When Facebook Jumped the Shark

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When I first logged onto Facebook it was so much fun. Reuniting in cyber-world with people who I thought I would never see again; getting “you look great” messages from old boyfriends, and confirming that “you know who” — who made my life hell in high school — has not, in fact, “aged well” were huge draws.

Like watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills or The Bachelor, the pure voyeurism of it all sucked me in like a coke addict; I couldn’t get enough — literally.

I would check my FB page a hundred times a day. Each time I was at a stoplight or in my car at pick-up I would check my page. What funny thing did Jen say today? The Schwartz family looks really happy; I wonder if they really are as they seem in their photos.  Really, is anyone that happy?

It was exciting — and made life as a suburban mommy seem a little less mundane.

I could talk with friends who roomed with me in boarding school, and catch up with people who knew me during my pseudo-hippie stage in Boston.

Time stopped (or at least I pretended it did) through Facebook. I could still feel like that 20-year-old who canvassed for Green Peace and dated a subway guitarist in Harvard Square.

In fact, I could even sneak a peak at that subway guitarist, right?  After all, that’s not wrong. It’s not like I’m gonna meet him for coffee … if only I remembered his name.

But then the fun began to dissipate. The “friends” I didn’t know began to wane and I started getting requests to be a “fan” things like Dial soap. WTF? Dial Soap.

People’s posts became really boring and seemed to lack any “real” substance. I mean, who really cares how many times you go to Starbucks?

So, I recently wrote a program on “Cyber-Etiquette” for kids at the behest of the National Council of Jewish Women. The idea is to teach new texters/social network recruits to “think before they hit send.”

A secondary lesson was to reinforce that everything you post/write remains in cyberspace — forever.

I incorporated role playing techniques for the kids, illustrating how conversations can easily be misinterpreted via text/email; and how posting pictures of your sleepover party — which excludes Amanda from swim team — might be hurtful and mean.

This got me thinking about my so-called “friends” on Facebook.

Many people (no, I’m not singling anyone out) will post a comment like “Thanks Susie, it was so fun last night!” on a general FB wall for all 700 of his/her friends to see. What’s the deal with this? It would literally take two seconds to send a private message to that person. So, why the whole public thing?

Is that person so insecure that she needs me to know that she has a life outside of the computer she sits at? Does she want to let me know I wasn’t invited to a party that she was at? Or, is she just clueless?

Whatever! The fact remains that FB rarely provides this now-reformed addict with the fix I once craved. Now, instead of checking my page 100 times a day, I’m down to five or six times.

Maybe there’s a chance that my old subway guitar friend remembers my name and will look for me. Back then he was a Deadhead; now, a fat and bald Republican?

Gotta log-in to know!

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