Island Packet — Everyone’s on the Facebook, the kids are on the Facebook, the media keeps obsessing about the Facebook, parents are all like worried and whatever about the Facebook. So I got invited to the Facebook, and I accepted, and now I’m on the Facebook. Am I saying that right? The Facebook? I’m not exactly sure how people talk on the Interwebs anymore.
Within a few minutes after securing my page, here’s what I learned about the Facebook:
1. I am literally the third-oldest person on the Internet.
2. When selecting a profile picture, you’re required to crop yourself out of a shot of no fewer than 12 people; it’s preferable if they’re all yelling.
3. No, really, I’m like 10 years older than everyone else on here. The only people remotely close to my age on Facebook are the stalkers.
Facebook is much like the MySpace, the 2006 edition of Gravest Threat To Our Fragile Youth (previous winners included Alice Cooper, Harry Potter and the rap music), though it has much less of a reliance on pink balloon fonts and unreadable backgrounds. Also, MySpace is open to everyone, especially those who think they’re in a band, but you have to be invited into Facebook, which helps limit membership to a select few thousand billion.
Facebook involves creating an online version of yourself, though in a social networking sort of way, not a creepy “Tron” sort of way. To properly employ its benefits, you need first to make a profile and post a picture; I’m not a big fan of putting my picture on the Intertubes, so I generally post one of a celebrity to whom I bear a resemblance, like Tyrese.
But more importantly, you require Friends, and it turns out that if you’re looking for Online Friends, your Real World Friends are a good place to start. I began by searching for my buddy Justin, who I know has a Facebook page because I sit near him and eavesdrop on his phone calls.
In Facebook, searching the name of someone turns up 400 matches, so after clicking through 25 pages of Fall Out Boy lookalikes I found the right Justin, whom I then “added” as a Friend. The next day, I saw Justin at work.
Me: “Dude, I added you as a Friend!”
Justin: “Yeah, I saw that. I confirmed you as a Friend.”
Me: “Affirmative. Now we are Friends.”
(45 seconds of awkward silence)
So now I have a Friend with whom I can post and chat and paint and Intermail, which is good, because he sits over six feet away. (At least Justin “accepted” me, not like my buddy Dean, who has not, and to whom I’m no longer talking).
The average number of friends other Facebookers have seems to be around in the hundreds; one Friend on my list has an awe-inspiring 450 alone. By comparison, if you added up everyone I met in my life, counted their parents, multiplied the sum several times, did something with the hypotenuse and factored in everyone who’s ever been in the Wu-Tang Clan, you might, maybe, break like 150.
This is my problem, though: that Facebook takes what used to be a shapeless process — making friends — and pours math into it, meaning that you can very easily, with a few mental calculations, compute how many friends you don’t have, particularly when compared with all the other popular people. I went to high school. Already done it.
So I think I’m going to get rid of the Facebook; I already have a blog that no one visits, and I can’t help but feel like I’m taking up valuable Netterweb space. There’s only so much of that in the world, after all, and I don’t want to be the only one using it for something recreational.