February 2013 is “No Facebook February.” Or so I have declared it.
I have been using Facebook to replace real friendships since the spring of 2006, as a senior in high school.
It followed me to college where I be-”friended” the entire University baseball team and weird Renaissance Club kids I never had any actual interest in talking to but was too nice and desperate for a larger friend count, to deny.
I graduated from college and recorded the downfall of my “too-young-and-too-stupid-to-tell-the-difference-between-first-love-and-husband-material” marriage for two years; posting wedding photos, deleting wedding photos, quoting Bob Dylan lyrics, and depression-weight loss pictures.
Following up on that stellar life decision, I moved to Tennessee and used Facebook to screen romantic prospects, which didn’t help much when I was sitting in my living room with a drug addict musician whose only criteria for passing my Facebook screening was “liking” The Allman Brothers, revealed his recent release from a mental institution.
Moving back to Pennsylvania, Facebook kept me company as I bummed it on my mother’s couch for two months before getting a part-time job. It also continued to remind me of the incredible failure I am to the social advancements of the human race, with my lack of interest in interacting with anyone outside of a 2×2, blue and white chatbox.
It kept me relevant in random bar friendships, cultivated from my singular bar outing in 2012, when I moved to a new apartment, in a new town, where I had no friends, and no life plan beyond online dating and drinking alone.
But it lost its relevance when I fell in love with my able-bearded bodied man whose presence helped remind me of the value that could be contrived from life when real relationships were a larger focus than 2-dimensional cyber stalking.
Still it’s taken 7 months for me to stronghold the desire to break my Facebook habit, for me to actually do it. And even now I can only commit to a No Facebook February and not a No Facebook Life. I can only explain it with haphazard math that probably means nothing, but has to mean something, if you really think about it.
I have been on Facebook almost every single day for 7 years. I visit Facebook, admittedly, more than I visit my father, mother, brother, sister, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, or toilet, combined, each day. If I’m keeping it real, maybe 15 times a day, adding up to approximately 3 hours each day, give or take a few. Now here’s the (estimated) math that gives me ulcers:
7 years x 365 = 2,555 days on Facebook
2,555 days x 15 visits to Facebook per day = 38,325 visits since I started
Which ultimately means:
2,555 days x 3 hours a day = 7,665 hours on Facebook
Which further means that over my last 7 years of life, I have spent 319 days on Facebook, which is easily the most depressing, stupidest decision, I have ever made in my life. And the worst part is?
I have NOTHING to show for it.
For the naysayers, the nonbelievers, the bored readers who tuned out when I started doing math. If you are a Facebook user, I encourage you to do the math on your own Facebook life.
I then invite you to take the No Facebook February Challenge with me.
I started 4 hours ago and it’s been interesting. I have already had to deny myself Facebook log-in three time. It’s been brutal.
So to entertain myself I’ve been coming up with band names for the indie/punk/emo/folk-rock group I’m starting as soon as I get fired and learn to play the ukulele. This is what I’ve got:
Stench of Saliva
Ted Bundy’s Mother
The Waffle House Whores
Chest Day Motivational
Rock n’ Roll.
The girl who maintains that the world would be a better place if candles were edible
In recent days, a whiny fleet of Facebook friends have spread their misery through a series of emotionally tragic status updates. While the network of individuals with access to these posts are likely apathetic to the apparent cries for help plastered all over their mini feed, I in my continual state of self-pity, feed on the unhappiness of others in such a way that would imply a serious interest in organizing a group wrist cutting ceremony, or a Jessica Simpson movie marathon. So in J.D. Salinger speak, I pry like a sonofabitch.
Of course when I say pry, I’m being generous. Prying for information on Facebook is about as difficult as disarming a water gun. The standard Facebook profile has the grace of a trailer park and the class of a Hilton sister, taking a metaphoric dump on the concept of “less is more” by serving as the collective toilet for friends and families to shit all over with their simultaneous complaining/bragging about life.
Now, I’d love to criticize this behavior, but I am pretty much the ring leader of these peeps. While I may not post pictures of my C-Section scar or brand new penis ring (actual posts I have seen) I do have a terrible tendency to reveal my inner sorority girl with updates confirming or denying my relationship status. Example:
August 3, 2011
Lena is never going to another shitty concert because she likes someone ever again.
I have also divulged in the ever-popular approach of using song lyrics to belittle another. I’m quite sure when Bob Dylan released his masterpiece album Blood On the Tracks (swoon) in 1974 it was not so emotionally-damaged females could have material for Facebook status updates 35 years later. However during my divorce I quoted it so frequently I considered contacting a lawyer about licensing fees.
My point is that there seems to be a gradually shrinking fourth wall on Facebook. At any given moment I can tell you the name of at least one woman with a yeast infection. I shouldn’t be able to do this! But nevertheless, when I began prying into these depressing Facebook updates, I discovered something less than extraordinary. It seems now more than ever people, including myself, are updating their Facebook status with deeply personal, deeply boring, posts manifesting in one of five things:
- Something about love.
