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Fatwah / May 23, 2010


Maybe somebody could explain Facebook to me. I’m on it and I still don’t get it. I hate it without understanding it, like a dog barking at a vacuum cleaner.

Facebook’s in the news for violating people’s privacy and selling off their information, for general malfeasance and sleaze, the usual stuff. Boycotts are called for. It’s made me wonder: is something as apparently rotten as Facebook worth the trouble of boycotting? If you’re misguided enough to join Facebook in the first place, don’t you deserve everything you get?

Let me just say in my own defense, I never intended to be on it. As soon as I heard about it, I sensed it was sinister. “What’s it good for?” I’d ask, and the eager Facebook shill would say, “It lets people find you, people you used to know.”

“Holy God,” I’d say. “I’d pay to make that not happen.”


For years, I maintained a semblance of human dignity. But the nagging got so intense, I finally succumbed to peer pressure about six months ago. I set up my Facebook “profile,” which was no sweat. Nothing but name, rank, and serial number, that’s all you ever give up. As for a photo of me, well, I laughed at the very idea. A photo of somebody could go up there, as long as it wasn’t me. Morticia Addams, maybe?

Lots of people hailed me right away, wanting to be “friends.” Some of them I actually knew, and didn’t hate, so there was a brief interlude that was practically heartwarming. Jolly greetings (“Eileen!! How ARE you?!”) and all that. So that was okay.

But I was immediately disturbed about the whole “wall” phenomenon. See, people who are your “friends” write short messages, and any replies from their “friends” also show up, and pretty soon you’ve got streams of communiqués, many from “friends of friends,” aka total strangers, messing up your “wall.” For sheer randomness, it’s like reading the graffiti in a public toilet, only minus all the interest, because public-toilet-writing generally involves the thrill of anonymous venting, heavy on the obscenities.

On Facebook, nobody vents at all. Nobody even swears. They used to, apparently. During its first phase, as millions of tiresome gasbags will tell you, Facebook was the site for stupid college kids to revile their professors and employers and describe their embarrassing sex lives and post pictures of themselves drunk. Then professors and employers starting reading Facebook, and the feds went after the Einsteins who posted their “Should Obama Be Killed?” poll, and the party was over.


Which meant Facebook was safe for the oldsters. Oldsters are more cagy but still fundamentally stupid. They persist in providing absurdly generous “profile” information about themselves, throwing their identities open to the world, but they’re all carefully pretending to be nice and upbeat and not-crazy. Look, I’m all for strangers being nice in public; hell, I’m in favor of bringing back dueling, just to guarantee that everybody thinks twice before being impolite to others on the street. But I don’t want to go to a special site for blasts of can-do perkiness (“I had a great day today yodeling in the Swiss Alps!”) or random endorsements (“Evelyn is a fan of STP Motor Oil”).

The whole point of having friends, as opposed to “friends,” is that you don’t have to relentlessly keep up appearances and strike poses. You can get out of the public eye and relax and curse and rant and glower and generally express yourself. So I didn’t understand the point of Facebook. Pretty soon I was only using it to send private messages to actual friends, and what’s the point of that? I already knew e-mail was a great invention.

The queasy blend of friends and “friends” is central to the Facebook experience. People who might get some sane use out of Facebook are advertising something, a business or a service or something. Facebook might have originated as a means of personal connection, but now it seems like strictly business disguised as personal connection, and the rhetoric of it is just as horrible as that sounds. Everybody writes in ad-sized bits, everybody “likes” a million products and services, everybody affirms things and exclaims over things like TV pitchmen. It’s as if everyone you know is turning into those horrible shills who blog about things they pretend to like for company kickbacks.

(You might say that’s nothing, so what—pretending to like something for cash is no big deal. But if so, you’re already a goner. What you like and dislike is fundamental, and if you’ve lost touch with that, you’re a pod-person. Ask Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said the pressure to conform in America is so intense that most adults can’t even articulate to themselves what their true preferences are, and that almost no one lives as a free human being but the occasional small boy, who will fearlessly declare the desires of his soul and body, and damn the consequence.)


