Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It might be a good time to step away from Twitter.

I have used a little bit of Twitter in the past, however, I really didn't see the point to it.  Why post things to the world and be limited to 140 characters of text?  I tried to see it from others points of view, but whenever I would log in I could not even get myself to feel like it was worth the time.  I will admit, Facebook was addictive.  Twitter, however, was overhyped and ultra-disappointing.

On the same note, I recently read an article about a woman who was accused of urging TV presenter Charlotte Dawson and one of her Twitter followers to "go hang yourself" having been suspended from her university mentoring job.

Sadly, more people are finding their lives affected by (a)social sites such as Twitter.  I must agree that mocking a suicide is something that is in very bad taste.  Would a person say this to a stranger in a face to face conversation?  I doubt many would.  So why say it on the internet?  Even if one particularly does not like another person, there is no reason to act in such a manner just because you are hidden behind the safety of a computer screen

Strangely, some people claim that people are the same on and off (a)social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.  The truth is, many people are not the same person on and off these (a)social sites.  The internet and the (a)social networking sites that comprise it are fantasy worlds where people can be and act however they want without fear of the same types of repercussions that would take place in the 'real world'.  Why would a person chose to not act like they are more intelligent (or less so), or flat out lie to get what he/she desires on Facebook?  I can't even begin to state how many people I knew who skewed their lives to look glamorous, like something out of a television show, when in reality, their lives were just as normal as anyone else's.  The need to be better than everyone else and live a super-life is truly apparent in the world of (a)social networking.

On the subject of Twitter, I have found that the internet has become less and less creative ever since (a)social networking sites took over.  For example, I used to read the blogs that my sisters wrote online and enjoyed learning about them and their lives.  I would read about the places they lived and traveled, fiction they would write, and their thoughts about growing up.  Now all of that takes place on sites like Facebook and/or Twitter.  It's a little hard to tell a narrative about your deepest thoughts in life with only 140 characters of text.  Now the only thing I see from these people that are creative are pictures of their food and snippets of what they dislike about their jobs and others.  Sometimes they would do a little online survey that would tell the world how many children they could expect to have.  Sadly, sites like Twitter and Facebook have reduced the world to a mental sludge

It baffles me that Twitter is still so popular.  Do people really need to be "connected" to strangers and long-lost acquaintances all of the time?  Is this type of behavior, this addiction, healthy?  What is it about this site, possibly the worst site on the internet, that draws people.  Why do people literally spend their entire day zombified on Twitter?  Why can't some people just back away from this site?  What value does Twitter have?  I can't seem to find any true substantial value to this site.  In the end, such (a)social networking sites only bring the users down.  Addiction is the result and upon that turning of the final page in life, many will look back upon a life spent as a slave to the internet and (a)social networking.  Is this honestly how you want to spend your life?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Family Torn (by Facebook): Part II

Here is the first part of "A Family Torn (by Facebook).

The following story represents the discord that Facebook and (a)social media has wrought in the home of the 'typical' family.  

A Family Torn

Tiffany sat with her fingers furiously moving across the keyboard on her phone as her mother, Linda, drove her to her school.  Tiffany did not look up at all as she typed.  The mother and daughter both sat in awkward silence as the car rushed towards Lakeview High School.  Linda pulled into the school parking lot behind a couple of school buses and Tiffany opened the door, almost dropping her phone onto the pavement below.  "Thanks mom!  See you tonight," Tiffany said, walking off.  Linda looked behind her to pull back out, noticing her daughter moving ever slowly while typing on her phone. 

So what, she uses her phone a lot, Linda thought to herself, it's not worth getting worked up over.  Linda pulled out of the school and made her way to her job.  She realized that she had a headache now developing and it seemed to be going nowhere.  Her eyes watered as she made her way down an arterial street towards the freeway that would lead to her place of employment.  A car slammed on its breaks in front of her and she found herself almost rear ending it.  Her head continued to pound.  I can't go in like this.

