Thursday, 9 July 2009

The 'To Do List' Syndrome and Facebook Shame

Everything's a syndrome these days isn't it. My take is that everyone's utterly mental in their own way, so suck it up, as they like to say in the Scott Pilgrim comics.

I, and several of my friends, swear by To Do lists, and this is a subject of fascination to me. I always made To Do lists when I was younger and trying to be a writer - a SERIOUS writer, mind you, not the frantic screenplay hack I've become - and had no sooner got through one than another popped out of nowhere.

These days I absolutely have to keep To Do lists handy, as filmmaking always requires reams of paper and the methodical crossing out of things I'm supposed to have done. The great thing about these lists is that as long as you always do them, you're doing ok, and you feel like you're progressing. The goal though is not to get through everything to the point where there's nothing left on the list, but to keep adding to and evolving it so that you're getting a load of stuff done. Otherwise life tends to drift by.

That's also the great thing about filmmaking; you have a lot to show for your time. Considerably less to show for your time, i.e. a year of work, or more, may yield a 90 minute feature film, so ratio-wise, you've slogged your guts out obsessively on one project for an hour and half of someone else's entertainment or horror. But at least film lasts forever. Ah, immortality.

One or two of my friends have told me that I need to occasionally ditch the To Do list and go out and live life, which I do intend to do, right after I've finished making this feature! I think it could be a panic about drifting through my 30s the way I drifted through my 20s, and a way to make sure I do all the things I think I've been put on this stupid planet to do.

One day I won't have a To Do list, but that day I'll probably be old and wrinkley and about to die. I should put 'Die' at the end of my last To Do list, or I'll feel I did something off the scheduled plan.

Now then, Facebook. There seem to be an awful lot of people who use Facebook to update fifteen times a day with posts like 'I am bored', and 'I am watching TV', 'Why does no-one reply to my posts' and 'I hate everyone' and then disappear for a while, only to return with a newfound love for posting updates fifteen times a day.

The thing about Facebook is, it's Faceless. Yes it's people that make it run, but in a kind of filtered, second hand way that often bears little relation to the way people really interact. Now this may sound hypocritical from someone who constantly promotes my films and projects online, and I have fallen victim to the 'Is anyone out there? Why doesn't anyone care?' thing, but people are selfish. I am selfish, everyone is selfish and everyone is dealing with their own daily problems, so don't feel personally slighted if they can't comment on every little detail of your life at the same rate you can post them. That's what friends are for; actual, real world friends. The dozen or so people you really give a shit about and who love you and would happily drop what they were doing and come give you a hug. And not a *poke*, either. An actual hug. With real arms. Thank the stars for those precious few, because they're the ones whose opinions matter, not the 326 people on your 'friends' list, out there in the dark somewhere.

It's the same with a blog. If you want to spout your theories and news and nonsense, as I'm doing, in public, go for it. But this isn't a diary. You can pour your heart out but in a very general, cry for help kind of way to the wailing wall, but everyone's busy living their lives, or perhaps not since they're all on Facebook. You can't take it personally when no-one replies to your fifteen posts a day, and when they do it's to say something like 'You need to get a life outside Facebook' as I noticed one of my friends comment on another friend's wall the other day. You need actual help, ask an actual person. IN person.

There is a certain honesty that can come of blogging and Facebooking though. I for one am someone who gets on very well with most people - unless they're obnoxious wankers - but I have a certain shy, social awkwardness that sometimes means I'm better online than in person - only sometimes, I hope - but I have struck up some damn fine friendships that started online with the odd comment and sharing of music or film clips and developed into something nicer and more personal. And no, I'm not talking about online dating.

I do enjoy to ramble. Time to go, I've only done half my To Do list.


unclemum said...

I to am a big fan of the To Do List - and my already shambolic writing patterns would entity fall apart with out them - though I've aways been a tick box man myself rather that a crosser-outer. You really know you've achieved something when you get to tick a box.

Miles said...

Yes, I'm more of a crossing off person than a tick box kinda guy.
Do you draw little boxes Ceri?

Anonymous said...

I did draw my own boxes before I nicked a proper To Do A4 pad, complete with tick boxes, from work. Though I'm a bit worried as I've only got a few sheets left with no more pads at work and no shop in York seeming to sell them. And I can't go back to doing my own boxes, I just can't I tells ya!

Miles said...

I would find an online source and get these special pads sent to you! I want one now...

Teresa Stenson said...

I've seen them!

But I can't remember where.

Somewhere lame, I think.

Maybe Waterstones? Which isn't that lame, really.