After a few tentative attempts at posting on Facebook, I retreated into horrified silence. I couldn’t do the lingo. Then I decided not to try to do the lingo. It’s kind of like advertising for yourself, if your self was a plastic novelty toy: lots of cute photos and “hurray for everything” patter. I can only stand to look at it once a week. But I can’t seem to cut ties, no matter how obviously I should. I mean, many friends are on there, posting like mad, poor sods! Plus there’s a terrible fascination about Facebook: it’s so godawful, but so generally embraced. It made me start to believe there really is such a thing as “postmodernity,” and that most people have cheerfully given up the idea of having an authentic self. Happy artificial constructs! Meanwhile I’m a leftover modern type, still hanging back in the era of alienation, clinging to my likes and dislikes, occasionally fretting about the death of God.


Speaking of the death of God, I went to a graduation ceremony the other day, where the keynote speaker was a celebrated sound editor on many famous films. He did a PowerPoint presentation, heavy on the cornball humor that plays so well at graduations, showing the students that they are all “iGrad” units who need to upload the “experience app” and prepare for the world by self-branding, getting a logo, marketing themselves as product. “Because you ARE all products,” he said encouragingly. “Universities are in the business of PRODUCING graduates, in the hopes that you will all become PRODUCTIVE in the world.” The kids ate it up, and the profs smiled, and the parents applauded enthusiastically.

Way in the back, I broke out in a cold sweat.

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Add your own

  • 1. Pablito  |  May 23rd, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Jones best article yet. Loved it.

  • 2. FacebookUser  |  May 23rd, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Likes This

  • 3. Bill Rush  |  May 23rd, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Until Facebook starts paying me their advertising revenues, which will be never, I’m going to stay away from the miserable dystopia that is the Facebook community.

  • 4. vrag nardoa  |  May 23rd, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Facebook is just like, except with uglier girls.

  • 5. platitudes  |  May 23rd, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Teachers were on the front lines of this shit. I remember in ’07 a Charlotte teacher was fired for pictures of her in a hot tub drinking a beer. By 2008, our administrators were constantly reminding us to lock all that down. Of course not everyone took the hint:

    The NEA used to publish a list of all the social networking-related suspensions/firings of teachers in the US. I myself threw in the towel early after witnessing two obese women in their 40s discuss the merits of privacy between Facebook and Myspace.

    Ugh. After having a front row seat for day after day of fresh-squeezed human misery, it was sickening to log on and see my colleagues preen and show off like their lives were perfect, devoid of suffering, just like Facebook dictates.

    It’s pathetic.

  • 6. Jyp  |  May 23rd, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Jesus. I’m in a cold sweat just reading about it.

  • 7. goat_farmers_of_the_CIA  |  May 23rd, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    The paragraph pointing out the difference between friends and “friends” reminded me of something Kundera wrote, how the Czech secret police was able to catch some dissident saying dangerous things. They wired a friend’s (a real one) living room… I don’t know if that friend was in truth a “friend” – an informer.

    In my Facebook page, Instead of boring photo albums I decided to start my own private gallery with paintings and photos from my favorite artists. But judging from the absence of comments, the gallery might as well be located in the ‘net equivalent of the Sahara. Going over it, I feel like thanking Zuckermann for such careless generosity towards high culture, funding the totally unpopular.

  • 8. goat_farmers_of_the_CIA  |  May 23rd, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Not Zuckermann! Zuckerberg.. Or rather, in my pig German, Süssscheissesberg…

  • 9. Jie Ke  |  May 23rd, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Facey B is for stupid, vain, self-absorbed idiots.
    That is: most of humanity.

  • 10. Alok  |  May 23rd, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    As someone who was there and managed to quit Facebook (and lived to tell about it, thank you), you should just do what I did.

    Pick a day about a month from now as your “I quit Facebook today” day, and slowly but surely, mentally prepare yourself for it, and at the end of that day, close your account.

