Friday, November 13, 2009

Facebook Confessions


In which I apologize to all those nice people I may have inadvertently pissed off.

There are a lot of things that warp the orbits of our lives that we never got to voted on.

For example, I don’t remember ever holding a national election on the question of whether or not we should massively de-industrialize the United States, shutter our factories, ship millions of middle-class jobs overseas, eviscerate whole regions of the country, turn the American economy into a feudal state and the American workforce into WalMart greeters...all to radically enrich a fraction of one percent of the population.

But that’s what we did.

We also never held a referendum on whether or not an adult American citizen has to have a credit card; we just made it inconvenient-to-the-point-of-impossible for adult American citizens to function without them. I know. I tried. If you ever wanted to be treated like a Unibomber suspect, try telling the company you work for that you can’t just charge your trip to Albuquerque and they can reimburse you later because you don’t have a credit card.

We never voted to make cellphones mandatory. Like credit cards, they are a theoretically fine idea that has become a pestilence in practice, turning us into a nation of Pavlovian droolers for whom the siren's song of the ringtone trumps everything else.

Virtually every oblivious asswipe who nearly (or actually) rammed me on Lake Shore Drive, or tried to kill me in a crosswalk, was yap-yap-yapping away. Every trivial morning-meeting-muffin-misdelivery gets escalated into a frenzied round of phone-and-Blackberry tag. Every tinpot dictator boss with a sense of absolute entitlement to your time whenever and wherever the mood strikes them has turned a benevolent technology into a leash that stretches all the way around the world, and a siphon to steal away the precious days of your life.

And if you want to be looked at like a sex offender making your court-mandated neighborhood notification of your arrival in Mayberry, try telling that boss, "No, I do not have a cell phone and have no plans to get one just so you can interrupt my personal life when you can’t find the 'Any' key on your girlfriend’s computer."

Which brings me to Facebook.

Some months ago a certain bastid fellow blogger (who virtually never posts anymore, which I realize now sadly covers about 4/5 of all the bloggers I have ever met) sent me an innocent-seeming email.

See, there were these pictures…

But they were on his Facebook page…

So, being a credulous idjit, I clicked on the link provided, which jumped me to a friendly screen, which informed me that I had to sign up with Facebook in order to see the pictures which, at this point, I’m thinking better be really spectacular.

And so, discovering that someone out there had already taken the appellation “driftglass”, I chose another variation of my nom-du-blog and waded in up to my ankles, intending only to flip through a few photographs this pal of mine wanted to share with me.


11 minutes later…and I have 53 “friend” requests.

WTF?

Suddenly I have a home page. or at least I think I do. I have a “wall”. Or maybe I am part of a wall. Or I'm another brick in the wall.

I discover that the someone who took the appellation “driftglass” has been uploading my posts to Facebook wholesale. Trying to be helpful? I haven’t a clue.

I start getting little bursts of traffic from various islands far out in the Great Facebook Ocean.

Inquiries.

Invitations.

As a happily private person who can barely keep up with his email, this is one of my favorite, little nightmares come true: finding myself down a Kafka-scented rabbit hole where “friend” is a verb and I am suddenly a member of a club aggressively geared towards share-share-sharing pictures and poems and personal details; a club I never had any intention of joining, with mores, widgets, protocols, norms, duties, obligations I never asked for, have any desire to learn, or was even dimly aware existed.

I realize that millions of people feast on Facebook (and then clean the table with a crumb sweeper called Twitter) and jolly good for them, and if my inattention to the medium into which I was softly press-ganged has caused anyone insult, I apologize. Believe me, I always try to make sure that my insults are clear, direct and full-frontal.

So if anyone is interested what I have to say on any given day, come to the blog: it’s one mouse-click away. If you want to sound off, that’s why I leave comments open, and why I sometimes reply, although y’all do just fine without me. If you want to drop me a note, I have email, and am also on Twitter (although I haven’t used it weeks, can’t belch in fewer than 140 characters, and in my most narcissistic fever dreams could not imagine that anyone would give a titmouse’s taint what I’m planning to have for dinner, or how many step there are between me an the local “el” station.)

