Isn’t it amazing how we throw the word “friend” around now that we have this bizarre creature named Facebook? Ten years ago if I had said we were “friends” some of you would have been appalled that I dare call myself your friend. But in this technologically advanced, socially declining age, we are all friends.
I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook; not like the one that I have with the musical Cats. With Cats, I get really excited every time I hear that it’s being performed in St. Louis and I get my double disc album out and prance around my living room while pretending to be the Rum Tum Tuggress (female Tugger of course) and singing and dancing. And then I go to the show and “Memory” starts and I’m like, “Dang it. I HATE this show!” Every time. It’s as if when it comes to Cats I have a short-term memory. I call this my Cats Conundrum.
But my love/hate for Facebook goes deeper. I love that I am in contact with my childhood friends from Pennsylvania, or that I can look at pictures of my Centralia High School classmates’ kids. Or that I can read about the funny things that happen to you during the day. My favorites are the snarky status updates from my most clever friends. These things I enjoy.
Facebook allows us to be social without being social. I can sit here and have a conversation with you while I’m in my underwear. I don’t (usually). But I could. And you would never know. It allows us to be “friends” with people that we may have been in a geometry class with but never actually spoke to. It allows us to catch up with people without actually having to interact with them. It’s like being a legal non-invasive stalker.
I can see pictures of your vacation without you having to tell me about the neat way that the Disney staff left the towels on your bed, or to have to hear about how low you could go with your limbo. Because as fascinating as these experiences were to you, I’d just rather see the pictures without hearing you tell about how neat it was that the chocolate waffles on the buffet were shaped like spades, diamonds, hearts and clubs.
Facebook allows me to be a voyeur in the privacy of my own home and without feeling dirty about it.
But it’s also a double-edged sword, because for everything I love to hear about on Facebook, there are ten things I don’t want to hear about, or think are ridiculous or find as boring as dryer lint. Here is my not-all-inclusive list of things I dislike or am bored with on Facebook:
- People who say things that aren’t appropriate. I think the first rule of Facebook is that you should pretend that we (your “friends”) are all at a dinner party together. If you haven’t seen them in seventeen years I’m pretty sure they don’t want to hear about where you pooped.
- I feel pressured to say “Happy Birthday” to everyone that was ever born. I feel like if I don’t say it, then you will think I don’t care. Yay! You managed to NOT DIE for another year! Way to go! Have some cake!
- When someone uses their wall to get sympathy.
- When someone has a loved one pass away and they say “Heaven got another angel today” Really? You really think it works that way? You really believe that God needed your Great Aunt Mamie, who let’s face it, wasn’t all that pleasant to be around while she was down here? You think that’s who He chose to be an angel?
- When people have an anniversary they say “11 years ago today I married my best friend, Lover( please don’t take me into your bedroom) and the man/woman I want to spend the rest of my life with” When what they should really say is “11 years ago today I settled for my husband/wife and while some of the time he/she is a pain in the butt, overall, I do not regret my actions and I feel that we will make great companions when the sex is gone.”
- When people say about their kids’ birthday: “6 years ago today, I met the most amazing little person who changed my life! Happy birthday Jr!” when they should really say “6 years ago today I was in a hospital spread eagle trying to eject a living breathing, peeing, pooping basketball out of my body. It took 15 straight hours and my husband was in the waiting room watching the World Series and for that I will always be passive aggressively angry with him. Happy Birthday Jr!”
- When people complain about it being Monday or not Friday or wish me a “Happy Hump Day” Saying “Happy Hump Day” is the verbal equivalent of giving someone a black “Over the Hill” cane with a side mirror on it; it was never funny.
- When people complain about the obvious: heat, snow, rain. This is as deep as your river runs?
- When people put entire conversations that they had with their kids that they think are unique. Some are really funny and I appreciate them. But guess what? Every little kid calls animals “aminals” and spaghetti “pasghetti” Originality is what is funny.
- When people rant about politics on there but then if you disagree with them they either defriend you or get nasty with you. I’m sorry…when did we lose that whole free speech thing?
- When people who are my age and I haven’t seen since high school still act like they did when I knew them. And still make references to the music of that day-and not because they’re remembering but because they’re stuck in that time. Also, we are in our late thirties, it’s no longer cool to be proud of how drunk you were last night.
- People who try to guilt me into re-posting something to show support for something. Seriously, if you want to show support, throw some money towards the cause instead of posting something that only your FRIENDS can see.
- People who use Facebook to attack former boyfriends/girlfriends. We are not in junior high anymore. Please take up your issues with your ex, not with the Facebook community.
Facebook has changed our culture irreversibly. It allows us to re-connect and keep in touch with friends that we might not have been able to find. For me, it is fodder for some of my funnier thoughts. But I think in reality, Facebook needs a catchy phrase, maybe some truth in advertising. So I suggest this:
“Facebook: By the time you realize you know an idiot, it’s too late. You’re in too deep to get out without hurting someone’s feelings.”
Of course, if you’re reading this and you’re a friend of mine on Facebook, I’m obviously not talking about you…