    Trust me on this, Eileen, you will in fact feel like a burden is off you and the feeling that you get once you manage to stay off face book for long enough is nothing but sheer bliss…

  • 11. RecoverylessRecovery  |  May 23rd, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    “Maybe somebody could explain Facebook to me”

    —-Weebster’s Dictionary Definitions—-

    FACEBOOK (noun): An internet forum that allows subscribers leading inane, irrelevant lives to share pictures and comments of the same with absolute and total strangers, usually in a failed effort to find some minimal sense of purpose and significance in life.

    see also: narcissism

  • 12. internal exile  |  May 23rd, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    I just joined facebook too (job related, under duress), and Eileen is right. It’s kind of like a high school yearbook except electronic and never ending. I immediately amused myself by “liking” drug pages and posting Farmville parodies, but am now realizing that none of my “friends” are picking up on the joke. They post about their pets and where they went for the weekend, and that they “like” walking and everything is safe and bland as hell. I know some of these people personally and they’re really quite interesting folks IRL, but Facebook is the great blanderizer.

  • 13. Sihaya  |  May 23rd, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    I don’t get why people make such a big deal about what a big deal Facebook is. Without passing any comment on the legal and privacy issues regarding the site itself, honestly, apart from feeling some pity towards people who spend hours contemplating what their next status update should be, I think it is just another transition from the older tools of communication.

    If you don’t want to keep in touch with the person you met at the book shop or the classmate from 4th grade, then don’t ‘friend’ them! If you don’t give a damn about what the neighbour’s daughter’s dog did last Wednesday, the hide the feed! Or better yet, don’t join Facebook at all.

    As a Facebook-belonger, I can tell you that personally, I find Facebook delicious. It pleases me intensely to read idiotic posts by people I don’t really like and then snicker about it to like-minded individuals. It pleases me to know what the hottest ‘trends’ are from a variety of age-groups. It pleases me to see pictures of an acquaintance’s trip to Kashmir so I can plan my next vacation.

    And yes, it also pleases me to make clever comments and have people ‘like’ them. It also pleases me when I upload pictures of my last vacation and have people plan their next trip based on those.

    One gives a thing too much power when too much time is spent discussing how it could potentially destroy society, instead of, say, chuckling at the link posted by the colleague (which ironically, is how I found this page).

  • 14. God's little sock puppet  |  May 24th, 2010 at 12:19 am

    @platitudes et al

    Heh, of course, if one were so inclined, one could simply feign support for that teacher’s firing by joining this group —

    — and then, once having weaseled one’s way into the hearts of the group’s moderator, if one were so inclined, publicize the entirety of the group’s participants, including group discussion.

    Yep, this would all be possible if one were so inclined. Oh, and if one were willing to stay on Facebook.

  • 15. chugs  |  May 24th, 2010 at 12:26 am

    to delete your facebook account go to

    motherfuckers don’t delete your data if you “quit” and nor do they publish that link if you want to get rid of your account.

  • 16. Finisterre  |  May 24th, 2010 at 2:44 am

    Yeah, what Sihaya said.

    I moved abroad a year or so ago and Facebook is a way of keeping in day-to-day contact with friends without having to email them individually. I spend five minutes every so often updating my privacy settings so I don’t have anyone except said friends posting on my Wall, and I block all Farmville/quizzes/games because I’m not interested in them.

    I’ve no doubt there are problems with privacy, but this article rather contradicts itself by over-emphasising how ‘false’ it all is – the people I know who are independent and individualistic continue to be so on FB.

    It’s useless for in-depth anything, true, but for remaining aware of the little ups and downs and general news of people you don’t see very often but still care about, I find it actually pretty wonderful.

  • 17. Jussi  |  May 24th, 2010 at 3:45 am

    Great article, Ellen. I went for facebook two days ago and am wondering about the very same things you state in the article. Now that I’m in love with Mark Ames and incapable of reading his articles without letting my feelings get in the way, you are my favorite exiled artist.

