Thursday, June 12, 2008
Who the F- are you?
Yes, we all hate the phenomenon of Facebook. And no, I don't use the word phenomenon lightly. I know you kids have been hip to this shit for the past 6 years or so, but seriously, what happened 12 months ago that made it a mandatory for anyone under the age of 60 to have a page, much less a widget, fun-wall and all the other crap that comes with social networking 2.0? It's like some Borg that came out of nowhere with its brain-sucking virus and took complete control of all of our remaining dignity. But that's not why we hate it. The real reason we all hate it, is because it no longer belongs to the young, cool kids. It's everyone's now.
And yet, without a facebook page you are a social and professional leper, quickly fading off into obscurity. I went and drank from the FB cooler and like everyone else, I find myself checking up on old friends, in almost compulsive, stalker-like fashion. I realized the other night that this site had transcended critical mass when one of my closest friends, who lives a scant 4 blocks away, told me he had a link he wanted me to check out later, and while I looked over his shoulder, he sent it to me via our facebook's accounts. How that's easier than good old fashioned email, I still can't comprehend, but apparently, this is now the norm.
So here we all are, all of us, linked together by a pretty rudimentary online interface. There's only like 3 degrees of separation between most of us and with enough friend searches, you soon find that we're all part of this big, happy incestuous popularity contest. But with anything of this magnitude, I believe in some ground rules:
#1. When you contact that old bud you haven't seen in over 10 years, remind us who the fuck you are.
I'm not saying I'm so popular I can't keep track of the many friends I've had over the years (I'm up to 185 at the moment), but if you got married and are no longer Betty Maiden Name, chances are, I've not followed your life so closely that I'm privy to you and your husband's shared surname.
It's pretty simple - when you send a friend request to someone you knew before you changed your name, sex, appearance, etc., drop a short note explaining as much. I'll probably accept your friend request either way, because I'm very shallow and feel the number of friends I have speaks to the kind of person I am. And if I don't accept your friend request, or I tell you I don't recall anyone by the name of Betty Married Name, then all of the sudden I'm the prick who got too big for his britches. If the point is to reconnect, just tell me who you are. Which takes me to ground rule number 2.
#2. If we've never met before, and I wouldn't know you even if you did introduce yourself via Facebook, do we really need to be Facebook friends? Yes, I know I said I want as many friends as I can get, but aren't there better ways to introduce ourselves whether for professional or for personal reasons? Otherwise, the future of our relationship will be reduced to something akin to what I have with the other 180 people with whom I have nothing left to say post-"How you been?".
#3. Just because someone posted a heartwarming video on your page about a kitten that was rescued from near death, and there's a forward button at the bottom, use some discretion as to where that forward goes. We may be Facebook friends, but I hate kittens and I hate heartwarming stories. I will delete 99% of your silly little videos from my page almost immediately and I don't want to feel like you're checking up on me to see if I still have it proudly displayed.
#4. (And lastly for now) Facebook has this great little tool that tells me when it's one of my friends' birthdays. Keep in mind, this is the same friend I haven't spoken to since 1989 and probably won't speak to again anytime soon. But I feel guilty that they know that I know it's their birthday and I'm not wishing them a good one. So just for the record, unless we've wished each other a happy birthday in the last few years, please do not take the time to wish me one. I'm good.
I'm sure I will have lots to add to this list of Facebook faux pas-s, but for now, please, just tell me who the fuck you are.