Okay, let's start by exposing the lie. Us Facebookers are on it a whole heckuva lot more than we'd admit. It's like reading comic books or a dirty cheap novel - you can't really admit liking it, that would be awful. It doesn't pay well. It serves little in the way of "higher good." It's a dalliance, it's a time-waster. We know this. We may not stare at Facebook 8 hours a day, but it's a great rabbit hole, and trying to pass it off as "well, I only check Facebook once a day" or some other bullcrap is just lying to yourself. And me. Stop. (See Own Your Sh*t.) We're on the Facebook, we are Facebookers dangit, and for people like us who have, you know, lives, we sure let it suck from us, don't we? Take heart, though: while some studies have correlated the amount of time spent on Facebook to productivity and grades, a study at Lock Haven University found no correlation between grades and Facebook if users were casual, not intensive users.
So here's to having a life AND a Facebook account. Simultaneously.
What's also comical is the failbook-ness of just about all of us. Few people get Facebook "right." I have friends who appear perfectly sane in the real world, but on Facebook they act like churlish, maniacal bottom-feeders who can barely string two sentences together. Or their sarcasm gets so deep or comments are so cryptic you can't even tell what they are saying. "Yeah, I always thought that about Lance Armstrong," they'll post with an article that covers the story. THOUGHT WHAT? Others, quite interesting people to talk to in the realz world, post on Facebook about their lives in a way that makes you think they must be on the verge of boredom-induced suicide:
"Ron and I ate spaghetti for dinner with the kids tonight. Chris had garlic bread but Ricky didn't. Then we went upstairs and watched MASH reruns until bedtime. It feels good to be home at work after a long day at the office." Oh my GOD, is that the Xanax talking?
If it's attention you want, however, Facebook can deliver in a way some people just can't access in the world of actual people, where you must "talk."
I went to high school with, oh say "George." George was the kind of awkward kid with coke-bottle glasses and bad breath that could barely speak, spittle flew out jumpin jiminy Ken was a mess. I mean George. Anyway, George couldn't engage people by saying "hello," or "hey, it's great to see you!" No, he didn't really have "normal" stuff in his vocab, though he was uber-geeky and you'd think he could have used his brain to conjure something pseudo-normal-sounding. He couldn't. But he was desperate for attention. So he'd walk up to you and say something I'm sure he thought was engaging, like "I'll bet you like the movie Rikki Tikki Tavi." And you're all "What George?" <Pause> "Okay. I'll bite. What are you talking about?"
And George had you. He'd then go off on some dopey tangent that no one cared about, including George, but he'd wend it into something that garnered your attention for 3 or 4 minutes. It was the best he could do, all the attention he got, and it was sad. If George is on Facebook today, I'm sure he's posting polls, pictures of his rice bowl for lunch, ANYTHING he can find.
(Confession. FB being what it is, I decided to look up George on FB just now. He's there in full force. His third post of today, I kid you not included this sentence: "...the druid summoned a Large Pteranodon, who picked up my Big Blond Viking With a Sword..." So you'll get a bit of a picture about who I'm talking about here, though from this description I might have gone to school with Will Wheaton. Being a nerd is cool today, but man we were picked on 20 years ago. So maybe that's not illustrative enough. In perving his FB profile, I even find myself agreeing with him. This is kinda freaking me out. Anyway, Hi George)
It's about attention. George, you see, almost "fits in" on Facebook, in a weird way. I have another old friend from elementary school who is on FB in this way, like a chronicle of his life, talking to an audience he could never reach from his Asperger's or whatever(that is not a joke, I really think he has a touch of something). But we know what he eats. We know those little pictures he posts everyday from his bike ride, or his lunch, and his snappy shoes. I guess it's cheaper than therapy.
In addition to the "please pay attention to me" attention-seekers, there are those who love Facebook as long as it serves their purposes, which are generally either to a) promote their company or b)multilevel, or c) garner support for their upcoming divorce proceeding("he took the children!" I do not lie, I have seen this post. Dirty laundry anyone?). Sometimes it's just to spread the drama in their lives, or even worse, to relive some horrifying event in front of everyone on a monthly, semi-annual, or annual basis: "44 years ago today my great-grandmother Meemaw died in a carrot-peeling accident, and I have missed her every day since. I am crying today remembering the lilacs you grew and how wonderful you were. Good-bye Meemaw." Hey, we know, you've gone through hell. We get it. We REALLY get it. Because now we're going through your hell with you. Neat. For your next tragedy-rerun friend, I encourage you to click "like." No? Chicken.
Shouldn't we be asking, at some level. what our desire to post these things on Facebook says about US and our desire/ability to engage others in the real world?
Oh- Don't be offended by this ramble. By "our" foibles, I totally mean "mine," of course. Because only I feel this way. I'm the only pathetic loser that feels this twinge sometimes. Everyone else is totally noble about it. It's just me.
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