Wednesday, May 13, 2009

On Facebook...

About a year ago, a friend of mine asked me if I’d joined Facebook yet. “Yet”— as if I was just putting off the inevitable. And about a year ago I remember saying something snarky like, “Do I look I’m still in college?” I said that, of course, only to discover shortly thereafter that Facebook had already begun taking over the lives of my friends, family and ex-colleagues. But let’s be clear, a year ago I’d finally assembled the time and energy to embrace online bill pay about five years too late. So, no. I don’t have a Facebook page, nor have I ever uttered a “Tweet” on its equally famous, yet abridged-versioned counterpart, Twitter. (Pause for the gasps of horror and pity). I know. Everybody’s doing it—the recent presidential campaign rode the information superhighway to victory, Oprah sent her first “Tweet” on live television, and every news program out there appears to have joined the parade. I’ve been behind since my first son was born five and half years ago, so I’ve come to terms with the idea by deluding myself that I’d catch up with the world-at- large once my two rug rats were in school full-time. But there’s nothing like finding out that your 71-year-old mother has a Facebook page to make you realize just how far you’ve slipped down the hill of contemporary culture.

As depressing as that is, I can’t even imagine where I’d find the time. And if by some miracle I could, I’m still not convinced that I’d whittle it away on Facebook. I get the attraction, I’m just very afraid.

I’m not even on Facebook and I’ve received 24 Facebook “friend” invitations from random people in my past. Seriously, I can’t handle the life I’ve got now. Do I really want to resurrect the life I had in grammar school, high school and college all at the same time? I’m pretty sure I don’t need an invitation from the loon who sat next to me in freshman English, and on my first day decided to share his self-illustrated, self-published manual entitled “Ten Ways to Kill a Cat.” Neither do I care to strike up with the girl from fourth grade who invited the entire class to her birthday party except for me (one of my 24 Facebook invites, mind you). And even though I may wonder from time to time what happened to my almost stalker, ex-boyfriend with the loose ties to the mafia underworld, do I really want to know what he’d write on my Facebook wall? With my luck, it would be the creepy distant cousin my Mom forced me to indulge with a date in high school to be polite that found my “page” first. I wonder if he still has that IROC and seventies mustache? You see why I run? You start dredging up skeletons and who knows where it will lead.

I’m also afraid of getting sucked in like so many of my friends. Once you find one person that you know, that person knows ten people you might also know and that person knows ten more. Pretty soon you’ve got Facebook “friends” to the tune of 2,677. I find it a challenge to fit in a shower these days, so I don’t even want to think what would become of my personal hygiene if I had to keep up with all those people. I even have a friend for whom Facebook has found its way so far up on her list of vices that she felt compelled to give it up for Lent. I’m just waiting for the day they designate Facebook addiction an official disorder.

Then there’s the status feature where you’re supposed to give everyone minute-to-minute updates on your life and what you’re doing. Well what if your life is entirely uninteresting? Or insane? Most days my daily updates would read like a sleep aid for insomniacs: Tate has barely scraped herself out of bed today. Tate is driving to school, headed to Walmart or doing laundry. Repeat. However, if I were to document the activities of a day I had last month, it would go more like this:

Status 1: Tate is retrieving her two-year-old son from his nap.
Status 2: Tate finds that her son Cameron has taken it upon himself to remove his diaper and commence with a “Fece-esta” of shocking proportions and untold artistry.
Status 3: Tate is now screaming and headlong into full-fledged panic.
Status 4: Tate is now giving Cameron his third bath and will conceivably be scrubbing the walls, his crib and rug with some form of bleach for the next three hours.
Status 5: Somebody shoot me.

So there it is. For now, my status will remain Facebook Page: “not-so-much” and I’ll just have to endure the pitfalls of being a sideshow freak. For those of you who have embraced this must-have accessory: Facebook responsibly. I’m just a girl living life on the back forty, but I’m pretty sure life gets significantly less awesome when you spend all your time on the Internet.