if a tree falls vs. character … aka if you don’t post about it on social networking, it (did/didn’t) happen … or the paradox of existentialism

Once upon a time, the riddle “if a tree falls in the woods and nobody is there to hear it fall, does it make a sound?” was what I thought of every time I rode my bike down the country road of my childhood or wandered (deliberately or aimlessly) in the woods …

not because I was particularly challenged by the implications of the riddle, but because I was listening for the sound of a tree falling

… in all my wanders through the woods, not once did I hear a tree felled that wasn’t felled by man in one respect or another (axe, chainsaw, logging equipment).

Outside the woods I’d heard trees fall as a result of nature, but not in the woods.

From The Chive

From The Chive

Since it’s spring break, I’ve had some spare brain cells and neural synapses not obsessed with the ingestion of academia, I’m not hellbent on studying (which is admittedly naughty) so there was room in my head …


here’s my final answer on the Tree riddle … you know that quote by JC Watts  “Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking”? That is the existentialist extrapolation of the paradox of the tree.

Nike - found on Pinterest

Nike – found on Pinterest

If doing the right thing when nobody’s looking is your habit, then doing the right thing is more important than someone else’s accolades … if you only follow the “right” way when someone is looking, then someone else’s accolades are more important than doing the right thing. There are all kinds of ways to make this into an analogy for the general rise and fall of civilizations, of leaders, of individuals, or even of mankind as a whole if you’re so inclined.



and it occurred to me today that Social Media has become the new “test” for what is and what isn’t – what did or did not happen – the indicator of …. whether or not you are keeping up with the Momzillas and Mombies of the 21st Century.


But is it?

source unknown

source unknown


How many people have you filtered out of your news feed because you simply do NOT need to know THAT much about another person with whom you don’t share a refrigerator?

Or because you’ve read How Not to Use Instagram  and your sense of self-preservation selects the “HIDE” option and then your tenuous hold on sanity selects “Hide All By” … especially when you’ve been (whatever the facebook equivalent of a photobomb is) by someone’s choice in feminine protection or deodorant or hair color? HONS! if you’re reading this and you’ve ever “liked” a product that belongs in/near the restroom please remember … even if it’s not horrifying enough to you that you just “shared” that preference with EVERYONE on your friends list

some day your children will be old enough to have untethered access to the internet.

I don’t mean when they’re 13 and old enough for Facebook, I mean when they’re in their own home paying for their own internet … or worse yet … they’re in a position of running electronic background checks and YOU are looking for employment … and because you’re on their friends list (like you insisted when they turned 13) THEY are going to be able to see that stuff.

SO just imagine if you will … 20 years from now when that beautiful child you’re so proudly quoting in your status and sharing as your cover photo … and you’ve gotten to a point in your life where you stop considering an academic calendar in your career needs and you decide that you’re going to do something wild and audacious like start a new endeavor … and a Google Search pops back today’s date and that you puffy-heart a particular brand of tampons, or an equally personal product … and your kid has to check the box (or not) for whether you have discretion about sensitive information in order for you to get that job (or security clearance or whatever) …


Sure, Facebook may have jumped the shark – but remember: 20 years ago, employers didn’t research you online before you sat in an interview … 20 years from now, imagine what else they’ll want to know … “So Mrs. Thomasthetankengine, it says here that you loved Playtex Sport from 2011 to 2012 and then you switched. Loyalty is very important to our organization, if you can’t commit to a tampon for a year, how can we know you’ll be fully engaged in your work performance?”

Social networking is a fantastic tool for sharing your life – especially across time-zones – with others in messages and photos. It’s fun, relaxing, and often an educational experience. But sometimes it gets overdone … or you discover that you’ve fond the END of the Internet. Hopefully before you’ve shared your preference for ensuring regular bowel movements … but hey, it’s 2013 and boundaries are a thing of the past. Except when they’re not. Be careful. You might need those boundaries again in the future.

From ICanHasCheezburger.com

From ICanHasCheezburger.com


Remember: “I didn’t change, you just got to know me better” should have a VERY limited audience. 




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