Normally, I don’t do April Fool pranks. It’s too common. But I got this idea in my head a while ago, and I decided to run with it today.
Background: About 10 years ago, I spat out a small bucketload of plays. It was a nice run. Most of them were short, two were full-length, and they all got some stage time. One play, Dinner for Several, won a comedy competition sponsored by a small theater in Florida. Flew me down for a reading and everything. Nifty!
That play hasn’t seen a stage since (I think) 2009. So this morning my Facebook page featured this:
The kudos started flowing.
People were happy for me.
People were not keying in on the name “Hiroshi O’Malley.”
See, that’s the first clue. That, and the fact that today is today.
And then it hit me… This is how we interact now on social media. We skim. We gloss. We do the quick read, snap out a quick response or tap the “Like” button and we move on to the next yummy morsel being spoon-fed to us by our newsfeed. These people, my friends who’ve known me for years, were not reading my post in its entirety. They were not clicking that “See More” link—because why bother? I said a happy thing about me, so the correct social media animal response is to say “Yay!” and go look for clickbait. What was above the fold was enough. They did the right social media thing.
And thus missed the whole payoff:
Yes, the “Bridgeport CT Work Release and Community Service Theater Collaborative and Rehabilitation Center.” Not to mention “off-off-off…etc.”
It started as a joke, but it’s turned out a little sad to me. Don’t get me wrong—it’s nice to know that my friends would be thrilled to see my work on stage again, but getting this glimpse into our too-much-input, gloss-and-go culture isn’t a good thing. Our interactions are cheapened, our understanding diminished. The longest reply from someone who took a moment to throw me some congrats is three words long. And while Facebook played a part in my joke by putting the “See More” tag in a pretty much perfect place, it’s also responsible in part for the overload that pretends to connect us, but which really just makes us that much more superficial.