I did this humour writing class last semester, and one of the assignments was to write a full-blown rant about something that really gets you wound up.
Anyway, so hello, my name is Rebecca and I’m a recovering Facebook addict – and since deactivating my Facebook account and liberating myself from this perniciously ubiquitous web monster, I’ve developed a growing loathing for all aspects of the Facebook universe.
So when this rant assignment came up, Facebook was the obvious topic choice.
Given the news that Facebook is set to float on some financial market or other and make absurd sums of money for all involved, I thought it was timely to post this rant up on the blog now (and, as always, would welcome any feedback/comments).
Disclaimer 1: I kind of exaggerated my rage for comedic effect, so please do take my ire with a pinch of salt – remember this was meant to be a “humour piece”.
Disclaimer 2: Don’t take it personally if you are on Facebook – I’m only criticizing as I was so very much entrenched in the world I am now mocking. (you know how you can only make Jewish jokes if you yourself are Jewish? same kind of thing).
Disclaimer 3: Some Americanisms have slipped into the text, partly due to my ingratiating myself to my real New Yorker teacher, and partly due to him giving some revisions of his own.
Disclaimer 4: Due to the nature of this writing assignment, it is longer than a regular blog post, so sit comfortable…
Here we go —
Why I hate Facebook
Like you, I was once a hapless, hopeless addict, chained to my computer, bleary-eyed, crazed, drained of all ambition and dreams. But then one day, sick to the bone of ingurgitating yet another inane-pointless-banal-useless-self-aggrandizing-self-obsessed status-update from one of my 849 So-called Friends on Facebook (723 of whom I’d never met), I reached breaking point.
I felt a deep sense of horror with the realisation that I was literally watching my life ticking by, second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour, while engaging in such drivel. I realised that I had to act to seek out my true self, and fight the wretched social media whore that I had become.
I came to the realization that Mark Zuckerman’s celebrated creation, otherwise known as Facebook, is actually the live, smouldering, insidious, ubiquitous embodiment of evil.
With a quavering hand and a shuddering heart, I sought out the dark underbelly of my Facebook profile:
The Place Where You Go to Deactivate Your Facebook Account.
And then I did it. I did the unthinkable. I deactivated my account.
And I survived!
So here’s why I despise Facebook with such passion, and why, if you wish your life to improve dramatically, you TOO should do the unthinkable:
1) Status updates are poisoning society as we know it
No, I do not care, nor do I want to know, that you:
-just ate an *amazing* burger!
-are feeling tired! /happy!/loved!/exhausted after such a long day in the office!
-are gutted that you have to stay home and do the laundry!
-just saw a terrible movie!
-are on a packed subway train!
Or, in fact, anything else about your banal, miserably mundane day-to-day existence. Keep all the dull, gory details to yourself and to your five or so real friends (remember them?) who may genuinely want to share in the magnificent banality of it all.
Not forgetting those wittily mysterious folk who insist on writing in-jokes or else super elusive status updates that are simply begging for all that miserable individual’s 8,540 “friends” to request that they spill the beans:
“Sue is feeling like she messed up big-time today!”
Or: “Tim is glad that crisis was narrowly averted!”
Or: “Diane has a warm fuzzy feeling!”
Or: “Sarah has got a great secret but she can’t share it!”
Apparently, Facebook is breaking records in its ever-multiplying levels of triviality, but is it simply a mirror for humanity’s ever-more-demoralising levels of inanity? When did we as a society become so banal?
2) Facebook Has Ruined Friendship
“Friends” on Facebook are anyone who you may have crossed paths with ever in life. They do not in any way have to meet what was the traditional criterion for friendship in the blissful pre-Facebook era: That you actually like each other. Or that you even know each other.
And all those self-righteous, morally superior and ever-so-popular people who insist they never send friend requests to half-acquaintances and only accept them from actual friends? Well, they are just as bad as the rotters who collect “friends” just as a status thing.
This is how people talk about their “friends collections”:
– So how many friends have you got, Tom?
– Well (pause for effect), at the last count, I think I was up to around 1,400 (adopting a disingenuously vague tone).
Who are you trying to kid? We know you know exactly how many friends you have, and how you’re trying to beat everyone you know on Facebook with your superior numbers. Don’t even think for a second you are convincing us that you are so oblivious to your supposed popularity.
Since when was friendship about quantity and not quality? Since when did we even care about the insignificant lives of people we were last in contact with 20 years ago before Facebook came along and put us back in contact with each other?
3) Facebook Has Contaminated Marriage and Dating
Loathsome are the couples who coyly banter or flirt with each other on their respective, public Facebook walls, who spend their time “liking” every status update or photo added by their partners or who, worst of all, write pseudo-romantic things to each other for all their friends to see — Case in point: Today is our 2nd anniversary! I thank G-d for my holy hottie soul mate (real status update plucked from a friend’s friend).
Or those married folk who tell each other that dinner is ready on their walls.
Since when did we – the humdrum flotsom and jetsam of humanity destined never to reach the giddy heights of Brangelinesque celebritydom – feel the need to submit our personal relationships to public scrutiny?
Why do you need your 5,432 Facebook friends to “like” the romantic breakfast that your other half prepared for you? Isn’t romance meant to be a private thing between you and your Significant Other? Since when did we all need approval from all the Insignificant Others in our lives about the way we are conducting our romantic dealings with our partners?
My repugnance for people who post pictures or status updates while they are in the middle of a romantic encounter of course reaches no bounds. In fact, while they’re at it, why not poll their friends mid-date on whether they should see this person again? Why not post pictures of themselves in various stages of friskiness as the date progresses?
These people ought to be sent to a remote desert island (each partner gets their own private island) and left to fester in their offline hell.
4) Facebook has invaded the rest of the Internet
It was bad enough when Facebook’s evil empire was limited to Facebook. Already it was doing heaven knows what unscrupulous machinations with its targeted advertising on its own website. (Indeed, I’m still bearing a specific grudge as to why ads for “How to get a flat stomach’ kept popping up on my Facebook profile.)
But now, the whole World Wide Web is polluted with ‘Facebook Connect’ / ‘Like This’ / ‘Share with your Facebook Friends’ buttons, jingles and widgets that do an all-singing, all-dancing show to compel you to click on them. Even the New York Times and other formerly illustrious news sources are in on the act.
I’ve discovered that Spotify has now apparently sold its soul to the devil too, as every single time I’m trying to listen to music quietly, the damn Facebook demons lurch into my sphere of consciousness field-marshalling me into sharing my playlists with my Facebook friends.
Well, what if I don’t want to? What if I’ve already told you 500 times that I’m perfectly happy keeping my playlists to myself? Can’t they just leave me alone?
And then there’s Hulu, who is now also in on the act, relentlessly insisting every time I watch one of my guilty-pleasure celebrity chef / reality TV programs that it would be so much fun for me to ‘Share this with my Facebook Friends’. Don’t they understand? I’m ashamed that I love the culinary glitz of Top Chef Masters or Masterchef and the expletive-ridden Chef Ramsay (let’s not even mention my penchant for America’s Next Top Model) so much. I don’t want to share my embarrassing TV programming choices with my 9734 Facebook friends.
It is just so damn infuriating that they simply refuse to get the hint.
Well, I say to you: Get The Hint: I. Don’t. Want. To. Share my music/TV/or Anything with Anyone on Facebook Ever Again.
And now, don’t even get me started on Twitter…