Website Review: Reconsidering Facebook

After a torrid month-long romance, I am breaking up with Facebook. Several good reasons for doing this have surfaced just this week.

First, as is usually the case when an affair comes to an unpleasant end, there’s the gorilla. “He’s hairy, his table manners are atrocious, and he wants to be your friend on Facebook,” read the newspaper article earlier this week. “No, it’s not your ex-boyfriend. It’s Muhozi, a Ugandan mountain gorilla.”

The Ugandan Wildlife Authority is making around 300 specimens of man’s closest relative available for Internet exploitation. They live in a place called the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, but it won’t be impenetrable enough to keep gawking virtual eyes from checking on their status (“still a gorilla, but hoping to evolve soon”), suggesting quizzes they might want to take (“what kind of flower would you be?”) and hearing that their adventures in a steaming jungle are more exciting than anything you’ve done for the last month.

Next came the inquiry from the long-lost college friend who had tracked me down from 35 years in the past. “I’m not sure about this; were you the editor of the Florida State Flambeau newspaper back in the ’70s?”

I wasn’t sure either (things got a little hazy there about mid-decade), but I believe it was me. “Farrah” was the sweet young girl who helped us assemble meeting notices and do other clerical duties, and later became a news reporter for our student paper. Now she was reporting that she was doing “OK,” except for the fact she had broken her back on the second day of her vacation on the Big Island while jumping off a 40-foot cliff into the water. “Ack!” she notes. “I spent the whole vacation except two days in the hospital.”

I’ve been asked to respond how I’m doing in the intervening years since college and what I’m up to lately. I’m still trying to compose a reply in my head that will be a worthy match for the highs and lows of a vacation in the South Pacific during which you fracture your spine. What I’ve got so far:

“Hi, Farrah. Sorry to hear about your accident falling off a Hawaiian cliff, but I’m betting at least the view was nice on the way down. I too have had an up-and-down summer. One of the headlamps in my car burned out. I tried to mow the yard last week but it started to rain so I had to quit. I’ve got this little spot on my right ear that stung like crazy for a day or so yet it now seems to have subsided. On a more positive note, I got a $20 gift card from Ruby Tuesdays when they messed up my takeout order by putting mustard on my burger sliders when I specifically told them not to. The manager was real nice about it when I got there; he even offered me a complementary dessert but I declined.

“As for the years since college, it’s been an exciting time for me and my family. You probably heard back in the ’90s about me being elected forty-third president of the United States. Everybody made a big deal about it, but I still felt like the same guy on the inside as when I acquired my super powers (the strength of thirteen men, the speed of a gazelle, and the flying abilities of a goshawk). Since leaving office, I’ve had to take it a bit easy, what with all the heart/lung transplants (lost count by now) and a nasty case of hair cancer, thankfully in remission. Starting to finally get my strength back, which I’ll need when I begin my astronaut training later in the fall. It’s not public yet, so keep it under your hat if you will, but we’re going to Venus. A whole bunch of us astronauts are going.”

My last bit of discouragement with Facebook came with my pitiful attempt to drum up some discussion on a topic I generated. I was growing tired of tagging onto other people’s comments (even though I invented “that’s funny and so true”) or simply reporting that I was among six people who “like this.” I posted a recently discovered baby picture of myself and asked others to do the same, thinking it would generate a lot of interest and fun. I got two comments — “you haven’t changed a bit” and “looks like the first time you saw an IBM Thinkpad” — and no other baby pictures.

The realization had finally dawned on me that social networking was every bit as awkward for me as real-life networking. Rejection might be marginally easier to accept while sitting in front of a laptop at your kitchen table at 3 o’clock in the morning. However, despite the fact there’s no one here in the room pointing and whispering and laughing at me, I feel that they’re out there somewhere, commenting cruelly on my pitiful social skills from six continents. I thought I’d make a much better virtual friend than I ever was a corporeal one: fast and accurate typing skills, the ability to turn a clever phrase and a proofreader’s ability to spell words correctly should certainly be equivalent to in-the-flesh empathy. Or so I thought.

