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The importance of social media as "monkey chatter"

If you're one of those people who is puzzled by the silly stuff people post on Facebook, like a photo of their lunch, or other dull and mundane things, I think I can help explain. I call it "monkey chatter".

Now waitaminute, don't jump to any conclusions, hear me out. Because I'm a believer in the value of monkey chatter for us humans. I first noticed this phenomenon in a documentary about baboons, which really means I should call it "baboon chatter", but I prefer "monkey chatter". And it's all about the constant communication that baboons make while they're out in a field scavenging for food. While their heads are down doing their work, they keep up a constant flow of chatter to remain in touch with the group. I suppose if we could translate what they were saying, it would be "hey, hey, hey" without a lot of deep intellectual meaning, but it allows them to say "I'm here, I'm here" and they can listen to other members of the group and be reassured.

I personally discovered the value of "monkey chatter" on social media many years ago after I had a life-threatening accident (please don't ask). And I hadn't realized it, but since I was posting pics of my dog, or whatever, I was saying to people who cared about me "I am here". And little by little I discovered the comfort of seeing friends who would post things and assure me that they were there. As I age, and the people around me age, I'm especially interested in just seeing monkey chatter. I don't want to even think about picking up the phone to see if they're dead.

So the monkey chatter itself is meaningless, but why we do it very meaningful. If you're trying to understand some deep intellectual substance behind "hey, hey, hey" you'll find nothing. Once you see it as monkey chatter, and you can hear the "I'm here, I'm here", you'll understand.

So go ahead and post something trivial on Facebook today. Your friends will like it.