A few minutes later, Linda's car moved into her driveway and she climbed out of it.  She made her way toward the front door.  Upon reaching it, Linda realized that she left the keys in the car.  Great, she thought to herself.  She went to open the car door and noticed that it was locked.  The keys dangled in plain view right in front of her.  Her cellular phone and purse were on the passenger's seat.  Linda looked at them, then, feeling her head pounding, she began to cry.

Linda sat on the step in front of the main door of her house while cars passed.  A young kid came by and offered to tell her about his spiritual beliefs and the path towards salvation.  Linda shook her head at him but accepted a pamphlet that he gave her.  It sat on the cement next to her.  Hours slowly passed as neighbors drove by, pretending to not look at her.  I wish I could text message Tiffany, Linda thought.  How did people ever live without cellular phones? 

Eventually five o'clock came and Greg's car pulled into the driveway behind Linda's.  Greg got out of the car, opening his cellular phone for a moment.  "What happened?" Greg questioned, looking at Linda who stood up.  Her face was red from being in the sun all day.  She moved toward him slowly and told him that her keys were locked in the car.

"I take it you were not able to pick up Tiffany?" Greg asked.  He unlocked Linda's car door and handed her the keys and her purse.  She looked at her phone and noticed there were about twenty text messages between her daughter and her boss.  "I am going to get her now," Linda said. 
"I can do it," Greg said, walking back to his car.
"No, I will," Linda said, not wanting the two to get into another argument.
"You are clearly in no condition to drive.  Go rest," Greg said, getting into his late model Honda and pulling back out of the driveway. 
"Don't start anything with her!" Linda yelled, feeling her head throb with each word.

"Your father is going to pick you up right now," Linda texted to Tiffany.  Linda felt her face burning and went inside the house as Greg's car disappeared down the street.

Tiffany sat near a large pine tree where she sent texts to her friends and updated her beloved Facebook profile.  Greg arrived, noticing his daughter in the school yard texting like a fiend.  He waited for her to notice him, eventually realizing that he could sit there all evening and deep into night and she would probably not look up.  He honked once and she still did not budge.  One more honk got her attention.  She stood up, in the middle of a text, and wandered slowly towards the car, continuing to send her all-important text message. 

"Finally," she said, getting into the car. 
"Not a thank you?" Greg asked.
"I've been waiting for almost three hours," Tiffany huffed.
"Your mom had some trouble.  And you're doing the same thing here as you would have done at home."
"It's embarrassing being left at the school like that," Tiffany said.
"You know, it's only a couple of miles to home.  You could have walked."
"I don't think so dad."
There was a long pause as Greg drove them toward the house.
"I think we need to have a talk," he said, pulling the car over to the side of the street a few blocks from home.
"About what?" Tiffany said, now updating her Facebook profile.
"You are literally always on that phone of yours.  You don't have any life outside of it."
"Yes I do.  I have friends on here.  I don't get what your problem is with it."
"I don't think it's healthy for you."
"Mom said to leave me alone about it.  She said..."
"Well, I say different, and your mother is not the only boss in this family."
"I think I am going to walk after all," Tiffany said, climbing out of the car.
"You are out of control!" Greg yelled out of the window as he drove slowly behind her.  He honked at her once but she didn't look back. 

Greg knew that he would hear about this from Linda and slowly watched from behind as Tiffany made her way home.  She walked slower than ever, glued to her phone, texting friends and updating her Facebook profile.  Sometimes she would stop to send a tweet and a person who walked behind her would pass by, exasperated.

Sometimes Tiffany would walk through a lawn, oblivious to the fact she had left the sidewalk as she texted and typed and sent the all-important messages to her friends.  At one point she almost tripped over a fire hydrant!  Her father watched, perplexed as she hit a mailbox as she moved slowly forward.  She stood in front of it for about a minute and a half as she finished a text. 

Although Tiffany only had to walk five blocks to her house, it took her nearly half an hour!  Linda watched as Greg pulled into the driveway and Tiffany walked slowly down the sidewalk.  Linda covered her head, which was now crimson red, and made her way down the stairs to confront her husband.  She was fuming with anger at this point, and wondered why in the world Tiffany was walking home and Greg was following her slowly in the car.  There would have to be some answers.

