I am more desirable than 98% of people, including you. And yet that hasn't prevented me from repeatedly being hit with sheep.
For the past 6 months or so, my job has required that I stay up to date on the internet, and, more specifically, the latest things the kids are using it for. Unfortunately this doesn't require membership to porn sites, so no expensing those! (Sorry, honey!)
Instead, it requires membership to social networking sites, of which there are many, from the obvious ones you've probably joined to sites called Bebo and Friendster and Xanga that mostly appeal to Asians and people living in Asia and my friend who has a thing for Asians and also probably Woody Allen. Out of necessity, I've joined quite a few of these sites (and abandoned most) to see what all the fuss is about and, hopefully, to help me do my job better. Or to find another, better job (yay LinkedIn!) I did not join MySpace, mostly because I took one look at the place and had a seizure. Same reason I skipped Speed Racer.
Despite being a diligent explorer of these new online spaces, I don't totally get Facebook. It's tempting to say, since I'm over 30, the concept has passed me by, but most of my friends don't seem to have the same issues. Indeed, as soon as I signed up I was put back in touch with countless people from my past, from college friends to high school acquaintances to people I barely remember from Turkey Hill Elementary School (Holla!) But there's a reason I had to be "put back" in touch with them. Like I tell everyone who asks if I'll be attending my impending ten year college reunion: I am already in touch with most of the people with whom I wish to be in touch. See here: See here.
The good thing about Facebook, and the internet in general, is that online "in-touch" and real life "in-touch" are totally different things. I can control what info I put on Facebook and who sees it -- something that today's idiotic college and high school kids have trouble grasping, posting pictures of themselves half-naked, holding beers and crack pipes -- as well as who I interact with and how frequently. I'm not afraid to encounter and subsequently ignore some old "friends" from time to time, especially since they can't see my face as I laugh and laugh at their pathetic attempts to befriend me.
I can even accept their friendship and then not even bother to contact them. Thanks to people's obsessions with Facebook, I always know what most of them are up to without having to ask banal questions about their lives. On the reunion front, I guess I don't need to be worried about matching up to their accomplishments; apparently all they ever do is hang out on Facebook. They never seem to log off the thing, constantly updating their photos and their status and the things they are "fans" of and how many "friends" they have. Some people are constantly "throwing" things at me or poking me or forcing me to compare myself to characters from "Lost" and "The Office", via one of Facebook's many applications that allow users to interact with others by doing imaginary things that mean absolutely nothing. Like gifting me a virtual drink. Thanks, I guess. I don't waste me time with that nonsense.
I play Scrabulous.
I also occasionally browse the "would you date her" list and repeatedly click "No." Because I'm married.
I also play Scrabulous.
The lesson here is that just because the internet allows us to do things that we wouldn't normally do, like talk to Mike Glinter and that weird Francois kid from college, doesn't mean we should always do them. And though the online space seems like a magical realm that exists only in our imaginations, alongside shnozz-berries and heaven and lipstick lesbians, it's actually a very real place. And the things we do online can often infringe on our offline existence, dwindling though it may be. And for kids growing up in a world where Facebook and MySpace are just a part of the daily routine, it gets harder and harder for them to distinguish between what's real (Spencer's a douchebag) and fake (the rest of "The Hills"), or at the very least, what's public and private. Which can be great for the voyeur, but not so great for, say, Miley Cyrus.
What I've learned about social networking is that it's really not for kids. Virtual worlds are for kids. Except for the bizarre virtual world known as Zwinky. And that's only for kids if you use "kids" as a synonym for "perverts" and/or own a lot of Bratz dolls. Seriously, Zwinky.com. Explore at your own risk, but some things you see, you can't unsee. 123 if you're appalled (sorry, inside Zwinky joke.)
Really, since I joined these sites, I have learned less about new technology than I have about what my friends, and their friends, and the friends of friends ten times removed -- all of them well past being kids (and some of them settling nicely into being perverts) -- do all day: sit at their desks and update their Facebook status.
Right now, Mike Julianelle is playing Scrabulous.
Let's get real here. You don't want to know about me. You want to know about "me".
ABOUT MIKE JULIANELLE
more about mike julianelle
IF YOU LIKED THIS COLUMN...
5.16.08 @ 12:30a
Juli McCarthy has slapped you with a trout.
5.16.08 @ 6:54a
You aren't one of those viral marketers now, are you?
5.16.08 @ 8:25a
UR in 4 it now, d00d.
5.16.08 @ 9:30a
5.16.08 @ 10:01a
My plan is to eventually be Facebook friends with everyone I've ever met. I feel as though that's the true measure of, um, the number of people I've met.
Actually, I mostly use it to play Scrabble.
5.16.08 @ 3:13p
I'll admit to lurking the fuck out of MySpace. Facebook, though, is just boring to me. Now that MySpace blatantly ripped off FB's apps idea, it might just be time to ignore that account as well.
(WTF? How come I am not in IM's top 8 in MySpace? This is bullshit. I'm gonna go whine about it in my blog now.)
5.16.08 @ 8:07p
I have to start a Scrabulous game with you now.
5.17.08 @ 4:29a
I had to leave Facebook. I felt like the old man at the club. All my friends were, like, my 19-year-old cousins and stuff. And it was slow. MySpace has it's flaws but I'm still there for now.
5.17.08 @ 8:09p
I remember when my parents kept saying rock 'n roll wasn't music, and now I think, but never SAY, that about other, newer music. Do you suppose maybe Beethoven's parents kept saying, "Well, it's not Bach, now is it?" Maybe some of us are just too old for Facebook, although I'm on it because my grandgeek insisted. Maybe it's My Space. I can't remember: it's the one where you can get poked.
5.18.08 @ 3:02a
I have a FB page or whatever they call it. I personally find FB rather hard to navigate. I don't really go to that page much, jsut as I rarely go to Friendster, MySpace, or Twitter. I check in on them every now and then. And I agree with you about the whole reunion thing.
5.19.08 @ 5:44p
I like Facebook, but not for the same reasons that most of my friends on there do. I admit that I "wave" at people, and "tase" them with that X Me app thing... but I do it because I want to acknowledge certain people, but don't wanna write some stupid message on their wall asking them how they are, and don't wanna email them either. It's just a slight nod of the head to say "I see you, and I want you to know that I do." I've ignored many people who've wanted to be friends on Facebook. Some are strangers, some are blasts from the past. My take on keeping in touch is pretty much the same... The people I want to keep in touch with, I already do keep in touch with. The rest I add out of courtesy or because they're nice and I had no idea they wanted to extend our acquaintance to Facebook.
Facebook is losing its appeal for me, though. I think mostly because I get annoyed with how people end up sticking their noses in everything you do! You put a picture up, and everybody has to comment on it... sometimes they rate the quality of the picture! GET A LIFE.
Scrabulous is what makes me go back there as often as I do. Other than that, i think I would visit Facebook a lot less. MySpace just sucks.