Sunday, September 26, 2010

Might as Well Facebook It, You're Addicted...

Queen once said, “Is this the real life, is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide no escape from reality.”

Those lyrics define me. My actual existence is spent primarily attempting to validate my online existence. In fact, I’m no longer online, I’m actually “on-life” instead. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, Skype, BB Messenger, Google Chat…I got them all.

Well, at least a version of me. The one I want you to get to know.

There is a new movie about Facebook called The Social Network. For me, Facebook more accurately serves as the Antisocial Network. It is a guise for me to feign camaraderie while remaining socially aloof.

Currently, I have 441 friends on Facebook and between you and me I wouldn’t say hello to three quarters of them if I saw them in the grocery store. In fact, I doubt I would even recognize more than half of them. And yet at the anonymous box social they call the interwebs we are all great friends. It gives me the excuse of being connected without the hassle of actually staying in touch. All I have to do is track some key status updates.

And I’m not the only culprit. You are getting just as bad.

Instead of really staying in contact and maintaining close relationships with the people that matter most we group everyone into an easy to manage folder of friends. That way we can advertise our blogs, work on fake farms, announce our weekend plans, complain about work, mass communicate on politics, poke, tag, invite and notify… all from the relative safety of our own space.

We live our lives vicariously through everyone else’s status. We pretend to live well, in hopes that every so often we will do something status-worthy. It truly is narcissism at its finest: Everyone telling their own story, nobody listening.

Here’s one: I recently went to lunch with a friend. As we waited for our meal we spoke superficially to each other about whatever while keeping our eyes glued to our respective mobile devices. While we were at lunch I posted something on my Facebook page and he in turn commented on it. All during lunch. Crazy, right?

Even more strange, my post and his response had nothing to do with the conversation we were conducting at lunch and neither of us mentioned it after the fact. It was so bizarre that afterward I considered tweeting the whole incident.

My wife and I no longer ask about one another’s day. Instead we ask if the other saw what Brian wrote on Facebook or what Liz tweeted.

Try this game. Next time you are in a meeting look around at all the furrowed brows squinting at their Blackberries. The intent is to make everyone else feel we are so busy and important that not only are we only half interested in the current meeting, we are taking care of business going on outside of the meeting as well.

It’s a lie. We aren’t sending emails or looking up important quarterly numbers or whatever. Watch the thumbs. Two thumbs means a game, like Bejeweled or Brickbreaker. One thumb up and down is definitely browsing the web, probably looking at trailers for sale on Craigslist or reading the latest from the AP wire. One thumb side to side means picture viewing and daydreaming about last weekend.

See, we Blackberry-iPhone-Droid users have it all figured it out. Our Facebook-Twitter-LinkedIn-Messenger-MySpace-Skype-Yahoo addiction only makes us appear more connected. In truth our addictions simply widen our bubble, making us less accessible. We are the eccentric recluses of the digital age. We hide publicly, so involved, so everywhere at once that we blend in and eventually…we disappear.

Sorry to quote Queen again, but “I want to break free”. Facebook is taking a back seat to my real life. If you are reading this, chances are you followed my link from Facebook. I’ll stop doing that. It wastes space on your wall. If you come back to the blog on your own, thanks, we love having you here. If, however, you don’t notice anything missing from your “on-life” and forget to come back…I understand.

1 comment:

  1. I'd love to come back, but it's just so hard to work another read into my on-work day. I'll do my best, though.