Everybody Join Facebook!

(Then I Can Drop Out Of Society Without Lifting A Finger)

by Bill Tuomala

I don't like knowing people

I don't like people knowing about me

- Matthew Sweet

There's been a lot of hype bounced around about Facebook lately. It has topped MySpace as the most popular social networking website, which is no surprise given MySpace's absolutely brutal graphics and its annoying habit of instantly blasting songs on your computer that you had no intention of listening to. I don't mind hype about websites, after all I’m in my forties and nobody expects me to know what the likes of Twitter are anyway (and I don't.) But Facebook isn't just a website or a social networking tool, it's apparently become some sort of cult that has somehow vastly improved upon the brainwashing abilities of the likes of Scientology and Amway. Anybody who is involved with it has decided that you must be part of it also. To which I automatically think: Yeah right, me join something. The cult members also tell you that you'll connect with people. Me: Connect with people. Yep, that's right up my alley. To be honest, there's a few social connections in my life that I wouldn't mind putting on the waiver wire. Not to mention that for every charm I exhibit in my public personality, I double it in cleverness in avoiding social connections. I have devised schemes, excuses, schedules, and ruses all to avoid people. I'm not exactly in the social connections business.

A trusted friend told me that Facebook "swirls your past back at you in ferocity as names and faces fly out of the nooks and crannies." I currently don't have that great of a plus/minus rating in reuniting with people from my past, so why take a chance on making this worse? Nobody in my inner circle is on Facebook, nobody in my inner circle cares about Facebook, nor do they mention it. If I end up joining Facebook and log in every day and see a bunch of non-inner-circle mugs on my screen, I will likely do what my pal Robbie speculates is my destiny: Grab my portable typewriter, head for a mountain cabin, and start composing that manifesto.

And let's not forget the joy involved in breaking off from former coworkers who I barely tolerated when I worked with them. To wit – I 'm self-employed. When I tell this to people, their first reaction is usually something like: "That must be great, you're your own boss and get to set your own schedule." To which I usually point at the jeans and teeshirt I’m wearing and say: "Yep, and this is the dress code." What I don't say is how I truly feel: The best thing about self-employment is NO REGULAR CO-WORKERS! I don't see the same people day after day, hence they don't get on my nerves and it all works out for the best. And there are former coworkers out there that I absolutely want and need to avoid. Why join Facebook and risk exposure? Not being on Facebook brings back the glee of sneaking out the back door and heading for the City Center food court for lunch when the office decided to have a potluck on a Friday.

Over the years, I've used a line while at parties. I pull up a chair in a corner somewhere and say: "I'm through mingling, I'm going to let the party come to me." Why join Facebook when the only long-lost soul I want to connect with is that since-fired cocktail waitress I so adore that worked at the local dive bar? Why get a Facebook account when anyone looking for me can google my name and get my contact info on the first result? I'm not a mingler. I'm going to pull up a chair and let the Internet party come to me.

Exiled on Main Street #45

Exiled on Main Street