Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Facing Facebook

Social media are the new Thing. I know. And among the crowds that I run with, you have to be on Facebook. Everyone is on Facebook. Everyone watches Facebook. Productivity among GenX professionals has dropped precipitously over the last year or so because we are spending inordinate amounts of time at work on Facebook (in fact I rather suspect that this phenomenon is solely responsible for the current economic downturn). 

And me? Yes, I’m on Facebook, and yes, I check Facebook regularly. But seriously?

I truly can’t figure it out. 

I mean, throwing virtual mashed potatoes at people and tagging imaginary rival schools are nifty and all, if you have nothing else to do with your time. But that’s the key. I already have too many activities vying for my time. Why should I spend my time on this activity?

Yes, it’s nice to see where my old high school classmates are living and what they’re up to, and to get a glimpse of their everyday lives. But honestly, I don’t really care that the guy who sat behind me in 9th grade Algebra was bored at work 32 minutes ago. My life is not enriched by knowing that my college lab partner threw a goat at some person whose name I’ve never heard. And who the heck is Jamie Snyder, and why does she want to be my friend?

Even worse is the fact that everyone can see everything about everyone. When my college roommate posts old photos of that party - yes that party - I am quite certain that I don’t want my church-going aunt to receive an instant announcement complete with thumbnails. And if I don’t make it in to work one day, I’d really prefer that my co-workers and clients not see that wall post from my buddy raving about how much fun we had last night at the Silver Fox.

So I just don’t get it. Is there some secret that I’m missing here? Is there some hidden usefulness to Facebook that I just haven’t found? Please, fill me in. 

Just don’t expect me to plant your unicorn tree or toss leg-warmers at you.


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