Maybe I'm a "cranky 51-year-old" too, like Jonathan Franzen.
But I found quite hard to read until the end the essay published some days ago by The New York Times "Liking is for cowards. Go for what hurts."
I found it hard because you can feel from the beginning the sense of confusion, too often thriving in tech&social media discussions.
Simply put, we could stick to some basic principles:
1. always respect a person, don't use her/him
2. use things, don't love them.
I ise the same objects Franzen talks about, but he speaks like a martian to me. Erotic sensations from a Blackberry? I would immediately call a doctor. A good one. Imagining to "love" someone when I hit "like" button? How can he think of it?
Technologies change our daily activities, but can't change the way we are made; they hit the surface, leaving our inner circle untouched.
If you find difficult to manage different levels of interaction and friendship in the real life, Facebook won't help.
If you worship idols, it doesn't matter if a golden ox or an iPhone, you'll never find the truth.
I've read until the end, also the long digression about wild birds, thinking that I was just reading a brilliant exercise of public speaking of a cranky 51-year old. But the last sentence shows that Franzen believes in the 1st principle, too.
So, we're two already. I'll be happy to hear arguments from confuters