Monday, April 25, 2011

Facebook, we're not friends...

It is no secret that I really, really dislike facebook.  Given full disclosure, I do 'troll' around from time to time, peeking in on people's lives, who under normal circumstances (read: pre-FB), wouldn't pop into my mind for years.  I always say that Zuckerberg created it to distract everyone else--- hung up on the mundane routine of acquaintances' daily lives and the social mores of high school--- while he goes on to take over the world.  Or maybe I watched too much 'Pinky and the Brain' as a kid and it is just an ancillary and unforeseen consequence of social networking.   Whatever the case, Facebook is something I try my best avoid like the plague, because inherently I see the social reverberation of 'status updates' and 'friend networks' as just that--- an incurable disease.  Yes, a blood-borne anxiety inducing disease, like malaria. 

There has been plenty of press lately about 'Facebook Depression'. I wouldn't doubt it.  Take the dynamics of high school sophomores with the perceived social hierarchy, have everyone of every age use those rules, stir in tough financial times and an anemic job market.  And there you have it, the experience of a catty high school reunion every day, on live feed.

I recently overheard an argument between a girl and her boyfriend about comments on her 'wall', the tone seemed as if their on-line lives were more relevant than their off-line relationship. A few weeks ago, over dinner, a friend updated me on the goings on of a third degree friend on her network, she compared their career accomplishments and potential salary discrepencies. A girl at a cocktail party told me that the photo 'commenting' and 'liking' got so arduous and political she quit FB cold turkey and now she has anxiety about going back on for a work assignment.  The environment plays to people's most baseful insecurities and weaknesses, where many market a 'profile' they want everyone else to believe (and envy). The ironic part is that those who work so hard to maintain and impose rule of order and promote their image are probably the same insecure social climbers from the good old days of adolescence. 

As I've said before, I am extraordinarily private and completely averse to self-promotion.  Unavoidably, I see even 'sharing' the good that's going on in my life as not only unnecessarily bragging but also making myself a ripe target for an evil eye.  My childhood home was a superstitious one, where my baby crib was painted a deep candy apple red and most comments about good fortune were immediately followed by a 'Kanina Horah, poo, poo, poo'.  So I can't help it really, I don't like talking about myself unprompted, not even to my supposed 'friends'.  As I see it, very few people need to be updated on my daily trials, trivals and triumphs.  Averaged over years, the hope is that life experience will be positive.  It can't be healthy or natural for a near stranger to know the instantaneous events, positive or negative, of one's live.  Not for me at least.

So where does someone like myself fit into the modern age--- this second-life-like world of perpetual updates?  A world, as I see it, where you are either a bombastic braggart or a self-concious braggee, or possibly both simultaneously.  Facebook, and people's use of it has created a zeitgeist of overexposure and insecurity, of personal uses for social media and search engine optimization, all that seems increasingly like an outgrowth of youthful social bullying and popularity contests. 'Neither a borrower nor a lender be'; I don't wish to share nor to envy.  So where do I fit in? 

I had stopped asking that question a long time ago as an eccentric and self-assured teenager.  I am not about to start again now.  So, it seems there isn't a place for my kind--- not at this lunch table.

And  I'm OK with that.