So I’m saying at least a hiatus-length goodbye to Facebook. But before I do, I thought I’d take a nostalgic look back at some of the highlights posted on my wall over the past month:

Valeri opened a fortune cookie and her fortune was: “Your ability to juggle many tasks will take you far.”

Uh oh . . . last stash of Lancaster Co. Bologna pulled out of the freezer!

Ellen got a message that on this day, God wants her to know… that it’s time you stopped hiding from life, and said yes to the adventure of being alive

nyt everyone….sweet dreams (Audrey is sleeping)

Hopefully Dex’s girlfriend will be just as much fun as Dex. Now get back to work! ha ha!

We are all pirates on islands…that is the fun of it…I will be sure to replace with fund making items

You already Vamping up for Halloween? I’m swept away…

You have the spirit of an Oak Tree! You are the healthy, strong type, providing protection to others in your circle. You don’t like the limelight, but you are no shrinking violet! You are capable of using true power for everyone’s best interests. You are deeply a spiritual person who prefers to stay put, grow roots and become a pillar of the community you live in. You’ve researched the best landscape company and feel akin to its long-standing reputation for giving only the best to its customers. You call on Hill Landscaping because you trust them.

I am Lyrical Power.

As to murder weapon, I have lots right by computer, including a bayonet w/ 16-inch blade, Gurkha knife, petite (one hand) medieval battleaxe, Arkansas toothpick with 12-inch blade and 2 inches wide at base, Jim Bowie knife, British commando knife, and a “crooked” Kriss knife with an 11-inch blade. A samurai sword is on my list…Kill Bill!

I’m at 35,000 feet over Virginia, headed to Atlanta and then Knoxville.

what are you teaching? i’m teaching Uchtdorf’s Priesthood message – go figure

Ed got promoted to Level 60 in Mafia Wars and is celebrating by offering a special bonus to his friends for a limited time!

Bowling with Team Tokyo Gore Police tonight, definitely my personal highlight at Fantastic Fest. Dog Girl has amazing anti-technique. Though No-Bo-Roo needs to keep his ball(s) out of the gutter. No strikes for me, but I didn’t suck either… And as a sure sign of a good time, no one remembers which side won. Team Shiner Bock, I suspect!

THANK GOD!!!! I am happy to report that I am “playing!”

I just hope the hordes don’t come heading this way!


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3 Responses to “Website Review: Reconsidering Facebook”

  1. planetross Says:

    Wow! 2 comments that I recognize! It’s like a flashback of facebook … or maybe a faceback!

    Facebook is puke, but if that is the only way to keep in touch with people … then it still is puke, but … I forgot what I was going to say … maybe “puke” one more time … or possibly “vomit”.

    We were such close friends!!! I feel I’ve lost an avatar or a bit of my wall … like those Berlin people lost. hee hee!

  2. wrjones Says:

    An acquaintance talked me into signing up for Twitter. So I did. Then I got an invitation to become a follower of “Jody”. Jody was following 522 and had 0 followers. This looked a bit strange. Had to know. Logged onto twitter and went to see who would be interested in an old man. She was hot. Setting there with chest out legs akimbo asking what took me so long to find her. So I’m thinking do I go with this? Is there a slim chance she wants me? Maybe. At this point I would be her only follower. Is “she” a big ugly fellow in a Nigerian scam cafe?

    A week later I get an invitation from “Sherry”. She is following 360 and has no followers. Apparently she is not as ambitious as Jody.

    I decided to drop my twitter membership. I was just getting too popular to handle the pressure.

  3. Phillip Donnelly Says:

    Yes, Facebook is, well; I suppose ‘puke’ says it all, but still I will be sad to lose you: my only 100% virtual friend; and far wittier than any of the real ones, but so few Facebook friends are ‘real’ friends, if the word friend has any meaning, but lacking social skills, I really wouldn’t know.

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