We’ve all been there. It starts with a laugh. Two friends sharing a drink at the local bar. Their eyes meet. R Kelly is playing in the background. Fluids are exchanged followed by awkward cuddling and BAM! The start of a relationship at least one person already wants out of. Once the inevitable breakup takes place, these individuals, usually the ladies involved, express their frustration through posts like this:
“Single n’ lovin’ it!!!!!!!!!!! You never deserved all this!!!! Get a life, son LMAO!!!!!!!!!!”
Predator” and ruin the whole thing. These happy posts usually sound something like this:
“Came home and Archie already made dinner and shaved his own pubes. I love my man! <3”
2. Something about sports
Evidently Sunday was the Super Bowl. Idk. I don’t follow sports. Also, I’ve been boycotting the Super Bowl since birth as a protest against materialism in American culture. Also, I hate football. Anyway. The Super Bowl and all of the games leading up to it result in the need for mass de-friending. I know, powerful. All those college baseball players I never met but Facebook-stalked as a freshman will be devastated when they realize that crazy girl who spent her time “liking” random workout photos, has cut them out of her life.
But really, if they are going to post things like this, they deserve what’s coming to them:
“Really???? What are you doing random athlete with Hispanic origin!! Do you even want to win? What a shitty random sports term!”.…Idk. I don’t get sports.
3. Something about being sick
Studies have shown that 93% of Facebook users truly believe they are the only person ever to get sick, which would explain these types of posts:
“Head is pounding, nose is running, it burns when I pee…and I’m working a double. FML!!!!
“Dear Stomach Virus, Please stop making me shit all over my Hello Kitty bed sheets. Love, Paula”
4. Something about being tired/going to sleep
Either the majority of my Facebook friends are participating in some sort of sleep study OR they are just vastly unaware of how boring they are. Either way, there is no need to update everyone on the developments of your nocturnal life, with posts like this:
“Soooo TIRED! Stop texting me people! I don’t know how to turn my phone off OR put it on silent OR in another room!!!! Need sleeeeeeeep!!!!
“Going to sleep now. Have to get up in 4 hours. #FML”
“Dear Sleep, Please come so I can stop posting these annoying status updates. Love, Norma.”
5. Song lyrics that double as suicide notes
A few days ago I was talking to my father on the phone. The conversation went something like this:
Lena: Straight trippin’, you know!
Dad: It’s hard to tell sometimes with your Facebook statuses…
Lena: I-D-K, Dad.
Dad: Are you depressed?
Lena: It ain’t no big thing. If I got problems, you will know I got problems. Werd.
Ok, so actually the conversation went nothing like that. But he did ask me if I was depressed and I laughed and said no and that I’m just posting lyrics of songs I’m listening to at the time. Apparently I listen to a lot of depressing/contemplative/parental concern-inducing music. Nevertheless, I think you get what I’m saying. No need to depress ya’ll.
My point in this entire post is really just to say this:
Attention to myself and all Facebook users: Not every thought that goes through your head is interesting enough to require a status update. In fact, hardly are interesting enough to share in your diary. Please think before you post. Not because you are offensive or threatening your future employment, but because you are really f***ing annoying.
The girl who just updated her Facebook status: dance with no pants on, holla!…i’m only writing this to add an ironic ending to my blog…
Facebook has ruined New Year’s Eve.
Instead of feeling delightful satisfaction in my evening plans of spaghetti and “To Catch a Predator” reruns I feel, dejected…forlorn… bloated? That’s unrelated. I’m seeing status updates of friends, of friends, of people with too few privacy settings, making plans to welcome 2012 with inviting, boozed up arms, and I can’t help but think to myself; should I too be a part of the drunken masses? Should I feel bad that at 23 years old the most exciting thing I have done on this New Year’s Eve is complete a graduate school application and attempt to tune my ukulele? I’m not sure. I’m not much of a drinker, partyer, socializer, coke-snorter, or any other category of people who really get off on New Year’s Eve celebrations. Yet, I can’t help but feel as though I am missing out on something.
I read an article a year or so ago regarding “Facebook depression,” a condition plaguing the minds of individuals, ranging in age from teen to middle-aged adulthood, who spend more time social networking than living a social life, and whose first names start with L and end with A. While this article, obviously has little to do with me OR my increasingly uni-bomber existence, I think it’s a little sad that it even had to be written. Sadder yet is the fact that a year later I am still thinking about it as I sit at my dining room table, drinking Theraflu in my glasses and pony tail.
So to combat any temporary feelings of inadequacy, I’m going to out resolution all those suckers. Though my true list is too lengthy and graphic to be shown on this blog, I am going to delight you all with an abridged version.
1. Finish my novel – Last December I started a novel. I planned on finishing it by today but between moving three times and joining Twitter, I just didn’t have the time. So this year will most definitely be THE year, that my novel is completed, and I can start feeling like my writing degree isn’t entirely useless.
