Cousin Tom, writing and reading

Yesterday my cousin Tom posted a text on Facebook, introducing an experiment.  The idea was, first, to check on who actually read his posts (and was willing to follow the instructions), and second, to kick-start a bit of writing (read: actual communication) between friends. The text asked everyone, first, to comment on the text with one word about the author, and then to copy the text and post it on his or her own Facebook spot. Tom promised, in turn, to make a one-word comment about that friend.  

Almost everyone among my friends was very lax about following the rules, especially the one-word part — that was good, a lot of fun, in fact.  I read things about my past that are so completely at odds with my memory that I’d have to say they weren’t true!  One person made an observation about her grandfather being someone’s sister.  Tricky.  But perhaps more to the point, the exercise gave a bit of insight into what happens when people feel obliged to write something, as opposed to clicking preset options — including cameras. Maybe there’s some motivational force in the prospect of reading about yourself, too, even if it’s just one word.

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