It all started here, where a friend referred those of us who enjoyed her blog over to the other medium. She wrote:
"I love Facebook because it doesn't take itself so seriously...It restricts your tendencies toward excess. Which I find refreshing and humbling and interesting, in the way that cryptic or aphoristic statements are always interesting."I couldn't let that go...so over I went, filled in the little information form, and there I was feeling like I'd just gotten my first off-campus apartment.
The facebook is a curious thing, and it has interesting effects on those who visit there. The person who got me interested is very natural there. She usually posts a nicely varied mix of updates, notes, photos and information, being entertaining while clearly entertaining herself. She's a "good facebooker".
At the other pole are the people who never use the thing - they made a page and then left it, a sort of bookmark in the aether, a lamppost in the deep woods that, once lit, shines lonely and unvisited far from the busy chatter of the rest of the facebook world. You wonder - why? Was it just Not Their Thing? Too much timesuck? Just didn't trip their trigger? What?
The one person that I thought would react that way to the application has become, instead, a sort of uberfacebooker, a facemaniac; joining groups, signining petitions, sending and receiving chickens, cows, mardi gras beads, cocktails and sushi. It's been fun, really, watching this tender comrade become more facebook than the old hand facebookers.
I have to admit that I find the FB gimmicks and gadgets silly and a little irritating, the way that once I'd become comfortable with digital commo I found the cute little gimmicks on America Online frustrating (yeah, I was one of the original Eighties AOLers - Christ, I'm older than dirt...) The little goofs are fun at first, then just something to get through, finally a minor irritation; a Dancing-Paperclip-for-the-Internet sort of thing. It's not that I object to someone sending me an imaginary drink, I just think "I could probably spend this time mixing one of these upstairs and it'd taste better..." And, frankly, the snowballs just baffle me. WTF?
On the other hand, teh Facebook can be good for a quick larf, as in in this exchange that took place today:
J is relishing the smell of monkey dung in the morning. 8:54am
First Friend at 8:58am January 22
you should probably wipe better than:)
FDChief at 9:19am January 22
FDChief at 9:28am January 22
FDChief at 10:28am January 22
J at 10:31am January 22 via Facebook Mobile Texts
Chief-do some work!
FDChief at 12:44pm January 22
FDChief at 12:45pm January 22
Binocular vis...oh, sorry. I'll go do some work.
J at 1:01pm January 22
You crack me up Chief!
Second Friend at 2:50pm January 22
I think the capper for me is Second Friend coming in at the end with the classic Witty Comment On The Original Post ("Gross") after we'd already made a stand-up gag out of it. Sometimes the best funny is the guy who completely misses the gag.
Curiously enough, as I went to lunch thinking about writing this post, I open the World's Worst Newspaper and what's on the front page of the Living ("Where J-School Failures Go To Die") Section? Just 1500 words from the textually-challenged Peter Ames "What's Happening NOW!" Carlin on "Are people hiding from Life on Facebook!?", full of useless crap quotes from somebody about their opinion bout facebook. Damn, Peter, if I want to read someone babbling idiotic bullshit I'll dictate to myself, thanks.
Which means, of course, that the Facebook has had its 15 minutes and will soon go the way of AOL, populated by sad old bastards and aged grannies desperately trying to hook up with their grandkids using The Next Big Thing That Was Big Ten Years Ago.
So I guess that so far, my feeling is that FB's fine. It's not All That. I enjoy it for the e-mail and instant-messaging I can exchange with friends. But I'll pass on the snowballs and sushi, thanks. I still find that I enjoy the broader canvas of blogging and other writers for the breadth and depth of what they produce, for the thoughtful responses the more complex fora provoke in me, and provide for me. But if you just want to drop me a line, I'm around the facebook, every day, once a day or so.
Just don't come expecting to get a cyber-chicken out of me.
I don't do chickens.