2. Chill with Bobby D – I won’t go as far as saying that I’m going to coerce some sort of romantic relationship with Bob Dylan, that would be crazy; our love is too strong for the confines of a BF/GF status. Nevertheless, I am going to chill with Bob this year, whether in person or in spirit is yet to be determined. Each year, Dylan fanatics throw a festival in his hometown of Hibbing, MN called “Dylan Days.” Last year I didn’t go for a number of inexcusable reasons. This year, nothing, NOTHING will stop be from going. Not financial barriers, not the INS. I will be there, in the North Country, pretending I’m a girl from it.
3. Stop giggling at words that do not make any other adults giggle – Why can’t I pass a “Tire and Lube” shop without giggling “lube” under my breath? Why can’t I submit to a customer request for a second teabag without thinking something like “I bet you love your teabags” or “what a whore?” Why can’t I drink a blueberry muffin gas station cappuccino without saying to my sister, “damn gurl, how you get yo muffin to smell like blueberries?” WHY? I am 23 year old, semi-professional, semi-classy woman. I need to get my obscene mind under control or at least start making money with it!
4. Lose weight – BORING! Not only did I already discuss this in a previous blog entry, but it’s also the most used up resolution in the book. This hardly makes me better than anyone and considering I will likely fail, I am just depressing myself with my conformist tendencies.
5. Read one book per month – I realize this goal makes me sound like some sort of degenerate Kentuckian, since most people I know read 12 books a week, but I have a hard time with reading. I get caught up in an author’s stupid word choice, or poor sentence structure, or shoddy cover art, and I can’t get beyond most intro paragraphs. Since it is unlikely that I will be able to accomplish this with traditional literature, I am going to include erotica novels and Gilmore Girls fan fiction as possible options.
6. Learn to play ukulele – Despite the flattering snapshot featured above, I must admit I don’t currently know how to play ukulele. I’m a fraud. A phony. A washed up dreamer. Since most of the songs I write are depressing to the point of self stranglization (not a word), I figured having a ukulele will force me to write about happy things like puppies, rainbows, and bourbon whiskey.
Unfortunately due to threats of SOPA, this is all I can write. In fact, I’ve probably written too much already…Nevertheless, I have accomplished what I hoped. Not only are my resolutions straight up awesome, but if I actually accomplish them and end 2012 as a thinner, well-read, ukulele playing, well-mannered, author, friend of Bob Dylan, it goes without saying that spending New Year’s Eve eating Sherbert and watching Judge Judy is probably more productive than anything else I could have done.
Happy New Year, every body!
The girl so sick she can hardly swallow
I acknowledge my Twitter account about as often as I intentionally throw myself down a flight of stairs. It’s like having a hicky above your eyebrow or a non-athletic son. I’m just embarrassed to have it and I question its purpose on a daily basis.
You may be asking yourself, why am I reading this b***shit? That, I couldn’t tell you. So hopefully you are asking, if you curse the very existence of Twitter, why do you have an account, a-hole? Take a breath and I’ll fill you in.
A fellow writer/friend/literary confidant we’ll call “M” had been encouraging me to sign up for this “twitter” business for quite awhile. I was apathetic. Uninterested. Dare I say, blasé? I had no interest in being part of some sort of community that involved “following” one another. What is that? That’s like the creepiest Dateline ever. That’s like a Gin Blossoms song. That’s like hearing footsteps creeping up behind you and realizing you forgot your rape whistle. I wasn’t digging it.
She gave up for a short time, only mentioning Twitter here and there in casual conversation:
M: “So, Lena. Are you going to see Bob Dylan this summer?”
L: “I like, don’t know, you know? Like, damn.”
M: “Isn’t he touring?”
L: “Like, I mean. He’s a musician, so like, whatever.”
M: “I’m sure if you followed him on Twitter, you would know.”
L: “Yeah, for real. It’s like, whoa. Right?”
But when she took it upon herself to so brazenly inform me that she had “agent interest” in her novel, based on a contact she had developed through this “twitter” situation, I knew I could no longer be so impassive. I signed up.
Now, nearly two weeks later, I wrestle with my decision. I feel dirty. Like a “sell out,” overpricing screen tees by $30 at a merch table at a Nickelback/Hinder concert. I log into my Facebook account, hoping Zuckerberg won’t sense the seedy nature of my adulterous status updates. Facebook fulfills all of my social networking needs. I know this! And yet…yet…
I need to shape up or ship out. According to twitter, I only have 3 people in the world who care that I have dreams about dismembering school buses. But I know better! After all, I have enough sorry individuals reading this blog to make me feel like at least one non-relative has some interest in my existence. So I need to either:
B. Drain the Twitter abscess, flipping its logo at the world.
I’d prefer to go with option A. So please, readers who share my links on Facebook but don’t ever reveal yourselves driving me insane with curiosities about your identities, follow me!
Cyber bully me!
I’ll be watching…
The girl currently known as lena_ziegler