Facebook or die?

After I quit the social networking site, I woke up with a pep in my step, as if I'd just retired after 70 years of service at a meat-packing plant, with a huge marijuana, cat, and vibrator pension in the Bahamas

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arts@sfbg.com

CULTURE There's a party going on and I'm not there. But everyone else is, and I can see it from here — it's that warm, golden light at the end of this tunnel. The door is half open, spilling a glittery radiance into the chill darkness, as if to say: Hey, baby. Why don't you come back inside? No need to be lonely out there in the cold. My body tenses — will I move through the blackness? Will I meet the light?

Hell no. You can't make a big fuss about quitting Facebook, then come back crying. Plus, I admit I lost it toward the end — in a self-destructive fit of Facebook rage, impulsively running my mouth and hammering out declarations on absolutely anything, even cheese.

After two years of playing nice with 500 mouth-breathers all stuck on one train, a prickly impatience began to emerge, resulting in the rise of emotionally ruinous fights about burritos, white people, rape, and mites. On Facebook I witnessed a level of savagery that can only be compared to how a grizzly bear kills a man: by tearing out his chest in one clean rip of the claw. You couldn't even talk about deviled eggs without someone calling you ignorant. Like the Donner party, there was nothing left to feast on but ourselves.

I fought to stay alive amid the carnage by using Facebook as the means to disseminate inflammatory statements about castration, or to pick meaningless fights with bro-hams, particularly those who couldn't spell — then I'd leave each and every one like a bullet-ridden coyote flung over a barbed wire fence. It was, without a doubt, one of the most spectacular times of my life.

My unquestioning, slave-like allegiance to this singular corporate platform started off so pleasant: it was a giddy and polite neverending tea party with sugary treats, Seinfeld-y gosh-it's-Monday whimsy, and astute weather and slow-drip coffee observations. I got to reconnect with many wonderful people from my past, the majority of whom I guess I met in a blacked-out state. For the very first time, I learned the names of people I slept with, temped for, and still owed money to. I even made some brand-new best friends — none of whom I'll ever hear from again. But the intensely codependent commenter relationships we nurtured were beautiful and perfect — beacons of dependability in this big, scary world.

And wasn't it nice to see how the few losers I actually knew had totally cleaned up and sold out? Wasn't it inspiring to read the self-affirmations of people who had lost their dreams? Or to know that, despite how very, very extremely busy everyone claimed to be — creating great works of art, penning riveting novels, and churning out dope beats — they could still find the time to fire off a million misspelled run-on sentences about their "process" between the hours of five and seven a.m.?

Finally, I was relieved of ever having to LOL face to face again. Facebook is a pinnacle of civilization that is fully accessible while taking a dump — and there isn't a person on earth who doesn't find that reassuring. Only bums, waiters, and asexual religious martyrs don't mind being breathed on anymore.

Indeed, Facebook alleviates all pain associated with sustained eye contact, accidental brushes of the thigh, vomit splashes on the chin, moles, wrinkles, puffy eyes, and talking out loud. You can even end longstanding feuds without uttering a word by offering the passive-aggressive overture of the message-free add, or the quiet headfuck of the like. Clearly, Facebook is to friendship as Hitler is to spring.

Comments

Posted by Guest on Nov. 24, 2010 @ 9:15 am

I love this article, brilliant, insightful. But if I tell you so in a brief comment instead of getting on with my work, I am participating in the same condemned activity! Therefore, I must stop now and start working on my Mona Lisa.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 24, 2010 @ 12:19 pm

You should have been more selective about who you "friended" on facebook. If you were involved in "motionally ruinous fights about burritos'" you allowed the petty types into your circle. Even if your fb friends were real life friends, to fight over such minor things in life like deviled eggs, clearly you must take some of the blame.

A fight is like a tango, it takes two. If you don't want to fight, don't. If you are insulted by someone's comment or wall post, delete it and forget it. Remember it is cyberspace where communication is done with a handicap.

When you are face to face you can read a person's body language, hear inflection in their voice, and interpret their tone. New media, email, text messaging, facebook, use strictly words to communicate.

Let's face it, most of the world has no writing skills. Most people can't spell or can't use spell check, you can't expect them make comments about your status so you know they are kidding around. LOL works sometimes, but not always. Most times you get in a fight with someone it's because you or they misunderstood the message. They failed to read between the lines.

As the more savvy one, you must keep your head, never forget that you are better than that. Rise above it. Take a breath and let it go. If you're offended by their bad spelling, correct them.

I always give the correct spelling in a comment to them. Most times I am thanked and they always spell that word the right way from then on. Why leave them ignorant? Show them the light.

If someone wants to fight, send them a private message. Doing it in public for all to see is bad form. YOU look bad. Like an accident on the freeway, everyone slows down to look. That's good if you are a drama queen. It simply looks ugly to the rest of us.

If you must tussle, take it outside, do it in private. That way no one knows about it. You resolve the issue. You remain friends and you both keep face. The rest of us can enjoy facebook without be subjected to silly arguments over nothing, like burritos and deviled eggs.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 24, 2010 @ 6:29 pm

Yes, yes yes!!! Now off to post this article on facebook, to the 93 people I actually know, in person. Tiresome in my practicality, yes, but there is only so much time in one day.

One word of advice on how to manage social networks, so they don't consume you.

Ignore!

"Remove" is a good one too.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 27, 2010 @ 12:13 pm

Roberta we miss you!!! Come back!!!
Why don't you just use a pseudonym or something?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 24, 2010 @ 7:09 pm

There's a life after Facebook. Don't go back

Posted by Guest on Nov. 24, 2010 @ 7:19 pm

All those vicious jibes weren't exactly time wasted if it's got you back to writing your column again...do not miss you on Facecrack a bit...when's the book coming then ?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 28, 2010 @ 3:58 am

oh Seawhore u old sea dog. we will always have "the flotilla". its not exactly Paris but............ cant believe u went back to old media, i read about it online. probably wont see u in the real world because u wont get the FB invite. LK

Posted by Guest on Dec. 02, 2010 @ 9:34 am

I'd friend her if she was still on FB

Posted by Guest on Jan. 28, 2011 @ 8:20 pm

Dearest Many, Many Millions of Fans:

The pressure has been too great. And weakness is my thing -- unless I'm playing gin rummy. I cannot lie -- I have rejoined Facebook, but only for the humble purpose of communicating with my dear ailing aunt, who lives in a tiny village in a remote RV park in Croatia and needs me to keep her abreast of everything important, like the camel toe I got today while trying on pants and the rate of canned beets at Best Buy.

Don't hate me. Just love me. Like Jesus, I am occasionally weak. (Wait -- he DID fuck that whore, right?) Uhm.

Roberta

PS -- I also quit smoking pot and drinking. Everything is now a lie.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 09, 2011 @ 3:24 pm

It's true, social networking websites have become an integral part of many people's lives...
Very ironic and funny article, you did a good job!

Posted by Freeware PDF Editor on Oct. 13, 2011 @ 6:29 am

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