I don’t understand Facebook.

Seemingly everyone else does but I just don’t get the appeal of it.

Admittedly, Facebook is a lot like having a blog, which means that by writing this article and scoffing at Facebook, I’m engaged in a sad combination of denial and hypocrisy. I’m also not being entirely honest when I say I don’t get it, — I sorta get it, just not as much as I feel I should.

Its not the idea of sharing that baffles me. In fact, I quite like that particular aspect of it. I like seeing pictures of people I care about while they’re on vacation or at the 4th of July BBQ or standing by their new car. I like the graduation picture of the 6th grader who has finally advanced to junior high school. I get sharing moments of your life with people hundreds or thousands of miles away. I support it. Hell, I even embrace it! I’m happy we live in a world of technology that allows this to happen.

In fact, its the technology itself that I find a bit sacred. It reminds me of the time when I was first dating my wife.  She and her friend drug me into an antiques shop in Cocoa, Florida while they engaged in that social activity women call “shopping”.  I’ve never quite figured out which version of “shopping” involves actually buying things and which focuses on just walking around endlessly but I knew there was little I could do to sway any of it.  Consequently, I balanced my time between hoping I’d discover the Ark of the Covenant stacked in a back corner somewhere and checking out her ass when I didn’t think she knew I was looking.

During this mini-adventure, she found something she liked and wanted to point it out to her friend who was on the other side of the wall in the very next room. Since the entire place only had two rooms, finding the friend should have been easy enough.

I figured we would step through the connecting doorway and call the friend.

Instead, my wife grabbed her cell phone.

The friend arrived roughly 15-20 seconds later since, as I said, she was literally in the next room.

Both marveled at whatever the item in question.  I marveled at the fact that I’d just witnessed a woman send a few billion electronic bits hurling from her hand, through the roof, racing past birds and clouds and airplanes, and then up to a satellite about 65 miles over our heads. It then sent the same signal back down, through the clouds and birds and probably through a few layers of pollution until it lanced through the roof and bounced around the room literally fifteen feet away.

Captain Kirk used to do something similar but he always reserved such drastic action for moments when he had to be beamed off a planet of boiling lava.

My wife  did it because she didn’t want to walk to a doorway.

What really surprised me was that once I looked around, I realized that every woman in American uses their cell phone in the exact same manner.

So, with that experience, I get the underlying ease of Facebook. I just don’t get the subjects that people think need to scroll through my billboard, or scrolling window, or whatever the Hell that endless stream of blurbs is called.

I’m regularly flooded with posts that tell me things like how someone I only remotely know thought they would never get over vomiting two days ago because they drank too much. Often, someone else amplifies a post like this by describing the colors of the vomit to prove they were there.

Do I REALLY need to know any of that? Is this truly why Al Gore invented the Internet?

OK, again, to be fair, the above represents the more useless of the messages I see and occasionally some of them are kinda interesting. For a quick sampling, I looked at my account on 24 March 2011 and came across the following, all on the very first page.

It seems that Hello Kitty has a house now.

 

From what I recall, Hello Kitty is a Japanese cat and as such, is a bit out of its neighborhood with this house, located in Shanghai, China, but at least I find this to be a bit interesting.

I also find it interesting that the cat is allowed on the furniture.

As I read further down my Facebook page, I realized that Hello Kitty was probably pretty well motivated to leave Japan. Not only did the island nation just recently get the crap pounded out of it by a giant wave, which killed thousands and ruptured nuclear reactors but its also apparently facing yet another attack from its arch-nemesis, Godzilla. It looks like Godzilla is about to play Ultimate Fighting Champion with that giant robot dude once again and if history has proven anything to Japan its that it can survive things like atomic weapons being dropped on it and radiation spewed about but giant monsters that rise from the sea or emerge from hidden, underground factories completely level the place every single time.

I’ll be the first to admit that my description above is in some pretty poor taste given the suffering that is really happening in Japan as I write this (March 2011), — and to some degree, that’s the point.

Facebook is about nothing. Its about people you may or may not know spending valueable parts of your day telling you about the most trivial things imaginable.  This is why, as of today, I know that some guy named Gregory Speed likes Walmart. In fact, short blurbs about what a myriad of people like or dislike abound on Facebook. The site floods me with all sorts of hints of what people like, even though I’ve never heard of 90% of these folks. Nor do I have any idea why their likes would in any way impact my life.

I”ll credit this guy because he did solve this last problem for me.

In his message he states that I can either become his Facebook friend or he’ll light an electrical fire in my basemen. He says the LIKE button is right there and its up to me to decide which I choose.

He was right. The LIKE button was indeed right there. It also linked me to his picture so I know what he looks like.

 

Facebook adds that some guy named Derek Conley has hit the LIKE button, presumably because Derek didn’t want a fire set in his basement. I opted to ignore it. You see, I have the advantage over this guy because I live in Florida so he’ll be striking matches all damn day trying to figure a way to burn down anything that looks like a basement around my house. There’s a swamp and some gators nearby. Maybe he’ll have some luck burning those down instead.

Its entirely possible, because clicking on his link reveals that this dude probably has some amazingly good luck. According to Facebook, this is what his lady looks like.

 

Since I’m married, I of course don’t notice any other woman in anything but the most mundane and platonic ways but it seems to me that ten minutes with her would turn a gay man straight.

Initially I would have thought that a guy who runs around burning up basements would have a bit of a problem keeping a lady like this but I also didn’t understand the concept of using a satellite to talk to someone fifteen feet away, so what do I know?

Again, I’m not being totally honest here because I”m smart enough to know that sex sells which is why I used her picture as the featured image which is also probably why half of you bothered to read this article in the first place.

Occasionally, I do stumble across bits on Facebook that I find worth my time and today was one of those rare days that actually paid off. The bottom of the page tipped me to an old video that’s now on YouTube called “Leonard Nimoy’s Ballad of Bilbo Baggins”. Its identified as “The lowest moment of Leonard Nimoy’s life” but to me, it just showed the man was fun and would probably be one Hell of a guy to hang around with for a while.

 

Aside from archived videos, I know that Facebook can be pretty useful if you want to overthrow a totalitarian Islamic government but my goals don’t usually go beyond buying DVDs off of Amazon.  So I read the postings and think that some of the people flooding me with their tidbits should use that same energy to write a book or at least start your their own blogs so their rants and raves can be better targeted to an audience that truly wants to weed through their words.

After all, that”s what I did.

Tags: , , ,