE INBOX A DAY. COULDN’T TAKE IT. I DON’T GIVE A RATS BUTT ABOUT TIMOTHY, THE CAT, THE DENTIST, OR YOUR LOUSY CAKE.

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  2. PS THE NET-MAN GLADIATOR IN THE PICTURE WAS A FORMIDABLE ADVERSARY IN THE ARENA. HE WOULD USUALLY FAKE A HIGH PASS WITH THE NET, THEN SWOOP LOW TO CATCH YOUR FOOT TO TRIP YOU THEN FINISH YOU OFF.

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    1. I just saw a special on gladiators…very cool how that were evenly matched up. One fighter might have a bigger shield, but his opponent had a curved sword that could get behind the shield. I always wondered how the net worked.

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  3. wow–
    new theme! It’s gray, like Portland and where I am, up north of you! must putter about and see if it passes the “Jane” test…
    I can’t stand all the “checking in here and there” stuff…although, I have been known to go on a Facebook status hour-by-hour update marathon, those days I just can’t contain myself.

    And, I have GOT to get my buns down to Powell’s…still have never been.

    blessings and best, and thanks for the morning Chuckle Extraordinare.

    Off to run, then shower, then sweep the floors and vacuum and then walk the dog and then make Friday Pizza and then empty the recycle bin and and and…

    jane

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    1. What is the “Jane” test, exactly? Proper formatting of terms like “whackadoo”? ;)

      Wow, you’re busy! Friday pizza sounds good…hmm…I’m inspired. Do you use “real” crust or something like Boboli?

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  4. The new page theme is super swanky. Fancy Pants, even! I think the Facebook GPS tracker is over-the-top creepy. I rather not know exactly where everyone is at any given moment.

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  5. “Ben Franklin thinks a storm is approaching. Now would be a good time to go fly a kite.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHA! OMG, that CRACKED ME UP, Mark!

    •Do we really need to know your whereabouts every minute of every day?
    •Is it wise to announce to the world that you aren’t even home?

    Thank you! I agree, TMI.

    I do have a FB account, but barely use it. Twitter, I just never found a use for it. Blogging for me is the perfect media for communicating and staying in touch with friends and family.

    LOVE your new theme. It ROCKS!

    Have a super weekend, buddy!

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    1. Thanks, Ron!
      With this new theme, I think I’ll be posting more content than before, but a lot of it will be simpler. A photograph here, a random thought there. I may drive my subscribers crazy! But then again, we’re all used to Facebook status updates nowadays.
      I’m still working on using Twitter more to my advantage.

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  6. I visited Powell’s Books for the first time in November and loved it! After four hours of wandering just before closing time, I considered hiding in the bathroom until everyone left so I could continue my wander throughout the night.

    My wife wouldn’t let me.

    I agree with you about the whole four-square app. Not really into it myself either. I prefer calling random numbers in my phone when I close the bathroom door. Seems more personal somehow.

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    1. Powell’s is awesome! Four hours is nothing, if you’ve never been there before. I always stay at least a couple of hours, usually longer, and I end up having to force myself to leave every time.

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  7. Love the new format great post. I tried facebook but didn’t stay on it long. I agree I miss the smell of the mimeograph paper that was used in elementary school. Like you though I love my DVR with my plasma tv which I couldn’t live without. Twitter way too much information. I still like to yap on the phone to catch up with friends. It’s much more personal. Texting I do with my son only because he doesnt like talking on the phone that much except when he gives me his University exam marks then its by phone.

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    1. I remember writing letters to friends. Talk about an old-fashioned concept! For some reason younger people these days prefer texting over talking. Actually…I get that. I probably text more than talk myself.

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  8. They totally had this issue on the news after foursquare came out because people HAVE gotten robbed! I think that is like pointless twittering. I ate cheetos for dinner. Why do I need to tweet about it when I can write a whole blog about it and get comments?! Foolish status reports writers! lol.

    Jealous of your day in Powell’s!

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    1. Powell’s was great, but Voodoo was out of the question. They just closed the downtown location for six weeks for remodeling. Turns out they’re expanding into the empty location next door. I guess business continues to boom there!

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  9. “I am now sitting at my computer, posting a reply to Mark.” *sigh* I think that most of us agree that TMI is just that…too much! Everytime I read a status report, it reminds me of the commercial on tv with the Dad tweeting “I’m on the back porch” and the kid saying “Yeah Dad, we know!” Anyhoo, love the new layout and of course, LOVE the post!!

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    1. LOL…great commercial! I think Twitter encourages more mundaneness than Facebook even. It’s something I’m just starting to get involved in, because social media is so important in building a “brand” these days.

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  10. Now, what’s REALLY TMI was the person who passed me on the street a few years ago, yelling into a cell phone, “What do you mean I don’t satisfy you?!” Now that was information I totally did not need from a total stranger.

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