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Dispatches from the Wasteland: The Shocking Giddiness of Unregulated and Inappropriate Social-Media Euphoria

Note: This one is from the archives, and it goes way back, nearly ten years. It’s the fifth blog post I ever shot out of my piehole (please use that imagery however you see fit, it’s my subversive gift to you) and it details a bit of personal madness from that time. I haven’t changed a word, even though I yearned to do so with every fiber of my CYA OCD. After all, in order to fully understand the roots of the pathology, you have to see the masochistic flower in full bloom.

For the record, I rarely spend more than a few minutes a day on Facebook these days, if even that. I mostly do drive-bys to make sure one of my family members or friends hasn’t done something insipid that might lead to a reporter knocking on my door at a really inconvenient time. Proceed forthwith…

 

Okay, this Facebook thing is fascinating. (I know, I’m late to the party, I’m totally uncool. I grew up with relatives that still had outhouses. With that kind of foundation, there are many mountains to climb.) But I have become something of an addict. And I must confess my sins.

First, the sheer drawing power of this beckoning magnet is a little frightening. I find myself racing to the PC at every opportunity, checking to see what anyone might have done anywhere on one of my pages. Mary Lou took the same quiz that I did! OMG! Agnetha posted on my wall about planting recycled trees in Lower Upper Windthrust Park. Hurray! Horst added a deep and meaningful comment to my photo of the flaming dildo. Woohoo! (Note to self: Might want to hide some of your photos in an obscure folder that you can’t find easily. And look up Horst’s phone number.)

And this available ability to have update notifications sent to your cell phone? I am refusing to think of even going there, at least at this point. I wouldn’t be able to concentrate. I wouldn’t get anything done. I couldn’t even go to the bathroom and focus on the task at hand. Sleep would not be an option. And yet people DO this. Good gawd.

Second, I am a Facebook whore. Freely admit it, can’t deny it, no shame in my game. I have sent friend requests to a few people that I don’t really remember from my high school, but their name kind of rings a bell, good or bad I’m not sure. I’ve sent an invite to a couple folks on OTHER friends’ lists that I don’t know, but I thought their posts were interesting and fun. These are not federal crimes, no one will be water-boarding me now that Obama is in office, but I have transgressed nonetheless.

But I can at least say, in my defense, that I’m not like some of the TRUE whores in the Facebook universe. You have 1264 friends? No, you don’t. You have 1264 people on your list that accepted you because they had no clue who you were but were being polite in this odd world where, since most users have restrictions set up, you can’t really find out anything about the people who sent a request until you accept the request. Then these people are screwed (see next paragraph). This is how we end up with someone named “Buford Chumphead” in Tinynut, AL having 732 people named “John” on his list. So, I’m not the slutty cheerleader. I’m the slutty librarian.

Thirdly, let’s talk about the “Uh Oh” factor. This is when you send an invite, they accept, and then you check out their pages only to find that you have opened a hell portal to someone that you would NEVER want to be associated with in real life. They belong to the “Fred Phelps Is Jesus II” group. They have wedding photos that include shotguns and farm animals. They are one of the Obama haters that can’t speak intelligently about why they hate him (concerns I would listen to, because I have concerns of my own), they just spew hate that has no basis in reality and is instead based solely on the unavoidable fact that Republicans/Right-Wingers/Un-Christians cannot accept the fact that they lost the race. You didn’t win, people. Deal with it. And now it’s time to suck it up and support a president that has the unenviable task of rectifying 8 years of criminal, inhumane activity that has devastated this country. Swallow the bitter pill and move on. There are more important things at stake than your pride.

Again with me spiking on the Right-Wingers. It happens. I just do not understand how a person who waves God on his banner can do things that are so ungodly. Do these people not listen to what is spilling out of their mouths and compare it to scripture? To reality? Seriously.

And now back to a happier place.

Finally, the elephant in the room about Facebooking: Accessing Facebook when you’ve been drinking, and actually making life decisions while doing so. There should at least be a Lifetime movie about this starring Tori Spelling Bertinelli Baxter. This activity can lead to so many bad choices. Making comments on photos that are no longer funny once the alcohol clears your system. Joining obscure groups that result in 37 daily emails about the genocide in Frangonia. (Where the hell IS that country, exactly? What pictures did they post that moved me to action?) Signing up for Causes that don’t make sense in the light of day. (“Society for the Preservation of Lip Gloss”? How did this catch my interest?) And the ultimate: Sending Friend Invites to people that you have nothing in common with, just because your addled brain clicked here and clicked there and found a name that you kinda remember from that one summer in Band Camp.