To be continued...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Is the internet losing its luster?

It seems that as time passes, the internet is turning less and less useful.  Once a bastion of information, the internet now has become a haven for (a)social networks, scams, and widespread whining, complaining, and narcissism.  For example, a few years back finding legitimate information was quite easy.  Now, when one searches for something on the internet, they must literally sift through scam after scam, irrelevant information, and the inordinate amount of (a)social networks that are trying to gain a stranglehold on the internet.

The internet also has become a literal home to some who have very little of an offline life.  As I find myself surfing through message boards and blogs, I see widespread complaining about everything imaginable.  And if it's not complaining that I am reading, I find that the bragging is rampant.  On (a)social networks, before I departed, people seemed to either whine and complain about the world or exaggerate excessively about their own lives.  In fact, I have compiled a small list of the types of people I now see on the internet.

1.  The Hyper-Bragger

Insecure about their lives, they will do and say anything to make their existence on this earth seem large.  They are usually on (a)social networks like Facebook and Twitter, posting constantly about the most mundane aspects of their lives as if it is a milestone.  Every accomplishment, no matter how minute, is broadcasted to every person who they have ever met who has an online profile.  If you went to school with them, even for a few weeks, you are probably on their friends list.  They live on the internet and there is little chance that they will ever leave.

2.  The Ultra-Depressive

These people seem to make it their goal in life to make you feel either sorry for them or miserable yourself.  They will share with you every sad story that has taken place in their life.  Oftentimes these stories are highly exaggerated and pale in comparison to those with truly hard lives (those who were abused, raped, lived in extreme poverty, etc.).  Oftentimes they may hang out on message boards having to do with psychological issues or even blog about their trials and tribulations.  No matter what advice they procure from you, they will not do anything to change their life.  There existence on the internet is purely vampirical in nature, to suck your emotions and pity from you and channel it to them. 

3.  The "I did it, but you can not"

These people are both proud and wary of their accomplishment(s).  It may have been a fluke that they were able to land a good job, visit an exotic place, or buy a house at just the right time.  But don't expect to be able to do it yourself.  The odds are against you.  And it's just too competitive to try.  After all, they were lucky that it happened to them.   You can't expect similar results.

These people are proud and miserable at the same time.  It's actually quite a paradox.  They will sit in on internet message boards or in chat rooms telling the world how hard life is, and warning people of the pitfalls of life.  When asked about how they got through it, it was just a fluke -- the world is still an awful place.  You can't expect to do well.  They could not have expected it either, but they were lucky.

4.  The "I could not do it, and neither can you"

This is a lot like #3, but instead of them being able to do something that you could not do, they can't, and as such, there is no way you can.  Getting a job at X company is too difficult, it's too competitive to try.  Don't think about moving to Y city, it's too expensive.  Getting into Z college was impossible for me, there is no way you can do it.  These people, if listened to, will bring you down and make you feel lethargic when it comes to trying to do anything that you may have dreamed of doing.  The internet is full of this type of individual.  In fact, the internet is a welcoming place for this type of person, because nobody has to try to be online.  In fact, it's easy and almost fun to complain for many on the internet, and the idea of someone else getting ahead, even if they have vastly different skills and life experiences than this type of person, is an awful thought. 


The internet is still useful for certain things.  Finding recipes is something that I use the internet for.  Also, there is some good information about there.  But you really have to dig for it.  It is said that newspapers are written at a third grade level.  Internet news, such as Yahoo news, is even more dumbed down.  If this is the way people enjoy getting their information, I must say I want no part of it.  I blame some of it on the internet trying too hard to be a "social" place.  The internet was supposed to be a resource for information, not a place to hang out and brag, exaggerate, lie, and complain.  However, I am seeing far too many people doing just that.  The good is that it makes me feel that I am not missing out much when I log off the internet.  I used to spend far too much time on here.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

I relapsed...

