Sunday, August 28, 2011

I See... Out of the Best Books

Q: What is the most important, popular book in circulation on earth today? (notice that this query out of necessity excludes books known to extraterrestrial beings, such as the Book of Life, which includes every good and bad detail of every person's life, available only at the judgment bar of God) Which book imparts more information and hence has the most influence on the greatest number of people?

A: Up until recently, books belonging to worldwide religions such as the Koran and/or the Bible would be easy winners. I'm sure that my traditional LDS readership would vote for the Book of Mormon. The bottom line, however, is that based on raw numbers, the most read book in the world is... Facebook!

I'm going avoid arguments about the moral implications of social networking and just proclaim that Facebook imparts more information than any other record in the history of the world. In fact, it has revolutionized reading into a contact sport. The number of Facebook users is somewhere in the range of buzillions. In the age-old journalistic tradition of mangling statistics to support your own position, I can confidently say that there are probably more Facebook users than there are earthlings, meaning that it's popularity has reached the Animal Kingdom or that aliens really do live among us, and they are using Facebook to take over the world. Sure, some of it may be gossip, and much of it may be wrong information, but those two weaknesses haven't stopped the fiction author masses from plying their trade.

The Mormon Third Eye has also been captured by the Facebook revolution. It is the destination of choice for me when I want to 1) get valuable information out quickly, like news that church services have been cancelled or my son is getting married, or 2) when I've had to deal with oppressively serious problems at work, and need an outlet to release smarty-pants remarks trapped in me all day, such as commenting on the young mother's challenges with potty training with the clever quip, “I'm sure everything will come out alright in the end.”

According to my popularity analysis of Facebook, there are many more books to be written in Web 2.0. The Mormon Third Eye sees several new specialized “books,” all patterned after the Facebook model that address clear needs:

Whinebook- This would be a great book for people to whine about all the problems packed into their pathetic, insignificant lives. An added bonus side effect is a much more pleasant Facebook.

Lifebook- This is a close cousin to Whinebook. Here readers who inexplicably believe that by living their life as a open book, others will mistake them are celebrities, can post every detail of their day. Whether it is just waking up in the morning or brushing their teeth, or something more exciting, like driving little Laman and Lemuel to their dentist appointments, this is the preferred place to read it all, no matter how small. I suspect that many Lifebook readers would enjoy Whinebook and vice-versa.

LDSbook- This is the location for members of the church to employ uniquely Mormon culture lingo (can you say High Priest group leader's Priesthood Executive Council Subcommittee on reactivation being held before ward temple night at the stake center?) and get the real important stuff done like gossip about, then accurately ID, the mystery fruit embedded in the green jello salad at the Releif Society dinner; or sponsor a heated debate on the doctrinal requirement to wear a tie for home teaching appointments.

Pottybook- The destination of choice for young moms and their cheerleading husbands to debate the joys and sorrows of potty training their rugrats. It could also double as a vital venue for more mature parents who have survived that arduous stage of their lives to feign sympathy and encouragement while secretly embracing the vengeance of young parenthood accompanied by eville maniacal laughter.

Spambook- This is the record of choice for simplistic Facebook fanatics who feel compelled to post mountains of annoying “spam” on answering questions about your love life, or litter your Facebook real estate with invitations for your closest 10,000 friends to play shallow time-wasting interactive games. This book could also make ground-breaking contributions to the Great War on Terror by torturing terrorists into revealing the next big bomb plot- “Please! Stop! I promise I'll tell you everything! Don't make me read anymore posts about about Farmville! PLEASE!! NOOOOOO!!!!”

Dysfunctional Familybook- Dysfunctional families will use this “book” exclusively for all communications with other family members and avoid altogether direct constructive dialogue on any issue of substance or importance. Dinner time would be transformed into the meal they always meant to be; an empty, lonely lip-smacking cacophony of grunts, burps, and cavemen-like chewing. Plus, it's much easier and justifiable to misunderstand, criticize, blame, and offend in the superficially indirect world of Dysfunctional Familybook.

I think you get the idea. I'm sure there are many other “books” you'd like to see written in this format. What are they?

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