The madness must stop. But I don’t know if I have that strength.

“Hi, my name is Brian, and I’m a Face-aholic.”

“Hi Brian. Welcome to the group.”

“Thank you. Really do appreciate it. Do I smell donuts?”

Peace out.

 

Originally published in “The Sound and the Fury” on 04/28/09. As mentioned, no changes made to the actual body of the text. More trivia: When this was first unleashed, I called this thing “The Fifth Post” because, well, it was my fifth post. I’ve learned a few things about responsible blogging behavior since then. Not enough, but I’m getting there…

 

25 replies »

  1. Never Facebook while drinking! I learned that one – realized I was actually REALLY annoyed at a lot of my “friends” and unfriended them. Then I had to re-request them as friends the next day 🙂 And the extreme right wingers – yes I have a couple of those. I am passed the unfriending thing, I just do the unfollow thing. Otherwise I don’t think I could look at my feed without covering my eyes and peeking every now and again 🙂 Fun post!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I WAS 384 days in Recovery, then I took that road trip and fell back in. Now I’m slowly weaning myself back off the evil FB. I have all sorts of people over there including a great whacking bunch that I actually know and who actually know me. In REAL life. :O !! Having people you actually know be your friends on FB can lead to odd looks from other church members because they saw you put a meme up on your page that had the word ‘hell’ in it and a bare knee. So obviously 52 of the 89 that are church ‘friends’ will unfriend you because you’ve fallen into ‘sin’ and are now unworthy of that pseudo friendship. Side note: Do NOT ask any of that 52 for a favor EVER again or you’ll get long frosty silences and “Who ARE you again?” remarks, even though at one time you were best buds and you made some crafty church art together. The other group that actually knows me is my family. They are all over FB because most of them are under 25 and don’t know any better (yet). But my siblings and their wives are also on there and I get snotty emails from the one whom I’ve dubbed the “Trump devot-ee”, because I post things like: Have you lost your ass? Look to the White House. I think it took up residence there.” and stuff like that. Makes sibling turn a real interesting shade of purple too. The other one is a gun nut and since I’m not (I don’t care if folks have guns or want guns or whatever the heck is the fuss about it all, I just don’t want one and I don’t see why everyone wants an AK-47 to prove they are a ‘real man’. Some things need explaining I guess), I tend to put up memes in favor of gun control and sensible ownership of guns and so forth and that sibling is the one sending snotty emails and turning purple. Yes, we’re just your average American family. So what I determined to do about FB is only go there very very occasionally and avoid getting into any discussions about anything, because that’s how they suck you in over there IMHO. But the good people I’ve met on line worry sometimes and so I go to reassure them I’m still breathing. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Now where’s the doughnuts? I was promised doughnuts!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • You basically could have ghost-written this entire post, as I am so on board with so much of what you shared. There was a time when I had great fun with Facebook, as it was so enjoyable getting to reconnect with so many people that I had lost track of over the years. We laughed, we carried on, life was good. But then the ugliness started showing up.

      I guess there’s something about social media (the illusions of anonymity?) that allows some people to open up about things they should never open up, without any regard for how their words can affect other people. Maybe I’m just being naive, but there was a time when basic societal functioning meant that you kept your opinion to yourselves in situations where it wouldn’t do any good to show your ass. Don’t grease up the pig if nobody around you wants to catch it.

      Now? People just go on rampages that have no basis in decency or fact. How can a person write such hate-filled missives and not see those words for what they are? It just boggles me.

      And to see some of your own relatives doing it? Holy cow. I want to block them, but I also need to keep up with basic family developments because ain’t nobody writin’ letters anymore. So that mess just simmers and I stay away from Facebook for the most part, checking it briefly to make sure I’m not missing out on something important, family and friend-wise, and then I skedaddle. I do still make updates over there, but 97% of the updates are things I send from other platforms, hoping to lure the decent folk from the mess so they can join me in other places, such as Bonnywood.

      Okay, I’ve rambled too much and there was very little humor. Time to move on.

      P.S. Sadly, I ate the entire first batch of donuts myself, mainly whilst writing this response. I’ve just thrown another batch into the deep fryer. Hang tight.