Today, when I awoke, I felt like something horrible had happened.  There have been a few times in my life where I have woke up feeling dead inside.  One recent example was when my beloved pet died a few years back.  I was distraught and it was a very painful experience for me.  There have been other times where I was a child or teenager, realizing that I had done something horrible.

However, when I woke up this morning, I just knew something awful had happened yesterday.  For the first few seconds there is a type of  waking peace and then, like a Peterbilt pulling a Boydstun stinger trailer, it hits you.  It hits you hard.  What happened?  I searched in my mind, knowing that something sinister had happened.  Oh yeah, I was on Facebook.

I relapsed in a way.  I had permanently deleted my Facebook a month and a half ago, but my wife had only deactivated hers (which means she can log in and reactivate at any time).  She has many of the same friends and family members on her Facebook that I had.  Recently she was talking to her mother on the phone and her mom told her that her sister was finding some really interesting genealogy pictures on the internet.  The only problem; this girl does not do anything outside of Facebook.  So, in order to actually see the pictures that my wife's sister posted, my wife would have to log back onto Facebook.  Now you are starting to understand the dilemma. 

Well, she told me about it, and I understood.  After all, if my wife wants to use Facebook, she is perfectly free to do so.  And how could I not understand her want to?  It was the only way she would get to see the genealogy pictures.  So, last night she logged on and went to look for the pictures.  Well, I look over to see she's on Facebook and right there in the middle is something my mother said.  I don't know what Sigmund Freud would say about this, but I rushed to the screen, and clicked frantically on my mother's picture/profile.  I just had to see everything that this person -- my mother -- was doing lately.  I scanned through her profile, reading every word she had typed, furiously wondering what I had missed.  I was like a crack fiend grabbing at my next fix.  Facebook truly is an addiction, and I seriously question anyone who says that it isn't or can not be.

Well, feeling quite dirty, and somewhat embarassed, I let my wife look at the pictures of her family's past.  She found it mildly entertaining that I rushed to see what my mother had been up to.  She said I should post about it, so here I am, confessing to the world of my dirty deed.  Giving up Facebook is no easy task.  I am constantly reminded about how society seems to want everyone on the site.  You are told that you are missing out on the lives of other people if you are not on the site.  Looking at my mother's profile, I honestly felt like I have dropped off the face of the planet.  Neither my wife nor I are mentioned in anyone's posts.  We are pretty much removed from everyone's lives.  In fact, my wife was upset that her sister was recently passed by New York City(she lives in the state of Washington) the other day and didn't even call to tell her that she was in the area.  Had the tables been turned, my wife would have been on the receiving end of a very hateful phone call and possible family feud would have erupted.  Further, my wife knows deep down inside that had she been on Facebook she might have got a visit.  If you are not on Facebook, it truly seems like you are forgotten or passed over.  It truly is sad.

In the end, I was glad I was not on Facebook.  I felt so nasty just for looking at the site.  I am always perplexed at how people feel the need to share every small part of their life.  I don't need to see my sister-in-law say over and over again "I am going to start being real.  I am going to start being myself and not care what anyone else thinks".  I don't need to feel 'connected' to the world via the internet.  Again, I want to reiterate that it is not a real connection.  Why would I want to be involved online with someone who ignores my existence when I am offline? 

I asked my wife if she missed being on Facebook.  She said she misses the idea of what it could be, but realizes it is different than how she would like to imagine it.  It's a bragging contest where everyone is, in the end, only bragging to themselves.  In all honesty, I am reminded at how glad I am to have left the site, and I am reminded how easy it is to be pulled back.  Good riddance.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Does not being on Facebook make you a sociopath?

According to: An article by UK site DailyMail, some are saying that not being on Facebook makes you suspicious. 
'Facebook has become such a pervasive force in modern society that increasing numbers of employers, and even some psychologists, believe people who aren't on social networking sites are 'suspicious.'

