Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Cult Of The Facebooked

I don't have a Facebook account. Usually this statement is followed by a look that says "he's a witch, burn him!" from the person unfortunate enough to be conversing with me at the time. Many a bar encounter has culminated in the phrase "Add me to your Facebook."How many marriages across the world now begin with such a request? And how many end?

Likely, this reluctance to participate in what seems like our generation's meeting place is something to do with the fact that I don't like where it's going. All of the functions and applications that are specifically designed to pry. I was on Facebook before, a long time ago when Dinosaurs roamed the earth (did they do anything other than "roam"?) and most people thought Wikileaks was some sort of epic plumbing disaster.

I would receive angry messages splashed across my wall. Some would question why I'm not responding. As if we're in the middle of a phone call and I put them on hold to go on vacation. Facebook etiquette dictates that you immediately inform everyone including friends, friends of friends, their friends' friends, that guy from the bar who added thinking your name is "Charles David Walsh" (my serial killer/don't-want-to-piss-you-off-so-i'll pretend-i'm interested-in-talking-to-you-name) and tech-savvy animals of your relationship status, your likes and dislikes, your recent outings (accompanied by pictures), your phobias, your food allergies, and now where you are at that exact moment. No longer is facebook creeping an appropriate term. Now it's approaching the legal definition of stalking:

"Facebook recently introduced “Places I checked in to,” a feature which allows friends to see your logging-in location. This application uses the IP address to identify the location from where the user logs onto Facebook and posts the location on the user’s wall. A more detailed description, including a map of the location, is then provided by clicking on the location link."

When you click on the map, a list of the user's nightmares appears as well as their fears, followed by a list of local stores that sell night-vision goggles and kitchen knives.

Ok, I made that last part up.

Despite not having an account on there, the Cult of the Facebooked has taken its toll on MY social network. One friend of mine insisted that I water his plants while he went on vacation. It seemed like an odd request, given that he had no plants and it's common knowledge among my circle of friends that my last plant-watering exercise led to the untimely demise of another friend's cherished cacti. But I agreed. It was then he gave me instructions as to how to log on. The guy wanted me to water his plants on Farmville.

This madness has to end.


Allison said...

I am a FB addict for sure. BUT I do draw the line at Farmville! I was at Shopper's the other day and they were selling Farmville Giftcards.

Fucking hell!

Facebook has done a lot of good for me too - I keep in touch with people better - not my close friends, but those I don't wish to fall out of touch with, but I'm not likely to spend money on a long distance call.

I used the check in feature once. I informed my friends and acquaintances that I was at Lagano's 2 for 1 Pizza!

TbR said...

I agree, wholeheartedly.

Halfheartedly maybe. I've been tempted to close my account but I'm still on it so that I can keep in touch with people in other countries, or people I have no other way of contacting.

But it is getting scary, even without the kitchen knives. These things normally fade away; although I'm not sure what's more frightening - Facebook holding so much information and being active in protecting it, or all that information just sitting there.

Heather Howell said...

Facebook and Google are going to overtake the world. Get ready, Rob!

Sarah said...

God Rob, even my mom has facebook. Just limit your friends to awesome people who like to send you invites to various and sundry holiday parties (me).

Denise said...

I recently dated a guy who didn't have a facebook. It was sort of weird to date someone I knew nothing about and had no way of finding out without directly asking. I liked it. I may delete mine so I can make men try harder from now on.