So. Facebook. What an interesting thing it's been. Beni Hana got me hooked up sometime in early winter and I can't help but comment that it's your friends, people you know, who turn you on to the most destructive but highly pleasurable moments in your life. Just try it, they say. That's how it happened to me. That's when I started.
That's not to say I have regrets. I don't have any! I really enjoy Facebook and have loved getting to know and understand the program. Quite a setup. I am no small admirer of the value Zuckerberg has amassed in the uber-rich data base he created, dubbed and marketed as a social utility. I've posted pictures, joined the Gonzaga wave, and taken the What 80's Movie Are You? Quiz on Facebook. I've given Chanel cyber gifts but my favorite gifts to give and receive, omigod by a long shot, are the Pandas. I love those little rascals! I've clickety clicked out pithy comments at lightning speed and laughed and marveled reading others' pithy comments, laid down on the run. I am proud to have stood up and been counted as a fan of NPR and Coeur d'Alene; of Beyonce and Shakespeare; and of Aretha Franklin's Inaugural Hat, the Vandals and In-N-Out, by God. Just where else can you do that and have it be known?
I have been quite startled to be friended by my children's friends on Facebook. Who the hell would want to be friends with me? I've been invited to parties on Facebook. Keen, witty, funny, sophisticated invitations and parties via Facebook. I've get updated looks on my nieces and nephews on Facebook and worry when they are taking tests and at some of the people they are hugging and kissing. Those kids, all of them, are good looking enough and smart enough that their parents, my brothers, should have put them in convents when they had the chance. And when my adorable nephew, the light of my late mother's life, railed against that drunk and liar, Nicole Tonasket, I practically dug out my 12 gauge out of the garage and began looking for the shells. He IS such a sugar baby, that Willie. Who is this skank Tonaket that's causing him angst? I assumed it was a work related matter and I jotted down numbers the general manager of Will's employer and their competitors in town, whom I know and with whom I sit on community boards, just to be ready. Few days later, Will lamented on his page that this Nicole is a heartless jezebel. So now it comes out that it's a matter of the heart. But as everybody knows, all's fair in love and war. That's another thing about Facebook. There is honor and a code of conduct; make no mistake. What goes on on Facebook, should stay on Facebook.
That's not to say it does, of course. There are snitchy moles who tell tales of Facebook off site but these people prove themselves over and over again. They do this in other communities and neighborhoods, too. My observation is that these are people who have such low abilities socially and such minimal social skills, they will always be clueless and always being looking for friends. They never will see the line and appreciate what's out of bounds. So by and large, people tell their own story on Facebook, get to speak for themselves and their friends respond, in some manner, or not. In a lot of ways, it's a cyber campfire, where people pass the stick and talk.
So having said all that, here's my observation. Facebook robs you of expression. Yeah, I know. That's pretty much contradictory. So I'll say it again. Carefully. Facebook robs you of expression. You're on Facebook for a certain period of time and you lose your muscle to lay down the written word-- make a statement and extrapolate your thoughts, develop them in a critical and creative fashion.
First, it's much too slow. It takes time to lay out what you are thinking and feeling. Might as well write a letter home. And you KNOW how long that'll take. On Facebook, you can nip in for 2 minutes and exchange pertinent details and up to the second information with 23 people, if you are me. If you are Greg Bennett, that would be 1600 people. In 2 minutes. But you do this with with very few original words--blasting into Facebook at the speed of light with a password and an email address, pinging around the status feature, the fan and friend feature and on a super leisure day, the link and photo feature. You don't ever really talk about your passions or why you deem Greg Bennett a friend, in my case a valued friend, you just hit and run, hit and run, hit and fun, in a funny, spirited, adorable pinball way and then you exit. bye bye. Keep moving. In fact, if you actually spend time on Facebook, you are teased by your friends. It really is not exactly cool to spend too much time of Facebook. So you get really good at jumping up, rattling the bats, running the bases and signing off. And it laps over into the expressive features in your other life. Your life off Facebook; it is so much more work.
I have wanted to get better at expressing myself through photography this year and have spent many hours taking classes, taking pictures and viewing the work of any and all photographers in an effort to get better. In the process, I felt my expression through photography grow but felt my voice through the written word tighten and crack. I have thought much about this trade off and the balance of power between my eye and my head, the inexplicit and the explicit. The one thing I know for sure about expressing yourself is that there are no short cuts. And as in many things, if you don't use it, you lose it. You must exercise discipline and maintain muscle to build muscle. In the Facebook lexicon, there is no discipline, no muscle; just pleasure quick and sweet on your tongue. Fast, fast food.
And now that I've got a taste of it, I'm hooked. You won't find me leaving Facebook. But I've got to get back to writing my notes up here much more often, scratching out what's going on at Bellemaison. Because if I don't, that darn Facebook just won't be sweeeeeet no more.
The 'Kan EWA