The German magazine Der Taggspiegel went so far as to point out that accused theater shooter James Holmes and Norwegian mass murder Anders Behring Breivik have common ground in their lack of Facebook profiles.
On a more tangible level, reports that human resources departments across the country are becoming more wary of young job candidates who don't use the site.'
Forbes posted a similar story.  For some reason some HR managers think that hiring employees who are addicted to Facebook will be a boon for the company.  Instead, I ask what will happen once these employees spend their time on Facebook instead of actually being productive?  To be honest, I found the Forbes article poorly written. The truth of the matter is that if a person does not want to be on Facebook or any other (a)social networking site, they should not feel the need to be compelled to.  There is nothing wrong with wanting to live a private life, or with not feeling the need to be 'connected' to an imaginary world (and most of what is on Facebook is 'imaginary' -- for example, most people see their lives in a different light than what truly exists). 

Will not being on Facebook hurt my chances of getting a job?
I think that, while there is some talk in the media of some companies thinking that someone is suspicious for not being on Facebook, the truth is, these companies are probably few and far between.  True, you may not get hired at Facebook if you don't have a Facebook account, and some other tech companies may wonder why you have not opted to be 'cool like everyone else'.  However, I have never been asked at a job interview about my presence on Facebook, and I imagine that once I started working for a company, I would have to do a lot more than merely not be on Facebook for the company to part with me.  Further, would I want to work somewhere where I was forced to be on Facebook?  No, I will never trade my beliefs or ideals for a job.  And that should say more about me as a person than not being hooked up to a site that will probably barely exist in ten years. 

News stories like the one above come up from time to time.  Facebook is a controversial issue to many, and one that people love to read about.  It is apparent that the world is obsessed and addicted with Facebook, as can be seen with the sheer amount of media coverage, news articles, books, and other resources devoted to it.  A huge segment of the population wants nothing to do with Facebook, and stories like these will only push people to join.  Well, I won't be one of the ones to join, and I hope that many of my readers can resist as well.

If you feel strongly on this issue, please share this site.  People should not be forced to join a website or do something that they are against.

A Family Torn (by Facebook): part I

The following story represents the discord that Facebook and (a)social media has wrought in the home of the 'typical' family. 

A Family Torn

Greg Harper's back was towards Linda, his wife, as he slurped mouthful after mouthful of cold cereal.  Linda immediately noticed that Greg did not say the morning blessing with her before devouring his corn puffs.  He was clearly upset.

"Well, spit it out," she said, noticing his head immediately move up from his spoon.  "I don't mean that literally.  What's the matter with you today?"
"Nothing," he huffed.  There was obviously something wrong.
"I can tell when something is the matter," Linda said, giving him the eye.
"Well, it's just Tiffany," he said.  "She's constantly on that Facebook."
"I see.  Well, you should not let something so silly ruin your day."
"I don't like it.  She has not been keeping up with the chores we assigned her, and whenever she is away from her room she's always typing on that phone of hers."
"You did buy her that phone," Linda said.
"I wanted to get her a simple phone, for emergencies, but she wanted a touch screen phone with internet.  And you said that was the kind of phone everyone has now."
"Yeah, well she likes it.  I don't see the problem with it."
"I don't think that site is healthy.  Have you seen it?"
"Facebook?" Linda said, sitting down and pouring herself what was left of the cereal.  She reached for the milk as her husband nodded.  "Yeah, I have an account on there, actually.  I use it to keep in touch with my mother and sister, I thought I told you."
"No, I never knew you were on that site.  I see the boys down at work use it, and they try to get me to join, but I say no sir, I'm not going to get myself mixed up with that site."
"Well, that's your choice, but some of us actually do enjoy our time on Facebook.  It's a harmless website.  It's not like she's a into goth culture or those scantly clad suicide girls.  I mean, honestly Greg, what's so bad about it?"
"It seems a huge waste of time.  It gets in the way of actually living.  I can't explain exactly why I feel that way, but it bothers me."
"Well, that's just too bad.  More people are on that site every day.  In fact, I heard on the news Mark Zuckerburg, the guy who started it is one of the richest men in the world now."
"I don't need to be reminded that Mark Suckerturd has money."
"Watch your mouth, Greg.  There's no reason to start name calling," Linda said crossly. 
"Well, I am getting sick of seeing Facebook and that IPO on the news all the time.  It's bad enough my 401k had invested some in it.  Some of the boys actually put money on that site, as if it was going to be worth something."
"Well, it is bound to go up.  Most stocks fluctuate.  Anyway, I have to go to work.  And please, don't get yourself worked up about this.  I know how you are when you go on one of your crusades."