  • 18. gc  |  May 24th, 2010 at 4:43 am

    @ Sihaya

    “One gives a thing too much power when too much time is spent discussing how it could potentially destroy society, instead of, say, chuckling at the link posted by the colleague (which ironically, is how I found this page).”

    Case in point. —>

    “Oldsters are more cagy but still fundamentally stupid. They persist in providing absurdly generous “profile” information about themselves, throwing their identities open to the world, but they’re all carefully pretending to be nice and upbeat and not-crazy.”

  • 19. We Are Meg  |  May 24th, 2010 at 5:08 am

    It’s as if everyone you know is turning into those horrible shills who blog about things they pretend to like for company kickbacks.Megan McArdle

    Cower before the true horror of social networking.

  • 20. We Are Meg  |  May 24th, 2010 at 5:10 am

    It’s as if everyone you know is turning into those horrible shills who blog about things they pretend to like for company kickbacks Megan McArdle.

    Cower before the true horror of social networking. Despair makes me forget end tags.

  • 21. captain america  |  May 24th, 2010 at 6:06 am

    i found a few long-lost relatives from sweden on facebook. one of them is the type who posts every random thought she has as a status update, which is helpful to me since i’m trying to learn swedish. i even chatted with one of them in swedish the other day. so, there’s a practical use for facebook for ya.

  • 22. Ryan  |  May 24th, 2010 at 6:12 am

    Had a similar high school grad experience recently at my sister’s ceremony; what a bunch of self-serving smarmy gerbil shit.

  • 23. rouz  |  May 24th, 2010 at 6:12 am

    Ironically, internet is seriously dumbing people down. Everything has turned into bursts of liking and reposting, and then moving along. What little creativity it once promoted is now gone. Sites like Facebook and Youtube are obvious examples, but Wikipedia and even search engines are just as bud really. Instead of going though books to find something and, in the process, actually learning something, people are encouraged to simply google for the exact phrase (or whatever)…

    This article was a good read though.

  • 24. FrankMcG  |  May 24th, 2010 at 7:37 am

    Part of it’s probably to ease the feeling you get when you say goodbye to someone you got along with, but know that you’ll never see again. It cancels out the whole “final goodbye” thing.

    I only joined because my high school reunion was being organized through it. Since then I only friend people I almost never see and only log on to browse new stuff maybe once every 2 months.

    Think what you want of Southpark, but their recent episode perfectly nailed the sense of emptiness and banality of the user base.

    If you want the really short version, it’s for women who just can’t let go of being the center of attention like high school so they’ll post some “pity bait” sad event in their life so all the attention condolences roll in. It’s for guys who want to post pictures of how awesome they are to impress girls they’re friends with. It’s all just one big passive aggressive attention grab.

  • 25. Necronomic.JustIce  |  May 24th, 2010 at 7:51 am

    I don’t give a fuck anymore. Facebook has offered me the ability “to find some minimal sense of purpose and significance in life.”

    Get Slavoj Žižek to Host SNL!

    That and reposting eXiled articles for all my “friends” to ignore.

    Facebook, Fuck Yeah!

  • 26. Mad Nomad  |  May 24th, 2010 at 8:27 am

    Like smoking, I never started Facebook. Thank you Eileen for reaffirming my decision to opt out of what I figured would be the greatest waste of my real-life time that I would face in my probably short lifespan.

    Even being overseas and miles away from people whom I knew in my many “past lives”, and even with everyone in my present surroundings sharing things like photos of recent events with only those who have opened an account, the temptation posed by Facebook to dwell too much on the past is simply not worth it.

    Other than for resume material (which seems better delivered through LinkedIn anyway), there is too much to do in the here-and-now to worry about the there-and-then.

