Essay — 12 October 2011

Here is my view on FaceBook.  Last night I watched again the film “The Social Contract” about the founding of the company.  I was thrilled to have downloaded and read a copy of the Aaron Sorkin screenplay some time last year when it was leaked onto the Internet.  Reading that screenplay one realizes that a movie is really not that long. That you can only pack so much dialogue into two hours on the screen is apparent when you have read to the end.  This is why it might just be better to read certain plays or novels that go see the movie adaptation.  Anyway the movie was excellent.  The best part was the acting of Jesse Eisenberg who was deadpan accurate as he played the sociopath personality of Mark Zuckerberg.  Too bad Eisenberg has fallen into playing non-serious roles in offbeat semi-horror pics and juvenile comedies when he is Ed-Norton-fabulous and should be playing something more equal to his abilities.  

Anyway back to FaceBook to be blunt about it that web site reminded me how few friends I truly have having decamped from one continent (North America) to live in another (South America) and having traveled for most of my life on business.  I was tired of posting things on line there and having no one reply to what I wrote except for some female-unrequited-admirers from highschool and other lonely people out there.  It’s kind of sad and pathetic.  If you want an analysis say that FaceBook conversations can be summed up into four categories.  

First, there is the small and close family thing where the dad writes something to his wife and the son writes back.  Or the wife and husband go back and forth of the dad and son.  Having their dinner table conversation online where everyone can read it.

Second, there is the famous guy who we know who has a whole string of admirers.  He has written a novel or two, is a well-known winemakers with legions of fans, or a photographer who has just done his first New York show.  Somehow you “friended” this guy without really being his friend.  So you sit back and watch as he and his entourahe write back to one another about some lofty theme afraid to interject anything into the dialogue since he/she/they will ignore you.  It is best to “unfriend” this guy since all that non consideration is just going to annoy you.  But when you do that you are just annoyed at yourself for having friended this guy in the first place.

Third, there are your cousins and other young females on your site who use FaceBook to preen online for one another.  You have seen this many times before.  Wherever these females flock–and they always travel in pairs or more–they snap pictures of themselves huddling together in their bikinis, at the restuarant, on the beach which they hurry to upload onto their FaceBook wall so their friends who are also out there preening can see what they are up to.  It’s not really for themselves.  They are just writing and snapping photos for one another which is after all what FaceBook is all about.

Fourth, there is the stream-of-conscious person who posts all day long.  It’s not quite as boring or funny as what one person told me about their friend and her incessant Twitter Tweets but almost.  “I’m having lunch”, “watching TV now”, “would get up and clean the room but am so high cannot find the broom”.  That sort of thing.  You get the feeling this person needs someone to talk too.

So I have decided to opt out of all this highly addictive and somewhat indulgent behavior.  If all you want is a place to upload your photos so you can send them to your mom and kids–that is what I had been doing–then Google Picasso works just as well without handing over all the private details of your life to whoever might be lurking out there.  There.  I have signed off from FaceBook now I am signing off from here.


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(4) Readers Comments

  1. Your reasons for giving up on Facebook make perfect sense. Very well explained, indeed! (I remain a minimal user, myself.) Saludos…

    PS. I really like your blog, so please consider opening it up to commenters like me who wish to use their url/name to identify themselves. (Google has inexplicably hidden this choice in your dashboard options.)

  2. I quit FB a little over a year ago for many of the same reasons that you did. What actually triggered it was that I was suddenly in the situation of needing to look for a new job. I went to “clean up” my FB account, including deleting any and all comments/wall posts from the walls of “friends” that I was afraid a potential employer might find “off-putting” or offensive (I have very strong political views, and voiced them often on FB). While going through this day-long tedious process, I became fully aware of how little anyone every commented on my status updates and articles/information/links I would post. I thought to myself, why the heck am I bothering with this? Giving up my privacy for a bunch of people I haven’t seen in 20 years who could not care less about me? And once I was done deleting all of the things that needed to be done manually, I deleted my entire account. It was wonderfully freeing!
    A few months later, I joined twitter under an anonymous name to keep up with politics and other topics I am interested in, and I love it. I can be absent from twitter for days/weeks when I am busy, and come back to when i have time/interest, and nobody cares. I only follow people/accounts I am interested in, and I don’t have to really “know” any of them. Perfect. My real friends are people I actually see and have true conversations with.

  3. Pingback: Criticism of Facebook “friends” goes mainstream? – Is This Future Shock?

  4. Me agrado bastante el tema del blog. Hace un timpo lo encontre y diariamente los visitio, sigan asi

    Una pregunta, existe alguna forma de suscribirtme a la pagina?
    la idea es que me llegen notificaicoens cada vez que ustedes publican
    algo nuevo.. algun canal de facebook o algo?

    Saludos, Ahh y se me olvidaba, si desean algun servicio de radio taxi pueden contactarme por medio de mi pagin apersonal, encantado los llevare a dond egusten

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