I joined Facebook this week.
I also worked a freelance copywriting job during the day and performed at night. I produced a show in Boston. I promoted and prepared for a big show I am producing next week in New York. I avoided finishing a video project that is long overdue. I avoided finishing a freelance writing assignment that is also long overdue. I avoided folding the pile of laundry on my floor or washing the growing collection of dishes in my sink, both of which are long overdue. I complained that I did not have enough time to workout.
I complained that I did not have enough time to see any of my friends. I shut my windows, stomped my feet and threw a fit complaining that I never seem to have enough time to get anything done.
Oh and I joined Facebook this week.
Yeah I know that just weeks ago I was saying that I need to get off the internet. That sadly, scrolling and clicking were becoming more important that doing and living.
Then I got an invite to join Facebook.
My heart raced. My nerves shook. I began to feel the same anxiety I felt when MySpace killed Friendster; overwhelmed by the task of reinventing myself on yet another networking site. Burdened by the prospect of having to once again go shopping for my friends acceptance. Tiresome of re-listing my favorite music, TV shows and films. I mean how many times do I have to write "about me?" The truth "about me" is that lately I've spent more time working these profiles than on myself as a real person. I spend about 5 hours a week (give or take a few hours) on networking sites, that's 20 hours a month, 240 hours a year! I could have used that time to complete 3 grad school classes, take 160 yoga classes, or enjoy a 10-day vacation!
Despite my hesitation I completed a profile. I assured myself that my purpose in doing so is simply to promote my work, network with other artists and perhaps reconnect with some old pals. I will not obsess over the number of comments I have, I will not stalk people. When I go out with friends I will not force them to take new profile photos of me. Worse yet, when I go out with friends I will not constantly hold my arm out, pout my lips, and take new profile photos of myself.
As I looked around the site I felt like almost everyone else in the world had joined way before me. When did this happen? When the hell did this party start? I was over at MySpace waiting for you guys to come back and then I find out that apparently MySpace is like sooooooo August 2007. Really how long have you all been partying without me? And to think I call you all friends!
Most of the people to whom I sent friendship requests were also part of my MySpace network, which made me feel like an annoying, insecure teenager constantly asking her peers "do you like me? Do you really like me?"
As I scrolled through Facebook I was intrigued and annoyed by the infinite amount of features available. There are friendship quizzes you can create, songs you can dedicate to each other and superlatives you can award to friends. All of your interactions with others are then posted the homepage so that everyone else knows when you wrote a comment on someones wall or when you added a new friend just so everyone can see how popular or unpopular you are. Apparently Highschool wasn't enough to boost or crush our self-esteems; we need to do it all over again, as adults, online, in html.
You can even buy fake presents and pretend drinks you can send to your friends.
Yes, I said drinks. There is Facebook Happy Hour where people are buying one another a round of beers or a glass of wine. This is perhaps the cutest and stupidest thing I have ever seen in my life. While the martini glass icon is pretty damn adorable, simulated boozing seems rather strange. Call me old fashion but I'd prefer to meet my friends for real drinks, ones made of actual alcohol that I can hold, sip and that actually get me buzzed. Is there also fake vomit you can throw up all over the bouncer or pretend sex you have in the bar bathroom?
I haven't even begun to discover all the bells and whistles of Facebook and I am already terrified. I mean why even leave the house when the coolest party is on your computer? And what will the next networking site be like? And the one after that? And the one after that? How many networking sites do I have to join? Will all human interaction occur via networking sites? Will we sit at home in our pajamas attending online birthday parties, having web weddings, and conceiving fake cyber children? Yes, networking sites are extremely useful but not if that's your only network.
After four days of wasting my life away on Facebook, Friday showed up and slapped me in the face. Before I knew it the week was just about over and I had done nothing but eat, sleep, work and poke people (another feature of Facebook that both amuses and nauseates me). I had planned to stay in on Friday night and work on those projects I needed to get done, all of which required me to use my laptop. Familiar with my lack of self-control I knew that early in my Facebook membership I could not be near web access without logging in and losing even more time.
So I got in my car and drove to my friends house. My real-life, in the flesh, human friend. Another friend also came over and the three of us sat and talked in real-life voices not via messaging or comments. We drank wine. Real-life, wet, delicious wine and not cartoon glitter graphic wine. We talked about ourselves, instead of reading "about me". And I was reminded of a much better way to spend 5 hours a week, 20 hours a month, and 240 hours a year.
PS. Please add me on Facebook. Maybe I'll even "buy" you a "cocktail."