I hate Facebook. There. I said it. And it feels damned good. I know it won't make me popular. In fact, I'll probably be cyberflogged over it. I'm sorry, but I just don't get it. Any of it. Oh sure, it's fun once in a blue moon when one of my childhood pals miraculously unearths a 40-year-old photo and "tags" me, but then that fascination quickly turns to horror as I realize my embarrassing pre-pubescent shot is now online for all to see. Couldn't it just simply be scanned and emailed to me the way technogeeks did things back in the olden days, ya know, the late 90s?
Oh, Facebook. You cyberland of rampant narcissism and wasted time. What started out as a social networking site for college kids has somehow turned into a cesspool of self-absorbed way-too-old-to-be-fucking-around-on-Facebook adults who think that the rest of us actually give a shit about what they're drinking, eating, thinking, reading, watching, and/or are listening to every five minutes. They post their top 5 records, movies and TV shows. They post "25 Random Things About Me" lists. And they tell us constantly what they're "fans of." One person is a fan of "grilled cheese." I kid you not. What have we come to when grilled cheese has its own Facebook page? Someone clearly has way too much time on their hands.
I think I've figured out Facebook's major appeal. It offers uber-narcissists an opportunity to have their proverbial 15 minutes every five fucking minutes!. The site is overcrowded with attention-starved grown-ups essentially screaming "look at me... look at me!" all day long. They change their profile photos as often as I change my underwear, and they've somehow convinced themselves that their lives are infinitely interesting all the time. The "audience factor" is just way too attractive to these folks. It's drunken karaoke without the booze and the bad singing, but with all the requisite self-indulgence.
Case in point the "What's on your mind" section, formerly the "status" box. It's full of pretentious, inane ramblings like "Bob is making some soup," "Annie is dry-heaving right now," "Louie is sitting in traffic, pondering the meaning of life," "Joe is hungry," "Debbie is tired," "Maggie is perplexed," "Phil's ass hurts from yoga," "Archie's dreaming of Tulsa," "Seth is a fan of Fellini," "Leslie is drinking her morning OJ," "Dan is contemplating a nap," "Ellen is feeling empowered," "Jack is boarding a flight home from LA," "Susie is feeding her brain!" Oh...my...god. Somebody please get me an ice-pick to jab into my skull.
Let's face it, there's probably two or three of our really best pals who actually do care what the hell we do all the time. That's why they're our BFF's. And they're the ones who will normally respond to the riveting "Ed is drinking some coffee" post with something equally fascinating like "Decaf or regular?" But the rest of your 5000 Facebook friends really don't care about these non-stop musings, as evidenced by the fact that virtually 99% of them have zero replies. I mean honestly, what can you really say back to "Rufus is rubbing a London Broil?"
Now in the spirit of full disclosure, I am a citizen of the Facebook nation. I was lured there by a dear friend with promises of mega-business-networking benefits, and I must also confess to periodically using the site for shameless self-promotion to my vast empire of 165 friends. But if I am indeed a Facebookian, it is citizenship in the vein of Che Guevara, Abbie Hoffman and Thomas Paine. I'm a radical. A dissident. A conscientious objector in the Armed Forces of Facebook. I might even call myself a revolutionary, for I'd love to stage a coup and turn Facebook the vainglorious social-networking site into Facebook the bastion of selflessness and redeeming social value. Just think of how incredibly impactful Facebook could be if its typically self-involved members would harness all of this cyberpassion and energy and channel it instead into educating our children, healing the sick, helping the poor and saving the environment.
I realize that I'll likely lose a few 'friends' over this blasphemous diatribe, most likely those in my Facebook tribe. Some might even de-friend me, a sure sign that I've been branded a social-networking-outcast. But my real friends, the ones I've known for a zillion years, the ones I see all the time, the ones who I actually hang out with outside of cyberspace and have real live actual relationships with, the ones who'll come over at 2am at the drop of hat if I needed help, they'll totally get it. Know why? With the exception of one or two folks whom I absolutely adore and apologize to in advance if I've offended, none of them are on Facebook.
Follow Andy Ostroy on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AndyOstroy