One of my friends once likened Facebook to a refrigerator before grocery day. You keep opening it over and over again hoping to find something good, but usually just walk away hungry, disgusted or with a stomach ache. I find that to be a pretty accurate description of my Facebook feed. I check that stupid thing to an almost OCD-like degree, and never quite find what I’m looking for. And now Facebook has launched the new Subscribe Button, allowing users to follow the updates of any public user. Do you think this will lead to even more spoiled leftovers, condiments, and half-full pickle jars?
My personalTwitter is much the same. I’m not exactly sure how or why I ended up with so many followers other than the little known fact that I pretty much follow everyone back. Except spammers. That includes the Hormel Food Corporation. I tried SPAM once. It tasted fine, but I was sick to my stomach all night.
I barely tweet. Not much of what happens within my trajectory really seems tweet worthy. Like the time I was stuck driving behind that horse’s ass. I’m pretty sure I was the only one who found that even slightly amusing.
Still, I feel such a strange sense of loyalty to my personal social networking accounts, especially Facebook and Twitter. It’s sort of like the loyalty a dog feels to his master with lots of slobbering, panting, and an occasional poop in the shoe. They feed and stroke me just enough that I can’t bring myself to break through the fence and run free.
Today I read an article about a woman named Alexandra Tobias who was charged with shaking her 3-month-old baby to death because he interrupted her game of FarmVille. According to the Florida Times-Union article, “She told investigators she became angry because the baby was crying while she was playing a computer game called FarmVille on the Facebook social-networking website.”
It’s unfathomable to me how anyone could possibly hurt or kill their child. I can’t even bear the idea of seeing my son with a skinned knee, let alone being the one to cause him any pain or suffering.
While I’m glad Ms. Tobias admitted her crime, I find it slightly reprehensible that she is blaming a Facebook application for her break with reality. Perhaps she would have found child rearing more acceptable if — like the South Korean couple convicted in May of starving their child while raising a virtual baby — she were raising a virtual calf. I have never been much a fan of FarmVille, (the frequent updates from Facebook users about their farms are more than a little annoying), but there is clearly some deeper issue at play with this young woman than a deep-seeded devotion to sowing the seed on FarmVille.
My coworker and I were discussing the layers of beurocracy and obstacles a person must overcome in order to adopt a child or become a foster parent. But any woman with a fertile womb and a virile partner can pop out a baby and call herself mom. I certainly don’t want to infringe on anyone’s personal freedoms, but somehow it just seems wrong that the people who really want a child have to jump through so many hoops, while those who can barely handle the responsibility of a Chia Pet just have to jump into bed.
Oh how I struggle with this decision, even as I write this. We’ve had so many good times. But I think it’s safe to say what we both know: Lately we’ve just grown apart. I feel like I don’t even know you anymore.
It was fun at first. The relentless poking. The constant checking for new notifications. The long hours we spent together late into the night. I could hardly wait until morning to see you again.
But then you started violating of my privacy. Shoving your agenda in my face. Bombarding me with useless information. Distracting me from actual reality. Occasionally, you bragged about parties I wasn’t invited to. Often you made me feel inferior to others for the dreams I never acheived. Or ashamed for sharing the dreams I did.
I wanted to make it work. Really, I did. I thought I just needed some space. I tried spending my free time with Twitter. I even gave Four Square a shot.
But the other Social Networks couldn’t fill the gap. They made me feel empty inside.
That’s why I’m breaking up with you. To find myself again. I know this won’t make me popular with family and friends who think we should stay together. But it’s the right decision for me. This is my chance to live my life to the fullest again, in the moment, and in the real world; Not with my face buried in my smart phone factory-loaded Facebook App, lightly stalking your News Feeds.