Perhaps I'm simply too old (and bitter) to fully appreciate all that Facebook has to offer, but I've come to realize what a load of codswollop the social networking site really is.
It would seem I'm not alone, either. Maclean's recently reported that more than 1.5 million Canadians had deactivated their Facebook accounts earlier this summer. Having said that, I'm hardly a "Billy no-mates" when it comes my gaggle of Facebook friends (I've been hovering around 300 for the past year or so), but apart from my inner sanctum of devout "commentators," it's all become a bit lacklustre and I'm increasingly jaded when it comes to what I like to call "FakeBook."
Perhaps, after bringing the mundane to the masses, it's simply a case of too much information. Not only has the curtain been pulled back, but we get to see what the wizard is doing. Every. Hour. Of. The. Day.
Do we really need to see 376 photos of "Georgia's Dirty 30 Party," filled with enough drunken duck-faced divas to last a life time? Or do we really want to know that "(you) just cleaned the grout in the shower and now it's time for a sleepy sleep!" Or that "(you're) burning the steaks on the BBQ, LOL!" Perhaps they wouldn't be burning if you were actually in front of the barbecue, instead of telling your Facebook friends about it? My personal favourites are the status updates that involve obscure song lyrics/inspirational quotes/ words of wisdom/statements of ambiguous vagueness. Is that pithy quote from a long-dead Norwegian philosopher a cry for help? Are you feeling introspective and thoughtful and need a hug? Or are you simply really good at 'cutting and pasting' from www.inspirationalsonglyricsandquotes.com?
I used to worry about offending someone if I turned down their friend request, even if I had no clue as to who they were, or how I knew them (I've always had an overwhelming need to please everyone). Case in point: I bumped into a close friend recently, and was introduced to their co-worker, who we'll call "Tom." My social interaction with Tom consisted of five words: "Hey, nice to meet you" and a handshake.
Apparently Tom mistook our brief encounter as the start of a beautiful friendship and upon returning to work, immediately sent off a "friend request." Dude, seriously? I'm probably never going to see you again in my life, but apparently that was enough for Tom. "Ignore!" Does this make me a bad person? I know some people "collect" Facebook friends as some sort of popularity status symbol, but what's the point really? Not to sound cynical or harsh, but if we stopped hanging out in grade nine, there was probably a reason why. After reconnecting with hundreds of friends on Facebook, I've promised, and been promised, more beers on more patios than probably exist in Hamilton and Toronto combined! I don't have enough time to see my "real life" friends, let alone get together with somebody I went to junior kindergarten with!
Same goes for group requests. No, I don't really want to become a "fan" of your cousin's tanning salon in Dubuque or your friend's limousine company in Niagara Falls, or join a group dedicated to an obscure '80s British New Romantic band that nobody has heard of. (Actually, I take that back. I belong to quite a few of those Facebook groups, and have even started a few myself. Hey, do you want to join my Culture Club group? Please? So maybe that's not really a good example, but you get my point!)
And if you're thinking, "Well, if Facebook bores you that much, don't use it," believe me, I've tried. I "deactivated" my account, only to have them arbitrarily reactivate it a couple of months later. Of course, by then, you're curious to see what everyone has been up to, and log on, ostensibly to have a quick nose about. And that's when you realize, everything is pretty much the same, your friends are still "cleaning grout," "burning steaks, LOL," "knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door" and think that "life is a voyage that's homeward bound (Herman Melville)." Oh Facebook.