  • 27. David Mullen  |  May 24th, 2010 at 9:14 am

    I got shunned and eventually quit in 2007 when I had too much fun going after everyone who made my life Hell as a teenager (I grew up Baptist). That’s what I don’t get about the Book. Brawling in public, I can understand that. But living your whole life in public—why? It’s not the end of privacy that bothers me. It’s the end of intense feeling, replaced by an extended résumé with photographic evidence of how edgy, cute, and harmless you are. Oh, wait, maybe I do get it. It’s What Jesus Would Do.

  • 28. senorpogo  |  May 24th, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    thank you chugs

    i did not know that

  • 29. Hamsterfist  |  May 24th, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Posted this on my facebook page. Thanks. (The odds of anyone I know reading this? About zero.)

  • 30. Mrinal Bose  |  May 24th, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Sane voice in a world of inanities.

  • 31. Brian wall  |  May 24th, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Thank You Eileen Jones.I’m an old geezer(49) who got on facebook after pressure from my brothers and sisters.Since then, I’ve felt obliged to include as friends everyone I ever knew. Dozens and dozens of distant cousins I haven’t seen since childhood, high school friends, army buddies, etc.
    My problem is that the things I might say to one group is not appropriate for another. For example, in my first posting, I razzed my brother severely about something he posted.He imediately deleted it, as well he should have. All his facebook “friends” could see it too, and it was embarassing to him. That’s why everyone posts such bland shite. I soon became a lurker, reading but not posting. I thought that farmville was a real place for about a week. Idiot me.
    I really don’t care about what some guy who used to live down the street from me 30 years ago had for breakfast. Then when I found out that facebook was giving out our personal info, I quit facebook.I’ll probably sign on again under a false name, then grant access to a chosen few. Actual friends, not “friends”.

  • 32. steve  |  May 24th, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    Genius. I couldn’t agree more. Facebook is a giant group of people begging for attention while conforming to whatever their friends say. It destroys individualism, creates a huge liability professionally and scholastically, and encourages groupthink like nothing else.

    I can’t deal with the rabid commercialism and the fake users on it.

    This is the same thing that happened to myspace. Commercialization, branding people and old people using it that killed it.

    Facebook has already passed critical mass and you’re seeing the beginning of a mass exodus from Facebook.

    Shameless self plug, I’ve made a website for ideas and stuff that’s the anti-thesis of Facebook, please check it out.

  • 33. Pod-person  |  May 24th, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    You know what’s cool? Hating on the “trends” and the “fads”. And the author is in fact SO COOL that she don’t even “get” facebook! I wish I could be that cool. Instead, I just go about my day, not being an idiot about my personal information, and use facebook for entertainment purposes, to stay in touch with as many or as few people as I want, and to easily organize events or get-togethers, and to show people hilarious pictures of cats. But clearly, you are much too hip to understand these lowly concepts, and thus anyone that does must be irrevocably “misguided”. But that is ok, you go on barking at the internet, it doesn’t care and will continue to vacuum up articles like these.

  • 34. matt  |  May 24th, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    That last paragraph about the graduation really struck me. I had a dean of one of the schools at my university inform us that we are essentially part of a corporation, and that if we did anything to piss off the higher ups, we’d be “fired”, i.e. expelled. Sums up American life really: Do whatever you want but don’t piss off anyone with money and property.

  • 35. Fischbyne  |  May 24th, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    My employer had me attend a social media conference for PR flaks. A peripheral but consistant chorus among the schmoozing social media gurus was indecision over whether to maintain separate Facebook accounts for personal use and promoting your employer’s product. The conventional answer, always with forced enthusiasm, was “There’s no such thing as a private life anymore!” I never did set up any kind of Facebook account, maybe one of the reasons I lost my job.

  • 36. ixc  |  May 24th, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    i’m sure facebook is full of blandness, but here are a couple of good things: reading polemic debates between people i know. they do actually happen – not everyone cares about reputations. i hate keeping up with inane “cultural” news (who won what fucking hockey game), but that info can be useful to be aware of and i get an inkling of such things when 20 people express their bland opinion on the subject.