But no Facebook: for now, the conveniences I already use are surfeit enough for me.

22 comments:

Fran / Blue Gal said...

Just posted this to Facebook. Pfffft

zencomix said...

I remember the days when I used to go to the airport and buy plane tickets at the counter, in cash! I never had a credit card until post 9-11, when they stopped allowing that practice.

Hahaha... I resisted the siren song of Facebook for years, but also, too, got sucked in by the lure of family photos that were unavailable to non users.

I draw the line at all the Mafia Wars/Farmville nonsense, though.

Chris Martin said...

Tell us how you really feel...

D. said...

Ha. Facebook is a Disease.

(I finally got back into my old email account [you don't want to know; I spaced a password when upgrading]; apparently someone loaded a photograph [in which I appear in the upper right hand corner] onto Facebook and several friends have notified me. Except that I do not have a Facebook account and I WILL NOT SIGN UP for a Facebook account so there. And I wish folks had pinged me with their own email addys, because see above. Etc.)

(Sorry for the rant in your space.)

Comrade PhysioProf said...

Yeah, fuck facebook. I barely have the time to be a decent friend to my existing real-life friends. I don't need yet another way to fritter away my life dicking around on the Internet.

I went through the same shit you did, because I was forced to sign up in order to keep abreast of the plans for my high-school reunion. Eleventeen fucktillion "friend" requests from a bunch of blithering douchebags half of whom I never even heard of in my life.

By clicking around in the privacy settings, I finally stumbled on a way to make my whole Facebook existence invisible except to my existing "friends". (And see if you can guess how many motherfucking "friends" I have!)

This way, if I for some twisted reason get the urge to check out my buddy's recent pictures of his stupid fucking offspring's second birthday party, I can still do so.

Unfortunately, I forget exactly how I achieved this setting, so you're on your own.

anniebannanie said...

Another facebook non-fan. I got sucked in the same way by a relative. To see the kid's latest pictures! No, I do not want to "farm". I grew up on a farm and it was no fucking fun. No, I do not want to be friended by people who also work at (insert State agency here). I have to deal with those idiots five days a week, 8 hours a day. I do not need to have them as a "friend"! I do not want to see if I can beat someone at "bejeweled". ARGH! And I'm actually a very social person!

watchdog said...

Wow, this is my world now too. First my brother invited me to come onto facebook, and then a very lovely lady I have been friends with for many years urged me to come on and so I relented. I did not get a trillion friends requests, but I do get a couple of people I dont know however.

pwapvt said...

I do have a facebook account and it sucks up too much of my time. I use it stay connected. I don't farm or any of that other bs there. Comrade P & I have the same idea about it.

Capt. Bat Guano said...

I call Facebook The Reunion That Never Fucking Ends. And just wait until one of your "friends accounts gets corrupted by a virus and sends you invites to watch strangers suck and fuck. And maybe give you a little virus of your very own.

mahakal said...

Yeah, Facebook is a whole 'nother world.

But it's my primary community at the moment. Here's the thing, I like arguing/persuading with people who I don't agree with, and building new consensus.

That's what the blogs were like in 2006, it was chaotic as hell. Then things settled down, and a few brilliant lights like driftglass carry forward the banner.

But it doesn't help to have separate conversations without some kind of bridge occurring, so I'm back to blogging at skippy's I guess. :)

Cirze said...

So, you mean there is an upside about no longer being employable?

meh

Every tinpot dictator boss with a sense of absolute entitlement to your time whenever and wherever the mood strikes them has turned a benevolent technology into a leash that stretches all the way around the world, and a siphon to steal away the precious days of your life.

And Facebook? Surely you're kidding us - an intelligent guy like you? Unbelievable.

where “friend” is a verb and I am suddenly a member of a club aggressively geared towards share-share-sharing pictures and poems and personal details; a club I never had any intention of joining, with mores, widgets, protocols, norms, duties, obligations I never asked for, have any desire to learn, or was even dimly aware existed.

