T M I – Too Much Information

I was minding my own business on Facebook the other day, looking at posts, and I innocently followed a link that told me (in a very graphic way) something extremely personal about someone whose work I’m a fan of. It was that person’s choice to put the information out there, and it’s not something that affects how much I like their work, but it did make me think back…

Remember when we didn’t know every single thing there was to know about people? I’m talking not just about celebrities and the like, but really just anyone. It seems like there’s hardly any mystery around people anymore.

Not to date myself, but I remember a time when music videos were brand new. And it was weird, because before that there was a good chance you could listen to an artist for years and really have no idea what they looked like, other than a picture on an album cover or inside sleeve.

Now, with zero effort of my own, I know that Kanye West hates big-assed striped scarves. I know Justin Bieber likes mineral water. I know Pete Wentz‘s son got a haircut.

I don’t want to know any of this. But between Twitter, Facebook, TMZ, E!, Access Hollywood, Perez Hilton, etc. this information just floats around us like a giant ring of space debris.

I can see someone I might know on Facebook, and in under three clicks (or taps) I know their city, school, employer, social causes, political party, stance on hotbutton issues, favorite TV shows, movies, and music. You used to make friends with people, and ask them those things over time. Got to know each other.

“I was going to ask you if you watch The Walking Dead, but I already know you do, so…The Walking Dead is cool, huh?”

Remember what is was like to be talking to someone (in the flesh or on the phone) and just sort of organically realize the two of you had something in common? The act of connecting with someone in a natural way is almost a lost art.

Now, it’s more like, “Let’s see, Mike’s friend John likes Hoarders and The Following, that’s cool, but he likes EDM and…Ghost Rider?!? No, screw this guy, it wouldn’t work.”

I like the band Tool. I’m not one of their crazed, loyal fans, but I like them. But I loved their videos. One of the reasons was because they weren’t in them. They chose to do something inherently more creative and made weird little creepy mini-movies for their songs. And once again, a band existed that I couldn’t identify if I walked into them on the street. They had mystery.

I know this post is a bit of a rant, but sometimes I feel like I’m suffocating in information that I don’t want to know. I don’t care who my favorite actor voted for, I don’t care how much my favorite singer did or did not donate to charity, and I shouldn’t have to.

Ugh. I’m just going to go watch the Food Network. Because no matter how much I watch, I will never, ever know what Guy Fieri thinks about stem cell research. And that makes me happy.

Published by Kenneth Jobe

Kenneth Jobe is a writer, photographer, musician, and Native Californian living in the Midwest with his wife and son. His fiction has been published in Jitter, The Rusty Nail, Ghostlight: The Magazine of Terror, and the horror anthology Robbed of Sleep, Volume 2.

5 thoughts on “T M I – Too Much Information

  1. I still have Facebook, but I really don’t use it except to participate on the pages where I’m in an Admin position. The Undead in the Netherworld page and the Animal Anarchy page get a fair bit of attention. Other than that, I play Pyramid Solitaire. My son’s the one that got me on Facebook, but he never uses it himself.
    I still have a Twitter account, which I never use. I try to avoid celebrity gossip sites because I find that they make my already snarky attitudes even worse!

    1. I hear that. I had my local radio station on a couple weeks ago, and on their little morning news brief they had some little piece about Bieber! I wish they would not treat stuff like that like legitimate news.

    1. Can you imagine if you had copies of your Facebook profile printed out and gave one to every new person you met? ‘Hi, nice to meet you, here’s everything about me.’

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