Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Monday, December 15, 2008

Let's Face It, It's A Brave New World

Society. It's the world around us. Not the infrastructure, or our environment, although their status can be the result of what goes on in our society, but our culture, and moires. That's our society. Communicating within a society is important, for without good communication there would be no real society, just people going about doing their own thing never knowing what the rest of the their world is thinking, and doing.

This can lead to chaos in some ways, but will stymie growth as well. So, over time man has developed systems to communicate with others. In the beginning it was simple, just yelling out of the cave to the next cave.

"Hey, Bill, I like that woman living with you in your cave. Can I have her?"

Communication like this led to some basic social rules. No, you cannot have your neighbors roommate, even if you really like her. Of course, rules were broken, so to enforce them and make them known for the masses, they were written down. Stone tablets recorded a lot of rules. Moses had some tablets, and did a fine job spreading the rules to the masses. The Babylonians had clay tablet, and recorded a lot of rules and events, not to mention the Egyptians and their recording of life and rules on the sides of stone structures, and even better, on papyrus with pen and ink.

The better the communication in a society, the more a society grows with most everyone going in the same direction. For the most part.

Monks cornered the market on writing on paper, and storing the pages into what became books. Well to do people learned writing, too, and soon there were literate people that numbered in an amount that made sharing one monk made book difficult, so society invented the printing press. Books were printed enmasse, and distributed, and again, society read, learned about things, got all on the same page, essentially, and moved on.

Well, except for that period called the Dark Ages, but that was only because it was dark, and it was difficult to read.

Societies grew, prospered, fought wars, and spread their influence with new methods of communication. From books to music, to theater, the telegraph, radio, motion pictures, television, the computer, and the internet, our world has grown exponentially as each new form of talking to one another has evolved.

Until now.

Now there is Facebook, and society as we know it will come to a screeching halt as this form of communication takes over our world.

Facebook is what is referred to as a social networking internet web site. People sign up for free, post some information about themselves for the world to see, some photos, then search the site for others they may know, and include them in their list of "friends". On each persons homepage they can post what they are doing now for the world to see, and when posted it shows up on all the friends pages as well.

"Bill is walking the dog, and then taking a nap."

Now, the world knows Bill likes animals, but can't tolerate exercise.

One can put in their likes and dislikes for music, movies, books, anything they want to share, and the world knows it. Of course, you can select who you want to share your information with, but essentially, if you're posting anything personal online, you are probably posting more than just where you went to high school, and people do.


People post anything, and everything.

"Kathy is on the pike on her way to her OB/GYN appt."
"Tom is dancing a victory dance in his underwear cuz the Pat's won."
"Jill has become a fan of Britney Spears, again."

This is mild. There is a messaging function in the Facebook where you can instant message those of your friends online, or leave little messages on their "wall", or send them a email. People live for this communication and voyeurism. They will log on from their phones, laptops, desktops to check who is doing what , to whom, and where, and whatever, and to post where they are, what they just ate, how they slept, a photo of their new dog, or a picture of friends at the bar.

Nothing is secret. Nothing is kept to oneself.

It's all out there. Everything. Things are posted in the beginning for a selected few friends, but the friend network grows fast, and soon everyone knows about a date gone bad, a rash that won't go away, and anything else in your life that you've chosen to post online.

So, with all the media attention given Facebook, I had to check it out. One thing I found that you can't randomly search it's pages without becoming a remember. I became a member.

Arrghh. First step to sharing.

Once I got a little Facebook place I began to search for people I knew. Found my daughter, she has over 600 friends. Found my brother, his kids, his wife, my sister, co-workers, old classmates, and friends. Each one of them had a little bit about themselves online. I searched their friends for people we knew in common, and found some. I got messages from people giving me a hard time because I only had three friends, and to "step it up". I got messages, emails, and comments.

Seems everyone on the planet is on Facebook. Everyone.

I even found my Dad on Facebook. He turned 75 years old in August, and there he is, big as life, on his own Facebook page, photo and everything.

"Bob is writing music this morning, and hoping to get something published soon."


They've not only stolen our young, they've taken our parents, too.

Makes one pine for the good 'ol days of blogging.

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