Linda and Greg are sitting on the sofa, facing the television, watching a film that they rented from one of those rent-by-mail movie sites that have flushed out the brick and mortar stores where a person could at one time go browse for a movie and pick something up as a family.  In fact, this was Greg's last 'crusade', but he eventually gave in to not worrying about it, and now he rarely brings it up.

"Good movie, huh?", Greg said, as he moved towards the DVD player, removing the disk.
"Yeah, I have always liked Anne Hathaway," Linda answered.
"What about you, Tiff, did you enjoy it?"
"Huh?" Tiff said, looking up.  Tiffany was about fifteen at this point in time.  She had red hair and freckles and was thin, somewhat lanky.  Her pale fingers were long and bony, as she used them to quickly navigate her phone.  "Oh, I didn't really pay much attention."
"Are you on that Facebook site again?"
"Yeah, why?" She said, not looking up.
"I just thought we could have a nice family movie, you know, like we do every Thursday."
"It was nice," Tiffany said, still looking down at the phone.
"I agree," Linda said, giving Greg a certain look which said 'enough'.
"Well, I say next time we rent a movie we should put the phone away."
"Dad, I'm not eight anymore.  I have friends and I like to talk to them."
"During the movie?" Greg said in a shocked tone.
"Yes, dad."
"But you talk to them at school.  Not during a family event."
"It's just a movie," Tiffany said.
"Greg, enough,"  Linda added
"No, it's not just a movie, it's time with family.  It's something special that we have been doing for a long time now.  I just don't understand why you are on that site all the time."
"Well, maybe you should get one dad, so you do understand it.  I don't know why you bought me this phone if you don't want me to use it."
"I bought it in case of an emergency.  And I am thinking about taking it away."
"Greg!  You are not taking her phone.  She's done nothing wrong.  Now this is enough.  She doesn't have to watch every movie we get in the mail," Linda said.
"She helped choose which one to have sent!  And she has not been paying attention to any of them since she got that phone!"
"It's her choice," Linda said. 
"I don't think I want to do movie night anymore anyway.  I don't really see the point in it.  I see the movies I like with my friends anyway."
"What, you can't be serious!  No, wait, you just want to sit up in your room and use that Facebook all night instead of do anything with this family."
"Greg!  That's her choice.  Leave her alone!"
"I can't believe you are siding with her.  That site is causing some serious problems in this house and I won't have it!"
"Dad, please, if it bothers you that much..." Tiffany said, almost beginning to cry.
"Tiffany, don't worry about your father, he is just going into one of his tantrums again.  If you want to use Facebook or your phone to be social, that is your choice."
"I have had enough of this!" Greg said, standing up and walking out of the room.  "Curse Facebook!  Curse Suckerturd!"
Linda sat there, rolling her eyes as Tiffany began to play with her phone.


Linda made her way to the bedroom and began to change into her sleeping clothing.  Greg laid on the bed clad only in his boxer briefs.  His eyes were closed and pointed toward the ceiling.  Linda was quiet as she changed, thinking Greg was asleep.

