Friday, June 1, 2012

Goodnight Facebook! And So Can You!!

Subtle opening sentence to draw the reader in: Facebook is a worthless pile of shit.

It's crappily designed and hard to use. Sure. That's a fact. (I have a BFA in graphic design so I am right about this and you are wrong if you disagree--that's how college works.) But worse than that--far worse than that--is that it is insidiously designed. With so many little wormholes, hooks and tentacles all beautifully engineered to keep you right there in a neat place so it can suck out information and sell it to corporations.

My thoughts here are not original. Someone wrote this exact same thing probably two weeks after Facebook became really popular. It's easy and natural to wanna compare it to MySpace but I never got that. It has much more in common with the DHS or the NSA or the DMV than it does with MySpace. An SATs analogy: Facebook is to MySpace - as the DMV is to MTV's Pimp My Ride; cars are prevalently involved in both but that's about it. I could go on about this, but it's boring and mainly aesthetic. In one sentence: I prefer mediums with at least a moderate amount of wiggle room as it pertains to one's ability to exude personal expression in whatever way they see fit and I rather not prefer Orwellian hellholes that horde and profit off of the corporate idea of personality while creating a vapid, brain-dead population which feeds off of the bogus idea of professional worth and hierarchy, and kills our culture in the process. That's all.

I recently tried to 'be on' Facebook. Lasted a couple of days doing like a parody thing of which this screencap is now the only reminder. I just deleted all my posts. It wasn't a relief. It was just me throwing out a shitty piece of art or starting over a song that wasn't working. It wasn't a big deal. It was nothing.

My hope in writing a few words here is to maybe inspire others. And this is something I'm not too comfortable with. In general, I do not want to be an influence in terms of how people do things. I am against the idea that my thoughts are somehow 'better' than your thoughts in regards to everyday life. They are not. Do you smoke crack? Good for you. Do you eat a lot of broccoli? Terrific. So I have some trepidation in publishing this stupid blog post.

But I really think you should delete your Facebook. It's actually the only personal advice I feel remotely comfortable giving / qualified to give.

If you don't immediately delete your Facebook account, at least start using it in a completely anarchic fashion. Granted this might be difficult for reasons I completely understand. So I would suggest deletion, then creation of a phony/pseudonymous account. More on this in a moment.

First allow me to address reasons why you CAN do this. There is really only one thing to discuss. And that's the fact that You will not lose touch with people. This is the #1 defense of Facebook usage and it is bullshit. All the people you need to be in touch with will still be there post-Facebook. They will be there in a way that is every much as real and relevant if not more so. Some of them who decide to stay on Facebook will feel resentment towards you but this will be fleeting. The people who you only connect with via the pages of Facebook are not people you need in your life. You will probably find, after some time away from Facebook, that they are not even people you WANT in your life.

Right now, you know some information about people. It's all just data, very cold, hard data. You know where that girl from high school, who you hated, works and what TV shows she likes. You also know the workplace and TV show preferences of that one guy who you were sorta friends with in college but always really liked and kinda feel like maybe you should have stayed in touch better but, shit, things happen. These relationships are completely meaningless. They only exist as information, not emotions. Yes, we are adult human animals and have plenty of room in our brains for this shit but jesus christ think of the children! They belittle real relationships and strain our collective sense of culture. So much do they "strain our collective sense of culture" that I doubt "collective sense of culture" is a phrase that means anything to anybody. Just some asshole with a shitty blog who thinks he's smart bitching about Facebook. Let me phrase it another way: Your being on Facebook is the equivalent of when Vince Vaughn's character in Old School says "Do I sound like a happy guy to you Frankie? There's my wife. Now, see that: always smiling, hi honey, judging, watching. Look at the baby, look at the baby."

Facebook has turned your life into that baby. And baby's got a dirty diaper. Time to make a change, I think.

I googled anti-Facebook and--predictably--got a shit ton of results. This is not something I can get down with. Like, at all: "The Anti-Facebook League of Intelligentsia may be defined thus: an alliance of rational individuals who form an artistic, social, and political vanguard in their united stand against Facebook." Fuck you. Only some sort of true asshole joins a club like that. Its members make your average Teen Mom-watching, Facebook-obsessed tween girl seem downright dignified. I'm sure there are other groups equally as gay as The Anti-Facebook League of Intelligentsia but I'm not gonna waste my time trying to find them. All I really wanted was a jpeg of a Facebook logo with a red X through it. Remember: There are no high horses here. Only medium-sized, friendly ponies, and everybody gets to take a ride.

So what next? Excellent question.

There are two ways of looking at it. The first and very bleak outlook is that there will never be a Post-Facebook Era (or you know, in our lifetimes or before the Zombie Apocalypse or whathaveyou), that Facebook will continue to dominate the realms it currently controls in a similar fashion for an unknowable number of years.

The other, far more unlikely scenario, imo, is that there will be a Post-Facebook Era. Or I should say Post-Social-Networking Era cuz a Facebook clone would probably solve next to nothing. But I can't really speak to this because it is a future event that I just made up, and this is a non-fiction essay duh.

So working with the angle that Facebook isn't going away, maybe we need to address this in a different way. We need to be more like The Mighty Ducks' Flying-V formation and less like the beginning of the movie when they totally sucked at hockey. I still fully endorse you just plain deleting your profile, though. Please, by all means, do this. Do this now. But most of us aren't "creatively inclined" (cursed?) and what I'm about to propose is not something most people would find very entertaining. Entertainment is the 'point' of life btw; did you not know that?

What I have done is turn my Facebook account into a portal to re-post classic works of literature in their entirety, a chapter at a time, as status updates. Today I posted the first chapter of Moby Dick (Like?). On Monday I will post chapter two. And so on. After Moby Dick? Ulysses. After Ulysses? War & Peace. And so on.

All of these classic books are available as online texts via a simple Google search; feel free to play along at home.

My account is a public one and I have no friends. I don't expect anyone to read these novels disguised as status updates at all. That isn't the point. In truth, I've never even read the three books I've mentioned here; even more fitting that I am putting them on Facebook word-for-word.

You're thinking, why do this then? What's the point, you big buffoon?

There is no point.

My response to Facebook, which is a pointless entity, is to do something equally as pointless with it / on it / (to it?). I am a pink swastika. I am the word nigga. I am every bad thing ever that has been turned upside down instead of destroyed.

Imagine a world in which every one of Facebook's 500 zillion users stopped 'networking' and started to get real. The Real World, Wednesdays at 10 on MTV. Something like that.

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