23 December 2010

On Facebook, Part II: Daily Life

Now as I described a few weeks ago, the Social Networking Site known as Facebook as slimed its way into our lives through exclusivity, addictiveness and from facilitating the ability to stalk each other. There are more subtle ways it has affected our every day life, however, which I'll discuss today. I cannot understate the ubiquity of Facebook to the Millennial Generation and younger. Facebook is the site we check whenever we open up the Internet, it's the last one we check when we leave, and dammit, it's about everything we check in between. I'd like to discuss in a bit today some Unspoken Facebook Laws that we've developed in our new little society. But first -

"I could really use a friend right now."
"Okay dude, I'm here for you."
"Okay, then get on Facebook and fertilize my crops."
Apparently hundreds of millions of people actually spend a majority of their time on Facebook playing Third-Party Application Games. That's right, Hundreds of Millions of People. Personally, I believe this to be insane and idiotic. The kinds of games on Facebook are needy and addictive with very little reward. You bother all of your barely close associates to join your fake Mafia game or grow Farm Cows. It's bizarrely time-consuming and not really that cool I mean, at least in World of Warcraft (2004) you can get high levels and explode some shit and fight Dragons. All Farmville is good for is getting big cows. Hip-hoo-fucking-ray.

But a discussion of the daily influence of Facebook would be remiss without its mention. Somehow people have literally died over this stuff. It's sick. It's insane. I tend to think about how the Industrial Revolution allowed for the conglomeration and expansion of farming techniques, freeing up larger portions of the population to partake in more specialised fields, eventually broadening our societal and cultural spectrum, allowing for greater leisure time, cash flow and sense of independence that provided the Capitalist foundation for this great nation. Now we spend all that leisure time pretending to do what our ancestors toiled over. That's not really a reason to hate Farmville, but it's still a monumental waste of time. It's easy and addictive enough, however, to catch a huge amount of the population's eyes, which helps to broaden Facebook's demographic as well as keep folks on the site longer, increasing ad value, which all goes into Zuckerberg's pocket.

Am I the only one who thinks of these things?

Thank Zuck for 'It's Complicated'

Let's talk about Relationships. Now, all those people spending 8 hours a day on Facebook who aren't raising E-Goats are either stalking ex-lovers (and pounding meat to them) or stalking complete strangers (and pounding meat to them). Facebook has become the perfect Mastubatory Warm-Up to a Hardcore Porn Session. You've done it, c'mon.

Facebook might as well be named the "Stalker Revolution" rather than the "Social Revolution." It's creepy- now I'll share a true story with you, I was at the bank waiting for the Teller in a waiting room (why the hell does it take so long to give people your money?) and there was this cute girl there. I made some small talk and she was clearly not interested. On my way out I glanced at the sign-in sheet and saw her name. Within three minutes of Facebook time I had found her profile, including where she went to school, basic interests and some sexy pics. Now, the point of this is really that Facebook is able to replace any kind of Human Interaction (wasn't that Zuck's dream?). Now, I'm not stalking this girl, I forgot her name the day after, but if you really try to use Facebook for shit like that it's frightening how easy it is. This is all completely private, socially shameless and nearly undetectable.

Stalking aside, Facebook has changed the way we take Real Relationships. To be clear, you're not really dating a person (or married to them) until you've declared it on Facebook. It's bizarre how seriously some people take this. The same is true for friendships, really. Facebook has become the most basic of all human interaction for any form of relationship. It's insulting if you're not someone's Facebook Friend, because it's such a low level of relationship. I'm friends with people I hung out with at College Parties at different colleges from my own six years ago. But fuck, I gotta now how they're dinners were from Tuesday night. This is fucked up.

And truly, thank Zuck for "It's Complicated." Finally a way to describe that "sort-of" fooling around relationship you have in College (and real life). And the Poke. Hell yeah that's an easy way to flirt. And if you do it to a member of the same sex, what an incredible joke right, eh eh? Shit. That vid above is real old by the way, some of the Facebook Standards are a bit dated, but you get the just of it (actually it harkens back to a time I described in Part I when Facebook was just for College Kids. This video shows why that was awesome). To take this further though, our lives have begun to fit around the confines of Facebook rather than the other way around.

Hagel Zuckerberg, Besitzer von Leben

What we must always keep in mind then, what we seriously must always think of is the simple fact that Facebook is not a faceless entity. It is not some arbitrary spot on the Internet where we can place our lives. I don't mean our basic contact info, our interests (which are trolled and searched by search engine companies like Google and Yahoo, formed into data and sold to commercial companies such as Amazon, among others. But you knew that) or pictures of us barfing at prom. We place our lives here, our communication with our species, our knowledge of each other, how we relate to each other and how we judge and think of each other. Facebook is everything.

It is not arbitrary. It comes from what a drunken Harvard sophomore thought was cool. Zuckerberg invented the interface, the books/movies/quotes sections we fill with our dreams and almost every other foundational concept. We've got to learn not to mindlessly accept his standard o social interaction and remain vigilant towards our own best interest. Now, this could just be angry liberal bitching but there is a good degree of independence lost whenever we log on.

So can't we just scrap it?

I've thought about this. I really wrestle with the issue of whether or not deleting my profile would prove enlightening or just incredibly douchey. I've had friends who get rid of their accounts. What ends up happening is that they're not invited to parties or events, they aren't communicated with (how did phones become such a hassle? Texting is still basically Nigga Technology). Although to be fair, if you love the ladies, by default you love Cetera. Is my point getting through the pop culture? You're a douche if you delete Facebook. No one will talk to you. We don't have a choice anymore. If you want to truly enlighten yourself, in a live-in-an-ashram-in-India-sort of way, sure, get rid of Facebook. The rest of us will still be poking.

I'll leave you with one last anecdote here to consider, which is our future. I know a girl on Facebook who went on got herself preggers. What's fucked is that this kid's life, from conception (Wall Post from Random Dude: "Hey, fun night last night, so glad we didn't use rubbers!") to how everyone else found out (Wall Post from Friends: "Hey just heard the news, Congrats! Boy or Girl?!") to live status updates in delivery room to finally, picks of huge tummy then baby child, this kid's life will be on Facebook. Let that motherfucker sink in. This kid's life from Conception is on chronicled on Facebook, all stored on the Harddrives in Zuckerberg's underground mansion.

I think it's time for an Oppenheimer quote.

Here are some quick links for further reading, because you should think about this more:

Twitter, Facebook and Social Activism - New Yorker

OMG: brains can’t handle all our Facebook friends

Film Version of Zuckerberg Divides Generations

Will the Revolution Be Tweeted? Striking the Right Balance with Social Media

One last note, I had lost the links for a few of these articles but I know I had posted a few of them on Facebook so I trolled through my old Stati to find them. One of Facebook's many ironies. I'll also post this article on Facebook. Follow us!

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