Rik-O-Sound: Tagged and Despondent, Pt. I

There were two reasons why I got onto Facebook:

1) I was frustrated with my friends and their lack of email communication. Likewise, I was frustrated with my lack of email communication in return. Knowing that some of them had hooked up on Facebook led me to believe that this would be a mutually beneficial attempt at bridge-building.
2) I fucking hate MySpace.

I have railed about MySpace in the past, and will probably do so again the future (if I get to a point where I am actually involved with MySpace again -- I still have a page, which I have stopped just short of deleting several times, but only because I have a pair of friends on there that I do not have an alternate means of reaching. But I will never do any work on that page again. It's dead to me.)

As for email communication, you get what you put into it. As it turns out, my frustration is actually the same frustration I held when I lived back home over the telephone, and my lack of incoming calls from friends was actually pretty evenly matched by my own lack of outgoing calls to people whom I should have attempted to reach in certain situations. It's all fine and well to ask "Why didn't you call me about that movie?," but then don't be surprised when multiple somebodies ask you the same question after you skipped out to the latest Eastwood with just two of your pals instead of seventeen of them.

I got on to Facebook to communicate. And then I immediately fell into the trap that everyone does on Facebook: the deluge of seemingly innocuous games and applications, all of which are mindlessly delightful for the first couple of days you have them, and none of which seems to be the actual pains in the ass that they are in retrospect. Go ahead, sign up to a new app and then tag forty-seven of your kindred telling them all about the joys that this innocent-looking new app can bring to their lives. I played around for a couple months, but then realized that all of it was worthless, the book and movie applications were not really all that useful outside of Facebook (which is something I greatly require), and that I, for some strange reason that a guy obsessed with writing cannot fathom (and neither should you), despise Scrabble and don't wish to play even a legal version of the game on the site, let alone a far superior (so my friends and thousands of others tell me), now extinct, knock-off version.

Sure, it seems to cool to want to throw a crap-filled snowball at someone, or buy them a drink, or send them a poodle toy, or just poke them in the ribs (or other filthier areas). Yes, I too wish to be a pirate, a mob boss, a zombie, a mad scientist... doesn't everyone. As Groucho said, "I'm a dreamer. Montreal?" Leaving out the fact that I too invited numerous people to these applications when I first got on the sight, once you have been on there for a while and you see all of the new people joining, if you have given up using any of these applications, they are going to bite you in the posterior on the flipside. Having removed myself from most of these apps long before, one day about a year ago, I dialed into the site and found that I have 127 notifications, most of them from a group of about twelve people of my "acquaintance" who had signed my up as their friend, and were now intent on torturing me invitations to be all of those swell professions I mentioned (and more) at the start of this paragraph. Not to mention the people that were throwing all manner of flotsam and jetsam my way, and the people who wanted me to join their group protesting the waterboarding torture of homeless, transgendered, autistic, abused whale fetuses.

Fine causes all, and you might even see me in a parade for any or all of them, depending on my mood at the time... or my state of undress. But, as it does for every person on the planet, it all boils down to one word, a word that describes the state in which every one of us believes ourselves to be at all times, even if that state is something totally self-created: BUSY. Just too damn busy to bother with the process of climbing up the buccaneer ladder of success, preferring instead to climb a ladder more reality-based. The preponderance of goofy Facebook applications is fine if you want to peck away at your keyboard on a lazy Saturday morning or for an hour after work, mindlessly playing silly games with friends to relieve the tension of the day. Fine for some, but not for me. In normal circumstances, I thrive on being busy, but my form of busy is spread out over numerous other forms of computer software -- online and home collection-cataloguing programs, learning HTML on Dreamweaver, and massive amounts of blogging -- and then the writing and drawing I do off the computer, all of which ties into watching movies and reading books through which I derive the means of doing the massive amounts of blogging when I return to the computer.

What it does is leave little time for me on Facebook, as much as I actually, despite the protestations above and to come, adore the program. It's a far more supple and user-friendly program than Facebook, and if the look is a little too uniform for my tastes, at least it doesn't have the gnarly look of most MySpace pages. Professionally designed or amateur, every page on that site looks a mess, and I will go to almost any other place to look up information on someone or an organization rather than visit their MySpace page. Sure, it works for Dane Cook. But he's an overrated, unfunny asshole (with zero acting talent, I must add vociferously) who just happened to be the first to learn how to make the internet work for him, and better than anyone else has. Kudos to him for figuring things out, but you won't find me visiting his MySpace page, or anyone else's for that matter. Not even mine, which is why I no longer provide a link to it.

And so, eventually, I stripped nearly everything off of Facebook that wasn't immediately necessary to my basic enjoyment of the site. No games, no awkward movie collection applications, no zombies, snowballs, pirates. I don't even poke back much anymore. Because what all of these distractions proved to me was that they were not true communication. Just because you poke somebody on the site doesn't mean you have anything worthwhile to say to them. Sure, it's nice to know that someone is thinking about you, but the truth of the matter is that they probably just noticed your name on a list, and while they were jabbing three other people, they thought, "Oh, I should hit his name too." Don't need it. Don't bother. If you want to talk to me, write on my wall, send me a personal message, look me up on the chat log on those rare occasions I do log into Facebook, send an actual email to my real account, or go the extra mile to show your affection by sending a box of candy or flowers -- the real variety, not the pixel-encrusted ones on some program on Facebook.

And most of all, do not tag me for anything...

(To be continued...)


EggOfTheDead said…
Hallelujah, Brother Rik!

I employ the "Block Application" and "Ignore" with no compunctions. Recently just locked down all the privacy settings on my Facebook page as tight as they'll go, and deleted Tribe, MySpace and Friendster accounts.

There really is such a thing as _too_much_information_.

Love you - and my apologies for not writing more.


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