So, I’m on Facebook now.
And after a few weeks I still don’t comprehend the appeal of any of these social network sites. Why would anyone want to “friend” someone they lost touch with 20 years ago? Seriously, if you lost touch with someone long ago don’t you think there was a reason? Maybe you’ve forgotten how much you hated their egotistical, self-centered view of the world. Perhaps they did something horrible to a friend of yours and you stopped taking their calls. Hell, maybe they just have bad body odor. Whatever the reason was, you stopped keeping in touch and now, after all this time has passed and your lives have been going fine without each other, you’re suddenly interested in them again?
I call bull.
I think I’ve got a valid working hypothesis for why these sites are so popular, and it goes a little something like this… every person is the star of the movie in their own head and believes that all the people they once knew MUST be missing them something fierce. Face it, if you’re on Facebook you probably have 50+ “friends” half of which you don’t really know or care about knowing but still want to be “friends” with because… well, why exactly? Why do people feel the need to “know” all these people online that they would only speak to once in their lives in real life? There are people I know who think it’s awesome that they’ve been able to get back in touch with their first love, who’s now twice divorced and living in a trailer park, even though they haven’t thought about them in 25 years. I also have some friends who are actively searching for people just to compare their lives and make themselves feel better about the choices they’ve made since losing touch with that old flame or professor who told them they’d never amount to anything.
What’s the point in that?
Honestly, I can’t understand the draw of reestablishing contact with the very same people you actively, or passively, lost touch with in the past. Are there a few people I’d like to “catch up with” from my past? Of course. But I’m man enough to admit that the ONLY reason I’d want to know what they were doing would be to compare my life to theirs and make sure that I was in a better place than they so I could go to sleep at night with a smile on my face knowing that I made the right choice in leaving them behind. And if they were doing better than I? I’d cut them off and lose touch again in a heartbeat. I mean, who needs a constant reminder that you made a mistake? Shallow? Yep. Sad? Uh-huh.
The deep down honest truth? You betcha.
I’ve been told that even though I don’t “get” it now, I would if I were willing to use my real name on Facebook and started reaching out to my current friends. That way I could finally start using Facebook the way it was meant to be used, to keep in touch with the people I care about and to see what they’re doing every minute of every day via their status updates/news feed/wall. Of course, once you have more than 20 or so friends you begin to get news overload and have to start filtering out some people which kind of defeats the whole purpose. Then there’s all the little “pokes”, “tags”, “polls” and other junk people send you. It just seems to me that after a very short while it would all become more and more like noise rather than anything useful. Maybe I’m just jaded, or perhaps I’m too much of a paranoid individual, but I really don’t understand the appeal of divulging my REAL personal information in the hopes of being virtually popular with people I already know in real life, and/or with people I’ve purposefully forgotten in real life.
But hey, maybe it’s just me.
Maybe I’m just too old, or boring, or stupid to understand the obvious appeal of these social networking websites. These close-walled gardens of friendly stalkers and ego-mirrors. They’ve certainly been around long enough to have died if they were going to die, but here they are still going strong. I blame it on all the lonely people with nothing better to do than constantly check their “walls” and update the world about how their last Starbucks coffee wasn’t nearly as good as the one from yesterday even though the girl behind the counter is still the cutest coffee barrister in a 50-mile radius. Of course, all this might come off a little silly seeing as how I’m a Blogger and all. But the truth is that a blogger can be anonymous to strangers but known to friends which allows a certain kind of freedom to express yourself. The social networking sites however, don’t really work unless you are using your real name which is great if you’re only interested in finding “friends” or if you don’t care about your privacy, but really sucks for those of us who don’t want all the people we no longer care to know to find us. Honestly, do you want your 8th grade Spanish teacher to contact you again and remind you how much you sucked at Spanish? Which reminds me, my Jr. high school Spanish teacher flunked me 5 semesters in a row.
Mr. Brown, you suck!