  • 37. acabaca  |  May 25th, 2010 at 1:49 am

    If you think you have more than ten friends, you don’t know what a friend is. A friend is somebody your could confess murder to, secure in the knowledge that he will neither rat on you nor change his opinion on you. The rest are non-enemies at best.

  • 38. Sheraz  |  May 25th, 2010 at 4:28 am

    The conversation around Facebook and its pitfalls is definitely getting louder and more numerous. I’ve setup to corral these collective thoughts.

    It is an effort to collect stories like this, discuss the privacy implications, and look at alternatives. I hope you and your readers will visit if it peaks their interests.

  • 39. Graham J.  |  May 25th, 2010 at 4:54 am

    I suppose not so much in my defense, but rather by way of explanation, I joined the site in 2005 when it was still college-only. I don’t know if I would do so again today, but it’s so hard to tear myself away just because EVERYONE’s there.

    As others have said, right now I’m studying overseas, and it’s the only way I can keep up with what all my friends are doing back home over the course of 15-20 minutes when I wake up.

    Completely different note: who was that sound editor? I’m hoping not Ben Burtt, but based on how often he’s worked with Lucas…

  • 40. FrankMcG  |  May 25th, 2010 at 8:01 am

    Exactly what school was this sound editor speaking at?

    From his profession coupled with the extreme doucheness of his speech, I’m going to guess USC.

  • 41. Aaron  |  May 25th, 2010 at 9:17 am

    “It pleases me to see pictures of an acquaintance’s trip to Kashmir so I can plan my next vacation.”

    What the fuck is your rich happy ass doing here? Get back over to Facebook where you belong and leave this place for miserable bastards like me.

  • 42. WE  |  May 25th, 2010 at 11:12 am


    it’s funny, I lived in this shithole beach town as a teenager, populated with rich kids whose parents worked at Cape Canaveral (or did consulting and the like), beach bums who lived in shitty houses on A1A or military kids who were stuck in the middle, and this burnt out jock surfer asshole once asked me as an attempted form of public humiliation (as opposed to more violent and/or homoerotic forms of humiliation people like him had proclivities towards), how many friends do you have? When I nonchalantly told him 3, it became his running joke for the next several years. Strange thing is, I’m 29 now and I really don’t think my answer has changed. The only difference is, it’s not embarrassing anymore. I don’t think that cunt has ever had 3 friends in his life, though he was never alone. People like him never are. Non-enemies, exactly…

  • 43. RecoverylessRecovery  |  May 25th, 2010 at 11:37 am

    “If you think you have more than ten friends, you don’t know what a friend is. A friend is somebody your could confess murder to, secure in the knowledge that he will neither rat on you nor change his opinion on you. The rest are non-enemies at best”.

    Completely in agreement. I’ve always been surprised by how loosely Americans apply the term “friend” to people they barely know or have just met. Like you so accurately stated, a REAL friend is a HARD commodity to come by in life. With LUCK, most people might come across ONE or TWO of such in their entire lives.

    “As others have said, right now I’m studying overseas, and it’s the only way I can keep up with what all my friends are doing back home over the course of 15-20 minutes when I wake up.”

    THAT is probably the ONLY truly justifiable use of Facebook; to keep in touch with distant family & friends. Anything other is pure social masturbation.

    Using a two-handed GRIP.

  • 44. Greg  |  May 25th, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Eileen, you’d like my college graduation speaker: he warned us that we better not be the generation that oversees the death of the newspaper. Of course, we will be, but that’s neither here nor there.

    I do agree with your central point, it’s why I don’t use facebook. I can never bring myself to actually delete my account, I just make sure that facebook isn’t sharing the information I’ve always refused to post there.

    I just genuinely care about my privacy, and I aim to keep my interactions as real as possible. That means I avoid smalltalk, I talk about real issues, what I really care about, or nothing at all. I was never going to like AIM, or facebook, or twitter, it just wasn’t me. I’ll take real connection over superficiality disguised as connection.

