A lot of people accuse me of hating social media. I think that myself sometimes, but I myself don’t even know if that is necessarily true. I’ve been struggling for a long time to figure out what exactly it is about social media that gives me a burning, itchy rash, and that alone bothers me. The only thing that keeps me sane is the realization that I am trying to rationalize an industry that generally makes no sense in the first place.
Now, after years of searching high and low for the Holy Grail, I think I have found the answer to what it is that makes my teeth itch about the whole thing. Thanks to this article and accompanying video at wsj.com.
It’s the desperate grasp to make social media magnates seem deeper than they are. Don’t get me wrong. A lot of the products are just fine. Good or bad, there is a bit of creativity involved in all of it, and that is to be commended. But when supposed intellectual luminaries call upon Twitter founder Jack Dorsey to play a free association game just because somebody decided to unearth Carl Jung’s “Red Book” is beyond me.
For those of you who don’t know, Carl Jung was an early 20th century psychologist who was primarily interested in the unconscious mind. According to Wikipedia, “In 1913 at the age of thirty-eight, Jung experienced a horrible "confrontation with the unconscious". He saw visions and heard voices. He worried at times that he was "menaced by a psychosis" or was "doing a schizophrenia". He decided that it was valuable experience, and in private, he induced hallucinations, or, in his words, "active imaginations". He recorded everything he felt in small journals. Jung began to transcribe his notes into a large, red leather-bound book, on which he worked intermittently for sixteen years.”
Stay with me now. I have to dissect this to get where I’m going, OK? I have to issue with this. Firstly, if someone says they are “menaced with psychosis”, that is an immediate disqualifier. Anybody who thinks they are or might be crazy, isn’t crazy. I’ve known people who think that way, and the truth is, it’s just a way to absolve oneself of responsibility and get attention.
More than that, if you are crazy, why are you inducing hallucinations? If you’re genuinely psychotic, you’re probably having hallucinations already, and how do you know what you’re inducing and what you’re not? So, if he was actually inducing “active imaginations” as the wiki says, Carl Jung did nothing more than get stoned and write stuff down. I’ve known a few hippies who have done that. I don’t see them getting asked to symposiums and the like. (No, Moonbeam. Poetry Jam Night at the Java Joint doesn’t count.)
So, that being said, and me being me, I dismiss the premise of the event as overblown and false. But for the sake of argument (and I’m sure there are many arguments to the contrary) let’s assume the event is totally valid and has the possibility incredibly enlightening.
Do you mean to tell me that of all the people that could be chosen to play a stripped down version of “Inside the Actor’s Studio” with, The guy who turned the instant messaging client into a world-wide spam machine and allowed us to grasp such insights as “I really don’t like green Jell-o” get’s asked to play? Are you kidding me?
Twitter can’t even come up with a profitable business plan, and they want to know what makes this guy tick? Well, here’s my analysis, Sigmund Freud: Not much.
Isn’t there anybody better? Hell, I’d even settle for Barack Obama at this point. I don’t even like him, but I’m definitely interested in what he’s thinking. Not only that, it would be easy to pull off because his narcissism rivals that of those in social media. He’d do that interview in a second.
In fairness, I’m sure they have done this exercise with others, but it concerns me that someone thinks that playing “name that ink blot” with the father of real-time spam is worth reporting on. I didn’t know that acquiring bazillions of dollars in VC while presiding over a product that is short on, or late to the table with features, lacks stability and has no profit model was enough to level a man with great thinkers and theorists and legitimate living historic figures. Even James Lipton would find this pretentious, and he makes his living asking actors what their favorite color is.
Hello. We’re 21st century America. We elevate the undeserving.
You want to play “free-association” with Jack Dorsey? Fine. I’ll play:
What’s the matter, Jack? Cat got your tongue?