Have you ever tried to quit a gym? To stop your membership? This makes me recall an episode of Friends where Chandler wants to stop his gym membership and can’t seem to do so. He enlists the help of Ross, and suddenly they are both members.
Yeah, well, Facebook is the gym of the new era.
I remember how I got started on the social network. I had a small involvement with sending care packages to troops post-9/11. And as a result, I was in contact with men and women in places like Iraq or Afghanistan. This was my way to show Evan that military service is to be respected, since he is the great-grandson of a WWII vet, the son of a Marine, the grandson of a Soldier, just to name a few. And the military would not allow these peeps in these precarious positions to use MySpace. Facebook and letter-writing that took ages were all they had to communicate to us back here in the States. And so I got a Facebook account.
Time has come and gone and everybody has a Facebook account. My boss. My supervisor. My coworkers. Old college professors and friends from high school. My in-laws. Every. Body. Fine. So be it. But there is a problem with this that no one talks about, at least in my circles.
The Andrea I am at work is not the Andrea I am at home. The Andrea I reveal to my closest of friends and family is not the same Andrea that I share with aquaintences. (Great, now I sound like I have multiple personalities!) It’s not that I have anything to hide. It’s just that there are some things about me of which I do not want certain people to be privy.
Have you ever gone to a high school reunion and wanted to make it seem that loads of success were yours and yours alone? That would be kind of difficult if you are tagged in a bunch of Facebook pictures wearing a MickeyD’s uniform.
Are you the consummate professional at work? It would be kind of hard to keep that reputation when your old high school buddy posts a picture of you getting cozy with a beer bong circa 1995.
And then there is the drama. And the hurt feelings. Do you have any idea how many drama fests have taken place in my department at work because this one or that one deleted the other one from their Facebook friends list? Or someone said something to another coworker, and since they were mutual friends, the wrong person saw it and now WWIII has commenced right there in the middle of the night shift report room. I seriously could not make this stuff up, folks.
Facebook used to be cool. it used to be fun. Back when I was able to keep up with the people, well, that I wanted to keep up with. Now, if you are a friend of Joe Smith’s, and you are also my friend, and you comment on Joe’s embarrassing photo, I can now see Joe’s photo, too. Regardless of whether Joe wants me to see the damned thing. Regardless of whether I even desire to see the damned thing. But what if my path crosses with Joe’s one day? What if he applies for a job at my company and all I can picture is the Facebook photo of his drunken debauchery 15 years ago?Better yet, what if I am a creepy child molester and I now have access to Joe’s albums full of his cute kiddos? And I know their ages because it says it right there? And I know their names and where they live because that is given also. I could even pinpoint their school and favorite hangouts from the locations in the photos. Creepy stuff, Dude.
Now let’s flip that, reverse it, and extrapolate some things. Because unless you are a saint, there are probably some photos out there of you. Photos you would never dream of sharing with your boss. Or your client. Or the lady who sits next to you at your Mommy and Me class. And so you make it a point to not be Facebook friends with those people. You’re protected, right? Nuh-unh. Because your coworker or friend or whomever does not have the same friggin’ policy. And what they see, what they comment on, is now there for your boss’s viewing pleasure. And that’s not even taking into account the hurt felings when you reject their Facebook friendship.
It’s getting crazy. The games. Oh my sweetbabyJesus, the games. More importantly, the game requests. I must admit, my name is tied to a few because I am liberal about Evan playing Facebook games. I know they’re clean, and so I feel safe with them. Until I discovered he was sending oodles of game requests to the people on my friends list by the dozens. But Evan is fricken nine years old. Not thirty or forty. No, I will not fertilize your fake fucking crops so stop asking me!
And the status updates: I have an awesome mom and I love her and she smells like roses and if you don’t repost this stupid shit 7 times at 7 seconds past midnight YOU HATE YOUR MOTHER. Yeah. Okay. Or the repost-if-you-love-Jesus crap. Really people? I’m a borderline atheist. Guess who won’t be reposting? But I’m sure this isn’t the defining factor for Christians. As if The Man will be at the pearly gates and actually banish you to hell because on August 6, 2007, you refused to repost Susie Biblebanger’s I-love-Jesus post. Seriously.
And we are not going to talk about the viiruses.
So I did it. I tried to delete my account. Have you tried this? Because you know what happens whan you do? You get these ominous messages. Like, “Are you sure you want to delete this account? Because Susie Biblebanger will miss you if you do.” Or “Angels are now weeping because you hate all of your Facebook friends and are deleting this account.” And let’s say you do it: You get in touch with your big ‘ol pair of woman-balls and you deactivate the account anyway? Well then you just float around in Facebook purgatory, neither here nor there. The picture of you with the beer bong from 1995 is still there with your name on it for your boss’s viewing pleasure. The ony thing that changes is that your name is no longer a hyperlink. And when you lose your nerve and go to try to log onto the old account, there you are. Same friends, same bullshit, same embarrassing photos. Surprise! We never deleted you in the first place. We knew you couldn’t stay away from your cyber-crack.
Yes, I still have a Facebook page. Used responsibly, it can be great. A nice way to keep far-away friends and family updated. This became a big deal for us when we moved 4 hours away from the kids’ grandparents years ago. Or a great way to network. I can maintain contact with people from respiratory school and one day it may pay off. Assuming I don’t fill my status updates with things like “fuck”, or “repost if you really love Jesus/ your Mom/ your kids….”
The main reason I still have a Facebook page despite all of this? I can’t quit it. Just like the gym membership I have used twice and paid for monthly for 3 years.
(DISCLAIMER: There are, to the best of my knowledge, no photos of me out there with a beer bong, a joint, a blow-up doll, or farm animals. I do not work at MickeyD’s, though I did in high school. I’ve never presented a fake self at a reunion, and I am most certainly not doing anything creepy with the photos of the children of my Facebook friends. This is all hypothetical. Just sayin’.)