  • 45. Kat  |  May 27th, 2010 at 7:03 am

    What school was that? DO let me know so my kids don’t go there. Whoops. I forgot to have kids. Dodged that bullet.
    Seriously though; is there any lonelier experience than sitting in a crowd listening to such drivel while others lap it up?

  • 46. Joseph Carey Merrick  |  May 28th, 2010 at 7:02 am

    I like Facebook.

  • 47. Hon Kee Mufo  |  May 28th, 2010 at 10:04 am

    facebook is as bad as you make it.

  • 48. auhsoJ  |  May 28th, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Sounds like y’all need different pals.

    I use Facebook to troll.

  • 49. Zhu Bajie  |  May 29th, 2010 at 1:13 am

    You know, Jones, real oldsters sit around and reminisce about how great it was when you could just ask the operator to connect you to Kennie Hanson or whoever, and you didn’t need to remember all these damned numbers….

  • 50. DopeAddict  |  May 31st, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    @acabaca: Are you speaking from personal experience? If so, I want to be friends with your friends. And I want to kill my former neighbors (who are responsible for the death of one of my beloved cats.)

    For someone who hasn’t worked for 10 years, I could give a shit what someone thinks about whatever I might say on Facebook. I am also relaxed about all that because, unless you are determined, work for cash and found someone to rent to you without giving any personal information, then you can’t escape the grid. If Facebook doesn’t have your personal info, then someone else does.

    I enjoy looking at the all the dumbass photos of people who I knew long ago, and laughing patronizingly at their fat, ugly wives or pathetically pointless lives. Being smug and superior is probably no way to go through life, but there you go. Like poor white sharecroppers who supported slavery for their need to be superior to *someone,* this is my lot in life. Long may it continue.

  • 51. lud  |  June 4th, 2010 at 10:56 am

    If you consider facebook merely a modern-day teledex, by which one can stay in touch with friends, former co-workers and relatives from around the world, then one can see what a valuable tool it can be.

    Sure it can be used in silly ways, ie silly and inane posts, or overposts. But, you can choose your friends online just as you can in real life. Why complain about that?

  • 52. Zirb  |  June 6th, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    Captures something very well

  • 53. Myf  |  June 7th, 2010 at 6:47 am

    All social networking is e-mail with pictures. Recent changes have just made it more spammy. Very appropriate!! I think!! cause email has spam too! !!! Maybe it will change, maybe it won’t, I don’t fuckin know, I Don’t read wired magazine

  • 54. matt  |  June 8th, 2010 at 8:25 am


    This is what I love the exile for. Keep up the good work!

  • 55. Carolyn  |  June 10th, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    I just deleted my account. I knew it was the right thing to do before I read this article, as usual I just needed the exile to push me down the path of moral righteousness. Apparently I have another two weeks until all of my comments, photos, whatnot, will be deleted permanently. After that, so long as I don’t login in the meantime, the killing of my virtual self will be complete and irreversible. I feel like I’ve just taken a shower after a really long train trip, where you pee with your butt over the train toilet, careful not to sit down, and in the process usually end up pissing down your thigh. Feels a lot like that.

  • 56. Carolyn  |  June 10th, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Already I want to kill my coworkers less.

  • 57. Carolyn  |  June 10th, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Ooh, it’s like unplugging yourself from the Matrix.

  • 58. XXXXXXXX [CENSORED]  |  June 15th, 2010 at 9:34 pm


    FaceBook has became a flea market farm for wanna be marketers. They are taken over facebook and spamming other friends like crazy.

    Me as a 10 yr Internet Marketer, I’m just over stated that people will use this type of marketing instead of doing the old seo that works. I personally do seo for over a hundred of my clients when it comes to my company.

    I try to let them know that facebook is a good place to start to get your band out there, but its not the place to setup shop for a lifetime. I even wrote on blog on this subject called “FaceBook Wanna Be Marketers” you can Google it if you want to read it.

    I’m sorry for getting so far off subject, but I just had to express my fillings of the facebook is going..which in the hole like MySpace in a couple of years if people just keep this up.

