Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Facebook Thing (part one)

If there was ever an Internet site created for this generation, it's Facebook.  Why, you ask?
Because it feeds into our desire to be noticed.  There are 310 million people in the United States and approximately 7.16 billion on the Earth, consisting of the World Wide Web.  It is difficult to stand out in such a crowd.  Unless, of course, you promote yourself and raise your hand to the Internet and say, "Hey, look at me!"  That's what Facebook is.
It was created as many things are:  Innocently.  As a method to keep track of new friends and track down old ones.  The more people logged-on, the better your chances.  You might be searching for a lost high school sweetheart or making new "friends" (Facebook friends, as differs from real friends) or just hanging around to see what pops up.
What pops up are posts from people who are screaming "Hey, look at this!  I just bought a new thing/took a vacation/ate dinner/hung-out with similar Facebook friends."
The odd thing is that we strive to be noticed.  That's where the innocence can turn into a form of passive-aggressive attention grabbing.  We show off our newest thing, forgetting that we have perhaps hundreds of friends who can neither afford nor contemplate having such a thing or caring that we can.  No matter, we're posting on Facebook and we are being noticed.
Many of those 310 million people take vacations.  In the recent past, their real friends were invited to their house when they got home to view slides or snapshots of their time away. This occasion was greeted with the same enthusiasm as a root canal.  We endured, because they are our friends, and soon, we will exact our revenge.
At Christmas, non-thinking friends and relatives used to send the Christmas update letter, detailing all of the things that their family did during the year.  They had to send this because you didn't care enough to call or keep in touch so that the update letter would be rendered unnecessary.  It was the early-20th Century version of Facebook. "Hey, look at me, I'm writing you a letter! Shut up and read it."
We tolerate (and even encourage) the Internet version of the vacation slide show and Christmas letter.  Why? Because it's on the Internet, and specifically Facebook, which we view as some sort of technological innovation.  What it is really, is an electronic version of those invasive vacation snaps and the Christmas update letter.  We love the technology.
So, the next time you are posting something, remember that it's just an updated version of what your distant relatives used to do.  The eye-roll came at no additional expense.
Truthfully, we don't really care that you bought a new car, had lunch at an expensive restaurant, managed to run 5 miles without stopping or returned from a vacation in a place whose name we cannot pronounce.  Nevertheless, we click "LIKE" because if we don't, you'll wonder why your friends (Facebook friends) didn't like what you did.
And, we all want to be liked.