      Like

  3. Hahaha. 🙂 Great post.

    I always found it kind of boring but I always also suspected that this degree of “sharing” would get a lot of people in trouble, humans being what they are. And then a few years ago when a friend’s daughter had trouble getting hired again as a teacher because of her fb history (an enterprising parent dug up some foolish juvenile stuff from when she was 14 and 15), I thought, yup, there it is, the dark side of Facebook. Enter the whole Russia/Trump bit, and I’m thinking wow, if we need proof that doing a thing just because you can is human idiocy at its primo best, here it is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We are in much agreement here. In this country, I get so tired of people running around and hollering about how the First Amendment gives them the right to say whatever they want to say. Yes, it does. But it does not protect you from facing the consequences of what you say. You can lose friends, you can lose your job, you can lose an election, and Russian trolls can put your URL on speed dial. Social media does not mean “say whatever the hell you want”. It means even more people can see what you say…

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Not sure I’m brave enough to unearth my 5th post, but pretty sure I was facebooking back then too. Like you, I’m rarely there anymore. Funny how our past obsessions wither and die? (Seems like we’d learn something from that.)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi. .My name is Carol. I am here to confess that I might be, maybe am, there’s a possibility, a slight chance, a sort of Facebook addict. Not wholeheaartedly, you understand. Just a tiny bit. Because I can. Because sometimes I need to vent, to comment where no man should comment, to express my views respectfully despite the fact that what I’d like to do is tell some of those people to go “f**k themselves”. But I don’t because I want to be respectful and I don’t want to give even a hint that I might not be any better than the current destroyer of our political system.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am greatly loving this comment. Despite the fact that we are both incredibly young, which we just discussed mere comments ago, one of the nicer things about gaining vintage is how much easier it becomes to make that slight shift from “polite reaction” to “f**k y*u”, as the latter means of expression is the only way to get the attention of clueless dolts. Perhaps by the time we reach 40, we might let go of all the etiquette baggage… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I only came for the donuts.

    FB is a tool, and I lock it in the shed mostly, with all the other useless stuff. I only have family and friends I actually know in real true life. It used to be good to share my blog posts, but alas now it does not. Sign of the times, eh? FB doesn’t want you to contaminate it with other social media – think it has an ego problem.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Agreed. Facebook is not what it pretends to be. It’s a data collection system that generates huge revenues by selling said data to the highest bidder. “Creating a supportive community” is far down on the list of company objectives, despite the PR spins they put out. I still share my blog posts over there, hoping to attract some interesting folks, but it rarely has any results…

      Now, the donut issue. Melanie has already claimed the next batch out of the deep fryer. I’ll pencil you in for the next round…. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I was very anti-FB, saw only bad. My partner had an account and I soon realised it was the only way to be involved in others lives. It was the only platform for contact they used. I don’t live near any family or my closest friends, so I joined. And then became addicted! It was fun, informative, educational, but most of all fun. I only connect with people I know in real life, but gradually we’ve all faded away. I found some people claustrophobic, liking every comment, my forever fear that I do that in the blogosphere or on Twitter! I still check in frequently and use it to plug my blog, to little avail as others equally find. I use it to highlight eco/humanitarian issues. And I’m not ashamed to say I love to see and love to post pictures of food. Drunken FB is always music videos. Lockwood in da house! Thankfully I’m more savvy now to the data mining element. I accept it’s a price to pay for the ‘free’ use of the platform, but avoid those quizzes that ask for your favourite colour, first pet’s name and bank card details! Loved this post. And although 10 years old, it’s all very relevant.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It sounds like we have the same current philosophy about Facebook activity. I share my blog posts (though I’m not sure why I bother; if I get two page views out of doing such it’s a good day), I might share my thoughts on progressive issues or injustices (perhaps getting a little pushy, but I am very passionate about such things), and I check to see who in my family might have had a baby (because it’s apparently far too much trouble to keep me personally in the loop.

      And I love “Lockwood in da house!”. I’m the same way. It’s a sure sign that I might have imbibed a bit if I start blasting Facebook with music videos and gushing about bands that haven’t done a thing since the 80s…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I used to be glued to Facebook back in university, especially the games. Since then I’ve pretty much abandoned it, which irritates some family members when they try to use it to get hold of me and I don’t reply for weeks on end! (I do have a phone, but apparently everyone uses Facebook Messenger these days…)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ugh, that Facebook Messenger functionality is truly annoying. I had to deactivate the functionality on my phone because I was getting too many pointless pings, so when I finally sign into Facebook on my laptop, there’s a pile of “urgent” messages that were sent days ago about nothing important…

      Liked by 1 person

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