Tag Archives: social circles

Further Thoughts On Social Networking

I recently published a post about my motivations for deleting my Twitter account.  In that post, I mentioned that I had some bones to pick with Facebook, but I was saving them for a future entry.

Well, this is that entry.

I have a real love/hate relationship with Facebook.  I’ve talked about this a little bit in my stand-up performances.  It has its benefits, but it also has its downfalls.  Facebook is actually worse than Twitter in various ways (including those that drove me to delete my Twitter page), but I felt like I could sacrifice my Twitter profile in spite of the necessity of promoting my stand-up comedy.  Facebook, on the other hand, is a necessary evil.  I can’t not have one in this day and age.  I do love it because it makes promoting my stand-up SO much easier, and it is a good way to keep in touch with geographically distant friends.  But there are several things regarding Facebook that I feel the need to discuss.

First, my profile (the link to which can be found on the right side of this blog).  As of this writing, I have roughly 700 friends on Facebook, which is a complete lie.  I don’t have 700 friends.  Do you have 700 friends?  Who the fuck has 700 friends?  If I’m being generous, I have maybe 10 actual friends.  Who are the other 690?  I don’t know.  I couldn’t even make up 700 fake names if I tried.

I’ll tell you about something I did the other day.  Maybe you’ve experienced it, too.  I was browsing around random profiles on Facebook, and then I stumbled upon someone who only had 17 friends.  Have you ever had that moment where you find someone like that on Facebook, and your first reaction is, “What a fuckin’ loser THIS guy is!  He’s only got 17 friends?!  Hey, all 942 of my bullshit friends: look at this fuckin’ loser over here with only 17 friends!  How does he live, man?!”  How does he live?  Well, for starters: he fucking LIVES.  He’s not sitting around on Facebook all day acquiring friends.  He’s being realistic with his social circles.  If we were all realistic with our social circles, we’d all have 17 friends, too.

Of course, Facebook encourages social networking.  Whatever the hell that is.  It’s a bullshit phrase.  Social networking is basically the online equivalent of passing someone on the street and going, “Hey.”  But Facebook encourages finding new people to connect with online.  For instance, one of the features they have for finding new friends is a page called People You May Know.  Personally, I think the page should have a different name: People You’ve Never Fuckin’ Heard Of.  Because that’s all I ever get.  Every time I go to that page, I find myself asking, “Who the fuck are you people?!”  Sometimes I’ll go to the person’s profile, and it will say we have five mutual friends.  Then I’ll click on the five mutual friends and go, “Who the fuck are these people, too?!”  How can I possibly know you when I don’t know the people I know, who also know you, you know?

That’s the thing that bugs me the most about Facebook: none of us know anybody.  Everyone has hundreds of friends that they don’t talk to; that they will probably NEVER talk to.  I once got a message from a guy whom I had one or two classes with in high school.  We weren’t good friends back then, and I don’t recall us ever really talking that much.  But this guy sent me a message saying, “Hey man, you wanna get together sometime and catch up?”

And I thought, “Catch up?  Dude, we didn’t BEGIN.”  What exactly are we catching up from when we never even got started?  Let’s say, for the hell of it, that we DID end up getting together somewhere.  The moment in the conversation where I say, “Excuse me, I gotta go to the restroom,” and then run out the front door—that’s called speeding ahead.  And I call it that to keep him from catching up to me.

Facebook, like its other social networking brethren, is ridiculously addictive and time-consuming.  I spend too much time on Facebook.  I’m trying to curb my use, but it’s especially hard for me because I talk to people more on Facebook than I do elsewhere.  I know that’s kinda sad but it’s the truth, because I lead a pretty solitary existence as it is.  A lot of people spend too much time on there without realizing it.  Here’s an easy way to determine if you spend too much time on Facebook: have you ever ALMOST picked up a hitchhiker, just to have someone to talk to?  If you’ve ever had that moment, then maybe you should stop spending so much time on Facebook.

Although, to be fair, that would make a KILLER status update.

Until next time,

–Riley