Thursday, August 12, 2010


I suppose earlier generations had to sit through all this huffing and puffing with the invention of television, the phone, cinema, radio, the car, the bicycle, printing, the wheel and so on, but you would think we would learn the way these things work, which is this:
1) everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal;
2) anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it;
3) anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.

Douglas Adams, Sunday Times, August 29, 1999

So, are you on Facebook? Probably. Now that Facebook membership is up to 500 million (that would be 200 million more than the population of this country) you have probably jumped on board. I did a while back and since I've been on for more than a year I'd like to make a few observations.

1. If you are not on Facebook, do not brag about it: Yes, we know, you don't get it. You say you don't need to know that your best friend from high school is making pot-roast. Saying that is the equivalent of saying, "Airplanes! If God wanted me to fly he would have given me wings!" To quote Bob Dylan, "Come mothers and fathers Throughout the land And don’t criticize What you can’t understand Your sons and your daughters Are beyond your command" Besides, when you say stuff like that, it makes you sound, well, old.
If you are new to Facebook--here are some tips:
2. Do not take quizzes or answer questions that your friends "send" you: I do not understand how this all works but if you answer a simple question or take a fun quiz, Facebook sends weird messages to all your friends and you may not even know it. This happened to my friend Mary who answered something silly and next thing she knew, all her friends received an alleged messaged from her asking if they thought Jack M. had a nice ass. This is especially weird because Jack M. is her son. Eww.

3. Don't play Farmville: This is apparently an addictive game you can play on Facebook and I'm sure it is quite fun. I myself like to waste time doing crossword puzzles so who am I to say Farmville is or is not a good way to pass the time. But the thing is when you play Farmville, Facebook sends out messages, unbeknownst to you, broadcasting messages like "Cindy needs just one more plank to build her pigpen!" Which is just another way of saying "Cindy is playing Farmville at work again!" Thank goodness my crossword puzzle does not do this to me or you would learn just how much time I spent trying to figure out a five-letter word for Carribbean getaway when I was supposed to be doing the laundry.

4. Never respond to a post truthfully or sarcastically--it's not the Facebook way: Since everyone on Facebook is a friend, the tone is quite kind and civil (I'm speaking of adults here, apparently the under 20-set can get ugly). This means when someone from your past posts "Just got back from the mall! So happy to find a lot of clothes in size 0 and 2!", you should not respond with, "Who in the hell were you shopping for?" or even the obvious, "Bitch." Instead you must say something like, "OMG, you're so skinny still!" and "You have such a darling figure, I'm so jealous!!!!!"
And, along the same vein, when people post photos you must always tell them how darling they/their pet/their children are. And they really are because no one posts bad pictures of themselves and if their kids are ugly they don't post those pictures either.

So that's what I know so far. Facebook is a fact of life for better or for worse and it's not going anywhere soon. It's a great way for people of a certain age to keep in touch with the friends, coworkers, and relatives you tend to acquire from a life well-lived. And yes, I do want to know that today is Val's birthday, and Christine is on her way to California, and Wendy had a killer margarita in Mexico City last night. These things make me smile.
If I figure out Twitter, I'll let you know.


  1. I tried it, I understood it and I idon't like it, just because of all these sneaky, unasked for automatic things it does, amongst which prying in my hotmail contacts list.

  2. @ Laurent, Yes, I can tell from your comment that you are old. And slightly paranoid.

  3. @Judy: I finally have the age that suits my personality. I always was a forty-ish guy.

  4. I'm a forty-ish guy but act younger. Oh crap! I'm actually more of a fifty-ish guy!! Probably makes me immature. Anyway - good Facebook advice. I made the mistake of creating a farm when Clark asked me to. My farm is completely vacant and I've never looked at it. I think of it like investment property. But as a result my relatives and friends (mostly relatives) are constantly hounding me for farm-impliments. Animals, planks, plants etc..