Remember MySpace? Justin Timberlake and his $35 million dollar investment seriously wish you would. Though I didn’t spend much time in the social networking world during the mid-2000s, I did join and was thrilled to discover that I immediately had a friend in Tom Anderson. You know, Tom – the cute guy in the white tee who grinned over his shoulder at you with a whiteboard behind him. True, my excitement deflated a tad when I discovered that Tom Anderson was cozy with literally everyone on MySpace – apparently, he automatically became your friend the second you signed up. But still, just seeing his smiling face on my page made me feel better about the fact that he was the only smiling face on my page for awhile.
Fast forward to the year 2008. After being needled by our friends incessantly, I finally broke down and joined Facebook. For a day or two, my Facebook page just sat there. Lonely. Drinking hard liquor. Thinking dark thoughts. Finally, I asked my soon-to-be Hubby to friend me. My page couldn’t take the solitude. Then the friend requests and acceptances started rolling in, until I began deleting the friends whom I still couldn’t remember from geometry class and the ones who posted quotes by Ann Coulter without a hint of irony. For awhile, the banter was fast and furious. I played Scrabble with online friends, posted puns in a private Facebook group, reconnected with school chums, and ignored 18,000 requests to water my friends’ tomatoes or milk their imaginary cows.
Until this little film came out about a guy named Mark Zuckerberg. Like everyone in the country, I paid my nine bucks to see The Social Network, then left cursing Zuckerberg and the machine into which I’d been lured by a smarmy-faced, Harvard dropout. The fact that Facebook had started as a method of comparing the relative hotness of Ivy League coeds disgusted me. I vowed to close my account and start writing letters again. By hand. On pretty stationery.
Then I remembered what it felt like to actually write with a pen. Ugh! The arduous drag of ink against paper. The hand cramps. The annoying callous that would form against the inside of my middle finger. The postage. Considering how much the price of stamps has increased over the last decade, Hubby and I would have to move into a tiny efficiency and eat ramen noodles for dinner every night just to afford the cost of mailing letters to all 200+ of my Facebook friends. And how would all my buddies see how cute my cats are on a daily basis? Or that artsy Instagram shot I took of an orange door? The cost of printing and mailing photos to my chums would be astronomical. Forget the efficiency. My husband and I would be huddled in a soggy refrigerator box next to a dumpster, gnawing on chunks of six day old Cuban bread that someone had tossed out because it was harder than Anderson Cooper at a Chippendales performance.
So despite my concerns that Da Man was quietly using my Facebook status updates, private messages and photos to compile a dossier on me so vast it would make Bin Laden’s look like a Wikipedia entry, I continued to reside in Zuckerberg’s cyber world. As he smugly went about his day in his Adidas flip-flops and waxed humble by living in a modest home in Palo Alto, I watched as my circle of friends slowly became less enthralled with the Facebook universe altogether. There were complaints about formatting changes like Timeline and apprehension about privacy settings that randomly changed without any warning - like the recent one that allowed all of my conservative, Born Again relatives to access posts on my not-so-conservative, agnostic blog. Thanks a lot, Mark Zuckerberg. You better be by my side, backing my ass up at the next family reunion.
Still, many Facebook users remained loyal because their fearless leader wasn’t truly selling friendship and open communication, but games like CityVille, Mafia Wars, Bejeweled and The Sims Social, otherwise know as crack to middle-aged women (according to the tech website, Gigaom, the average social gamer is a 43-year old woman). Yes, Mark Zuckerberg is a drug-peddling, slimeball selling bored, disenfranchised overweight women the cyber life (and farm animals) they’ve always wanted. But, dude, even the local drug dealer drops by and says hello now and then. If he wants to keep you as a customer, he’ll make small talk and laugh at a joke or two before any (ahem) business transaction takes place. Or so I hear. But not Zuckerberg.
Where’s the love, man? Zuckerberg’s never sent me a friend request. He’s never liked one of my witty status updates or a photo of my cats. The dude’s certainly never bothered to share one of my blog posts. Granted, I don’t really know Mark Zuckerberg, but considering he just earned over a billion dollars when he sold a paltry 30 million of his reported 500 million Facebook shares, I feel like the man could show me a little love. After all, another 900 million folks and I helped him become one of the world’s youngest billionaires; the least he could do is acknowledge my existence. Maybe say, “Thanks for not dropping me after that privacy gaffe that got you disowned by your family.”
Seriously, how cool would it be if Zuckerberg tasked a few of his 3200 employees with simply liking things Facebook users posted at random? Considering he’s a tech genius, couldn’t he easily program an application that wished every Facebook user a “Happy Birthday” (except for the Jehovah’s Witnesses, of course) on their special day? Depending on your chosen religion, Zuckerberg could shoot you a Facebook e-card wishing you all the joys of your particular holiday season. Hell, I’m easy to please. I still get a warm fuzzy feeling when I open up that Christmas card I get every December from my insurance company. And maybe once a year, the Zuckmeister himself could sit down in front of the computer and do nothing but comment - yes, I said the C-word – on random posts. Imagine how many times Facebook users would check their profiles that day in the hope that Mark Zuckerberg had typed, “This is hilarious! ROFL” beneath a photo of their labrador clenching a vibrator between it’s teeth.
So if you’re listening Mark Zuckerberg, I’m here to tell you that your new wife isn’t the only one out there who needs some lovin’. Google+ might not be that big of a threat to your masculinity, but Pinterest has captured the nation’s attention and I might reconsider MySpace if Justin Timberlake is willing to show me exactly what’s in that box he keeps singing about. All I’m asking for is a little LOL action on your part. Like Sally Field, I need you to like me. Really like me.
And if you don’t have it in you, consider hiring Tom Anderson to do the job for you. He’s an old friend of mine.
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