I was amazed that you had a Twitter account until I got my own and saw how easy it was to trip up and fall down the rabbit hole.

S

darkblack said...

I'm fortunate, I suppose - Like frosty Hell anybody went to school with some creature named 'darkblack', so friend requests using that premise are canonically irrelevant.
Those who know me for my sunny irreverence under that nom du blog are another matter, of course.

For me, these things are promotional tools as opposed to social ventures. I blog, then I post links to the blog.
I'm really not certain if they enhance the traffic effect, but the phrase 'catapulting the propaganda' might apply.
Those who eschew their use certainly do so at their pleasure. If you got on well enough before, adding another layer to the cake might be a mug's game if it doesn't put a dollar in the pocket or advance one's agenda further.

;>)

mark hoback said...

Golly, without Facebook, it's so much harder to play six degrees of separation.

preznit said...

Some months ago a certain bastid fellow blogger

what's ironical is that LM hardly ever updates his FB page also too

Hubris Sonic said...

bwahahahahahaha

I want to poke Glenn Beck...

:)

Hef said...

I'ma a Luddite I suppose, but the moment I realized we were too connected all the fucking time is when my wife and I were hiking on the Long Trail in Vermont on a beautiful Fall day. Her cell phone rang. It was the Hair Salon confirming an appointment. Fucked up the moment. Arrgh.

driftglass said...

Fran Langum / Blue Gal,
Your evil makes baby jebus sad.

Chris Martin,
No.

D.,
Rant away.

Comrade PhysioProf,
I forgot which common household items I accidentally discovered turns dog shit into gold, so we're even :-)

mahakal,
Thanks. Eventually everybody comes to Ricks.

watcyc,
Never said I was referring to LM, although his contributions are sorely missed, and I very much regret never having met him face
to face.

Hubris Sonic,
So say we all.

Hef,
In many places, maintaining a robust private life is now seen as A) rude, or, B) an impediment to bottom-line profits that needs to be swept aside.

LowerManhattanite said...

God as my witness—I don't have a personal Facebook page. I'm on the GNB one, but I don't have an FB account under my nom de plume, and probably never will. The one under my REAL name gives me enough agita—ugh!

Ex-es outta the woodwork, unrequited relationships now becoming “known” to all, people taking deep offense because I simply don't have the time to be as tethered as it seems everyone else on God's green fucking earth is?...

I love FaceBook for putting me back in touch with maybe a hundred or so folks I'd fallen away from and always wanted to get back in touch with—and the two HS reunions I've gone to since here in NYC (I had a blast in HS here during the disco era), but fuck me sideways if I don't hate hate HATE the drama it brings.

LowerManhattanite said...

“Never said I was referring to LM, although his contributions are sorely missed, and I very much regret never having met him face
to face.”


You will, sir. I promise you WILL!

Mr. Natural said...

Still no cell phone here. I remember years ago, as a late night bartender thinking "THIS IS JUST WHAT THE FUCKING WORLD NEEDS - TELEPHONES IN WOMEN'S PURSES".
I had NO IDEA.
FACEBOOK?
PAXIT!

Driftglass is one of my favorite grumblers.

Imaginista said...

OK, I'll admit it if nobody else will. As soon as I read Drifty had signed up with MyFace "to see pictures" I was headin' over there to grab him as a friend. Good thing I read the post to the end, but alas.

Joe the Philosopher said...

I agree with driftglass about Facebook and Twitter. They're fads that mainly the gullible sign up for... thinking that having a website/page is going to make their lives more interesting. They post five times, then quit, because they're boring people who have nothing to say. They're uneducated, don't think very deep about anything, and use their webpage to pass along trivia and personal gossip.

Good bloggers pass along trivia too, but it's good trivia. Who cares where some's guy's Uncle slept in the park?

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