Saturday, August 15, 2009

Facebooked

In case some of you are wondering why I've done so little with this blog since opening it to readers' comments, it's because I too have been seduced into the madness that is Facebook.

For the few among you who haven't visited Facebook to see what it's about, it's a social networking site that permits friends, friends of friends and (let's admit it) total strangers to communicate with their walls of privacy intact. This important detail makes Facebook attractive to certain celebrities who might enjoy interacting with their public as long as it doesn't mean leaking their personal e-mail details.

One of the thrills of my own involvement on Facebook has been the ability to approach and communicate with certain people I like and admire professionally, with whom I might not have had the opportunity otherwise, certainly not on a daily basis. I'm talking about people like Ann Magnuson, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork, Illeana Douglas, Edwige Fenech and Tura Satana, and Argento heroines Jessica Harper, Irene Miracle and Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni, to name a few.

Equally interesting is the degree to which Facebook shrinks the size of the world to something more manageable and within one's ready grasp, which brings to the surface certain coincidences (even psychic connections) that might otherwise escape your notice. Early in my own Facebook experience, I found myself noticing someone's avatar on a lot of "Mutual Friends" lists; there was something about her photo that spoke to me in a way I didn't understand, but it didn't want to be denied. I wrote to this stranger, an Italian novelist and translator named Cristiana Astori, inviting her to become a friend. She wrote back to say that she was astonished to receive my letter because I and my work had been central in her consciousness for months! She was in the process of completing a novel and, owing to its subject matter, she had been immersing herself in various articles and liner notes I had written, one of the few available sources for information pertaining to her chosen subject. Even the title she had chosen for her novel was a nod to my MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK! Thanks to Facebook, I was able to discover this creative connection on the other side of the globe that would have remained a secret to me otherwise.

Just as important, in fact the truly addictive element in Facebook, is the banter I can now get into with distant friends, people as far-flung as Chile and Poland, and even business associates with whom I can suddenly communicate on a more personal level. As Richard Harland Smith (another convert) aptly described it, "Facebook isn't a party, it's a party line." In fact, many of VW's contributors (Donna, John Charles, Kim Newman, Shane Dallmann, Sam Umland, Eric Somer and others) are also on Facebook, and if you would be interested in befriending us there, I'm sure most of us would gladly add you to our lists. It won't hurt if you mention you're a subscriber. It also wouldn't hurt if you really are. ; - )
I am having a lot of fun over there, but I'm also aware that I could be having similar fun here, now that the comments feature has been activated, and playing (as it were) to a larger audience. Right now my Facebook shenanigans are within the reach of only 420 Facebook friends, and I'm sure not all of them check on me every day. I do intend to come back here more frequently, but the task immediately in front of me is to create some material for VW #151 -- including its own Video WatchBlog column. Be back soon.

10 comments:

  1. I'd love to hear from Video Watchdog readers via Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/eric.somer

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  2. "Facebook isn't a party, it's a party line."

    I love how I say stuff!

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  3. Dear Tim,

    First things first: I think VW is a national treasure, something really special that I've cherished and collected through the years. So anyway, I'll get straight to the point because, as a fan, I think it's my duty to express my opinion on this: Please don't neglect your contribution to the magazine in favor of something like Facebook! The site is passing fad, not really substantial... I know I'm in the minority here, especially when you see how busy people are these days oversharing details of their lives (and not much else); but I just want to see a new VW issue each month on the newsstand, instead of every now and then.
    Thanks for your work. 150 is beautiful.

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  4. @ Pete - Facebook had nothing to do with the delay between VIDEO WATCHDOG #'s 149 and 150. It has wasted a certain amount of my time, but that's what I've done instead of taking a vacation and I've had a rough year, work-wise. It has brought me a great deal in terms of keeping in closer, ongoing touch with friends and making some significant new ones.

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  5. Thanks for the answer, and sorry if I sounded harsh. Needless to say, I'll be first in line to buy #151 when it comes out!
    Oh, I'll also take this opportunity to praise the new AVI Watchdog section. Excellent idea!

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  6. No problem, Pete, and thanks for the kind words. Thanks to Facebook, I've spent the last 10 minutes chatting with Fran├žoise Pascal! We're friends. She sent me kisses. Amazing!

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  7. Shouldn't you be on Facebook right now?? :)

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  8. Tim Lucas8:38 PM

    Actually, Lisa, when you posted that question, I was!

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  9. I was on FAcebook for a minute and with one of those annoying apps that people were constantly sending me, I got a virus in my computer! Needless to say I no longer do Facebook. You can, however, find me on Twitter at douglaswaltz. Hope to see you all there

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  10. Kinski2:57 AM

    Good luck with it. Hope you still throw a lump of meat to us stray Watchdogs roaming outside the walls - just once in a while.

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