Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Do you remember, by chance, that once upon a story time, when girl meets boy and boy and girl have about 3 or 4, sometimes even 5 or 6 dates before boy gets girl into bed? First, he asks her who she is, what she does, what her favorite food is, where she's from, you know, the "small talk" before he has her?! Do you maybe remember that time, not so long ago, when people used to go to each other's house to see a remodeled kitchen, or catch up on vacation memories? Do you remember when we used to read magazines, and you could tell a person by what subscriptions they had?! Do you remember when you told people to look you up in the phone book? Do you remember the hand-written cards?!

OK. Maybe some of you do. Maybe most of you do. But pretty soon, we'll fade all these out, and our kids - will think we're talking about 200 years ago. I mean, who needs to "see" each other anymore, who needs opening conversations and pre-dates, before they know someone ... when now we have Facebook?

Everything we do, whoever we are (generally speaking), is all on Facebook. We want to find out something about a person - we read their profiles; we want to know whether they camp, or go to parties - we check out their pictures; we want to find out if they have kids, or have been married, or are from New York - we check Facebook. We want to send them flowers (??!!!) - you got it: send any flower invented by God and named by Man, on Facebook - almost! You want to read their stories - guess what, their blog is not only linked to Facebook - it has its own feed into it. You want to know what they did for Christmas - there are videos of Santa visiting their home loaded on Facebook. You want to know what they're doing right this second?! - you got it: Facebook.

Sometimes I wonder why we ever even bother to go out and meet people, and congregate, when we can know everything and anything we possibly want (or don't want) to know from our couch?! A lot of folks think this is shallow business. I am (or used to be) one of those people. But, folks, there are tons and hundreds of hours and thought that are put into these pages! Sure, not everyone uses their brains to build a page (the ones who put their cell number in their screen name are one desperate case, I guess...), but most people guard their privacy and show taste when posting the pages. So, this is careful, thought-out business.

We live in a Facebook age, I decided. Sure, our generation has invented new verbs like: to blog, and to google, and to yahoo, and to text; and now, we all facebook, too - but what amazes me is the TIME that people spend on this site. And I am not talking about 16 year olds with no supervision... I am talking about people my age, older, and oldest , with kids or not, with jobs and responsibilities, with "lives" ... that have pages so loaded with "stuff" (all of it personal information) that a DSL connection cannot fully upload them! Do you ever remember when this last sentence would not have made sense at all ?!

We facebook everywhere: at home, while having coffee in the morning, or while waiting on the pot to boil supper, or all day when we have a lazy weekend, or on vacation, when we come in from sightseeing, at the pool, because whoever goes to a pool without wi-fi nowadays?!, on the cell phone, while waiting for the light to turn green, and don't even get me started on how much we're facebook-ing at work!

In my line of work (computer support, for the most part), I see computer screens of users all day long. One of the windows minimized at the bottom of each screen is either Facebook or MySpace, its close and not so hated competitor. And I confess: I log into it too, from work, and out of the 5 people that my profile is showing "online", 5 people are in the same office building as me! But then businesses are losing money - and that's another topic altogether and entirely!

We don't want to miss one second between meetings or phone calls of our darling non-stop voyeur show - all free and open to all. People update pictures on the site from work, "write on walls", tell everyone what "they're doing RIGHT now" ('cause you know: the world's gotta know what you're doing every second, God forbid they'd get yesterday's news on ya), give each other quizzes, and send each other "virtual flowers" and kisses, and awards, and ... It seems sometimes that just like we used to eat, drink, read, and sleep, now ... we facebook. It's part of life, and it's gotta be, or else we feel ... disconnected, not whole, not "in" ... or something ...

Facebook is not going to tell you who a person is. Not really. You're not going to know whether they're forgiving or not, or patient, or not, or giving, you're not going to know whether they cry at movies, or love pain. But it's going to tell you what you need to know to "have an idea" of what they are about: enough of that stuff which used to fill up a 3 or 4 one hour conversations.

In Emeril's spirit, you can say that the only thing, I guess, Facebook doesn't do is let you smell the roses, literally, or the coffee. Not much "virtual smells" there. For now.

Oops ... but my blog writing ran a bit too long. Gotta go and answer my facebook notifications for the day!
And as always: if you want to reach me, for any reason, find me on Facebook! I know all of you recycle the phonebooks anymore!

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