Confessions of a Groupie | Musings on Popular Culture

facebooktee2.jpgFacebook is the new. . .








Shortly after giving birth to my second child this summer, my girlfriend suggested I join Facebook, lest I spend my three months at home with the baby with virtually no social interaction that didn’t involve breastfeeding. I went in reluctantly. I’d had a MySpace page for about two years, of which the last year I hadn’t even logged on. It was fun at first to change my layout and song every week or so, but the excitement wore off quickly. I pretty much dismissed it as being for 16-year-olds and bands trying to promote themselves to 16-year-olds.

But Facebook. . .   It was . . . different. Stripped down and more about interaction than appearances. More refined, but not "stuffy" like LinkedIn. I was hooked. There are few things you can do while breastfeeding a newborn baby (TMI?), but one of them is browse Facebook. I think the thing actually saved me from going into postpartum depression due to lack of adult interaction.

Since that time, I have become a full-fledged junkie. I just got an iPhone for Christmas, and guess what the first app I downloaded was? But it appears that I am not alone. It also appears that, unlike MySpace, it’s catching on with the post-graduate set. In fact, according to the site’s demographic data, Facebook now has 5.2 million active users between the ages of 35-44, with nearly a million of those joining up in just the last two months.

Facebook has rapidly evolved into many things for many people and has truly taken over as the latest pop culture phenomenon.  Here is my assessment of the seeming voids this social network provides us on a daily basis. Feel free to add your own.

Facebook is the new . . .

Verb – People now use the terms "facebooking" and "friending" as active verbs in everyday conversation. It’s just a matter of time before Merriam Webster’s catches on.

Water Cooler – In the olden days, people would gather round’ the office water cooler to chat about current events and their favorite TV shows. Why get up when you can "gather" and debate the outcome of season 5 of LOST or who will be the next American Idol with everyone you know from the comfort of your chair.

Drunk Dial – Gone are the days of calling your ex’s answering machine at 2 a.m. after five or six Long Island iced teas. Now you can get on FB and leave unintelligible, poorly typed, stalker posts for all the world (or at least all their friends) to see.

Flirt – Now you don’t even have to be in the same state as someone to flirt with them. Just send them some Good Karma or a drink or leave a witty comment on their status update and make sure you have plenty of "glamour shots" of yourself on your photo page.

Lost & Found – Remember the boy who snapped your training bra on the playground in the sixth grade? He’s on Facebook, and chances are, sooner or later he will find you. Or your old college roommate who you haven’t seen since the last time Jane’s Addiction toured? You can find her too. If you can’t yet, give it another month or so. It’s no longer possible to "lose touch" with people, now that they are all gathered neatly in one place. It’s like a little library of your life.

High School Reunion – No need to lose 10 lbs and get a new outfit for the next class reunion. Just join Facebook and you will instantly be connected with most of your classmates, whether you remember them or not. I have received easily 10 friend requests from people I went to high school with who I have no recollection of whatsoever. This may be the strangest part of the FB experience.

Way to spice up your marriage/relationship
– I finally got my husband to (reluctantly) join Facebook, and now he’s as hooked as I am. We often tease each other and leave each other silly comments on FB. In fact, there are times – I’m almost ashamed to admit – we may be sitting across the room from each other on our laptops, commenting on each other’s Facebook pages. Why this is more fun than actually having a conversation, I do not know, but it kind of is. It’s sort of like when you used to pass notes in class, gives you a little rush. I’m a firm believer that any kind of open communication between couples is a good thing. Play a little Facebook game with your honey today.

Way to waste time at work – If you are lucky enough to work at a company that does not block social networking sites (those who are not I feel for you, it must be a miserable existence), you know that Facebook is the ultimate work distraction. No longer do you need to blindly surf the web, reading The Onion or watching YouTube videos. Now you can chat with your friends all day long, or at least when the boss isn’t watching.

Actual hours spent on Facebook in the writing of this article: 25 | Amy Burger

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