Thursday, January 15, 2009

Facebook, Schmacebook--Somebody, Please, Stop This Crazy Train

You will find a lot of nice people on Facebook named Amy Cates. Perhaps they are nicer than I am, and you should befriend them. You can become lifelong friends who share menu plans and vacation pictures and leave snappy little notes that include clever directives like, "You go, girl!"

I would like to make one thing perfectly clear: I am not on Facebook.

I have indicated my disdain for Facebook many, many, many times in this space, but apparently, it's not clicking. Because in one of my mailboxes today, I had eight -- count 'em, EIGHT -- confirmation requests to become friends with people who are, say it with me, ALREADY MY FRIENDS. Most of these friends already know my phone numbers, e-mail addresses and street name. Most know my kids, my husband, my likes, my dislikes, my food allergies, my favorite colors. They have seen my filthy garage. They have seen me without makeup and a bra. They know they can phone me day or night.

What more do you want from me???? My SOUL?

"Amy, what in the world is wrong with you? Why would you NOT want to be a part of the world's largest social networking site? It's just for fun."

The reasons are very simple. For starters, the prospect of this person hosting a Facebook page would be like waving a vial of meth (does meth come in a vial or a sandwich bag?) in the face of an addict. A bottle of Thunderbird in front of a wine-o. A bottle of Lortab in front of ... OK, let's not name names. We all have our vices. Facebook, it seems, caters to the addictive personalities. It provides some sort of fix. And people, we ALL have addictive personalities. Some of us are bold enough to admit that we know our weaknesses. I have purposely avoided IM, the Blackberry, texting and Facebook because my brain might well explode if I am prescribed one more overflowing daily dose of personal communication. If I have to monitor one more blip, bleep, ring, update, inbox or flashing light, I'll be huddled under a bridge like a troll, eating boogers.

If I had a Facebook account, I would watch it like a hawk and post updates like, "I am eating a Wheat Thin." Or, "My kids are being loud." And, "Why can't my husband do something with that pile of leaves in the side yard?" And I would check my friend count, compare it to other people's friend counts, poke around other pages for hours each day, learn what people ate for lunch and what their weekend plans might be, gloss over their pictures and wonder why I wasn't invited to that particular dinner party, grow increasingly paranoid about why so-and-so blocked me as a friend (was it something I said?), pretend to be intrigued by ultrasound pictures and shots of New Year's Eve fireworks, and so you can see why I might end up huddled under a bridge like a troll and eating boogers.

Secondly, my fierce opposition to Facebook has something to do with not wanting to fall prey to peer pressure. I'm the hold-out. The Lone Ranger. The one who stays home on Friday night. The kid who knows the value of "Just Say 'No'." The wallflower. The last kid chosen in kickball. The one who sits at lunch by herself.

["Why is she just sitting there?" ... "It's because she isn't on Facebook. And who did her hair? Her mom?"]

I ran into a friend at a mall recently and she said, "Omigosh! You really need to get on Facebook!"


"Because EVERYone is on there! I am, so-and-so is, so-and-so is there. Oh, and also so-and-so and so-and-so and so-and-so."

"What you're saying is, I am the only one who is NOT on Facebook."

"Yes! You have GOT to get on Facebook!"

Then I asked her to wipe the drool from her chin and consider enrolling in a 12-step program to help get this thing under control.


Is Facebook today's Rubik's Cube? Mood ring? Pet rock? Members Only jacket? Will our culture simply wear this thing out until it's a punch line?

Probably not, but a girl can dream.