    Thanks for this post, and this is “XXXXXXXXX [COMMENT CENSOR SAYS: “No free self promotion here, ass wipe.] Singing Out”

  • 59. Bruce  |  June 20th, 2010 at 7:00 am

    Very interesting article Eileen.
    I was toying with the idea of joining Facebook but your article has affirmed my belief that it is a load of inane rubbish soon to be replaced by the next internet fad. I’m keeping well clear.

  • 60. Richann Wright  |  July 4th, 2010 at 1:32 pm


  • 61. Kadin Wisniewski  |  July 8th, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    “Facey B is for stupid, vain, self-absorbed idiots.”

    Um… that’s a pretty ridiculous generalization to be making, I think. Lots of people on Facebook are stupid, vain, and self-absorbed, but hey, lots of people in the world are stupid, vain, and self-absorbed. GENERALLY, Facebook is for people who want to keep in contact with people they don’t see very often or haven’t seen in a while. It’s just another convenient means of communication, like email or phones.

    And I think all the complaints that people have about it are really stupid, because they’re all easily solveable…

    “People I don’t know keep friending me!”
    Don’t accept their requests.

    “I keep seeing all this stuff I don’t care about in my feed!”
    You can control who does and doesn’t show up in your feed.

    “All these ads on the sides of the screen are so annoying!”
    All of them have little x’s that you can click on to make them disappear.

    All of the problems people have with Facebook are solved with a little common sense and observation. I don’t get why anyone would have so much beef with the site. Bottom line is, if you don’t like it, shut up and just don’t use it.

  • 62. Billy  |  July 19th, 2010 at 7:55 am

    This article is misleading and pathetic.

  • 63. doug winspear  |  August 10th, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    well, Ms. Jones, I suggest that you try my approach to the Facebook existential dilemma. Personally I recommend smoking something along the line of “Blue Haze”, a brand of hydroponic which allows you, alas chemically, to see it all as theater. Of course, Fecebook renders the idea of “friends” absolutely absurd. When I think of a certain lady that I know who’d visited chez moi one night and we did, with my encouragement, and a few tokes of the aforementioned “brand”, a re-enactment of a magical night, say, in the late sixties….so, she being a product of an era where all aspects of being are commodities, had never gotten to experience aimless fun, and sex for the whatever of it. So, what happened. She stopped answering her phone, started posting on Facebook…pseudo-intellectual drivel-thid-rate arthouse movies, horrible Indy bands, boring, pretentious Details magazine type photos, etc…Facebook is the ultimate safe sex…to add insult to injury, she’d picked up this local Irish meatball as stud service, and when she finally asnwered my calls, I casually asked her if she’d mentioned that she was going for a Masters in Philo…(on Heidegger-authenticity, right) she got huffy and said, “why would I do that???”
    This is the type of stuff I write on Facebook. It keeps me sane, so to speak.

  • 64. Mark  |  June 7th, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    I wasted my time writing a long-winded zinger here that was loaded with contradictions and contradictions within contradictions. It’s a shame that the moderator, who was almost ready to post it, accidentally clicked the “ImProve-3.0” button and rendered my incredibly clever post a complete waste of time. Sort of like my existence.

  • 65. Tiban tapo  |  June 13th, 2011 at 2:27 am

    Luv fb,it never allow sm 1 2 sy hurtng bye

  • 66. Tiban tapo  |  June 13th, 2011 at 2:48 am

    Dumbing people down n 2 ease da feelng u get whn u sy good bye to sm one u get alone with, bt know that u vl never see again it cancel out da whole final good bye i only joined coz of ma lost angels thnkng ths da way to meet once again if required shrt version,its for women cant let go of being da center of attention like high shool so they ll p some pity bait sad event in thier life so all the attention condolences roll in its for guys who wants to post picture of hw awesome they are to impress gals

  • 67. john  |  July 8th, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    probably the best text i’ve ever read. who are u?

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