"I hate that site.  I hate this social computer crap."
"I thought you were asleep.  You know, doctors say this stress is bad for a person. Just the other day Dr. Phil tweeted about it."
"I don't care who tweeted what.  That's another site I can't stand.  What is the point in telling the world something and being limited to a small amount of words.  It's asinine!"
"What matters is that people with stress end up dying a lot sooner than people who are happy."
"I would be happy if you took that phone away from Tiffany and flushed it down the toilet.  If she wants a phone I'll get her a pay as you go phone with a black and green screen and no text capabilities, no internet, and..."
"And what would that solve?"
"We should have never got her a phone with internet!  I told you that was a horrid idea!"
"And I'm still not convinced Greg.  I think it's wonderful that Tiffany gets so much joy out of it.  Why don't you like your daughter being happy?"
"She's not going to be happy with it forever.  I see the boys at work..."
"I don't want to hear about the boys at work again.  They have foul mouths and nasty ideals."
"You don't get the point, Linda.  The point is people get addicted to that site and feel the need to share every little thing.  Have you even looked at Tiffany's Facebook?"
"Yes, we're friends on there.  She is very creative, and she even posts pictures of the food I cook for dinner.  And it lets me see wherever she goes."
"You're friends with her on that site?  You are just enabling her to be on there!"
"Yes, I am friends with my daughter.  I can see you are starting to try to push her away, and it's starting to bother me.  She's going to be sixteen in a few months and then eighteen only two years later.  I don't want her to leave this family and not talk to us like I did with mine when I turned eighteen."
"It doesn't matter, as long as you are on Facebook and her friend, she'll always stick around," Greg said, clearly angry.
"Greg, I want this to stop.  I really don't want you to even start up on this again.  I mean it.  I am getting worried about all this."
"Fine," Greg said, turning away from Linda as she laid next to him in the bed.
"You know, Dr. Phil said it's not good to go to sleep angry."


Linda walked into the kitchen, where Greg was eating a bowl of rice cereal.  It was piping hot from the microwave.  He did not greet Linda and had a look of exhaustion on his face.  Next to him was the newspaper with a story on the Facebook IPO.  Black ink was on his hand and a black marker was next to him on the table.  The story was covered in black ink. 

"Seriously Greg?" Linda said, looking down at the paper.
He did not answer, but continued to eat.  She grabbed the paper and folded it, setting it on the counter behind him. 
"I wasn't done reading that," Greg snapped.
"You know, you can't ignore that Facebook is everywhere.  You act like it's something alive, something evil.  You act like it has horns or is a beast.  It's just a website.  There's nothing wrong with it."
"I don't care to talk about it with you.  You have obviously been sucked in by it."
"You might want to talk to someone about it then.  It's starting to really interfere with this family.  I almost think you need counseling, and that's saying a lot coming from me.  I mean, usually you are not this bad with things you dislike."
"You know Linda, I think I'm going to just eat on the way to work," Greg said, taking his bowl and dumping the remainder of the cereal into the trash can.  "One day you all are going to see just how stupid this whole Facebook obsession is.  And I will just say I told you so.  But it will be too late."
Linda rolled her eyes as Greg let the bowl fall into the sink. 
"You are acting like a child," she said, as Greg walked out the door. 
This seriously is not right, Linda thought as Tiffany walked towards the kitchen, eyes glued to the cell phone in her hand.  She bumped into the wall as she moved forward.  "Hi mom.  I poked you on Facebook."

To be continued...

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Facebook Compulsions: Dating

Chances are if you are in the dating world you have had a partner who has taken out a cell phone while at a restaurant and began to fumble around on it.  In the modern era, it is a huge possibility (almost guaranteed) they are either texting, or surfing the world of (a)social networking.  In fact, you may look over, while trying to converse with your date, to see their thumbs furiously flapping on Facebook.

Facebook, the denizen of the internet world, has it's hold on the dating world.  Imagine the elation when you walk into a restaurant with a person who you have wanted to be with for a while.  Imagine sitting there, across from that person, looking in their eyes.  All the questions, such as do they really like me, are going through their head.  You are trying to think of something to say, and begin a conversation, and like in the video posted, you are interrupted by their cell phone and (a)social networking. 

Are they telling the world about the date?  Are they checking pictures of a friend or enemy?  Are they complaining about being taken away from the home computer where Facebook is on a larger screen?  Are they commenting on pictures of newborn babies and dirty diapers (something that seems to be supernatural in the world of Facebook).  Are they even interested in you?  Should you still be excited about this date?

Chances are you let it slide, figuring it was something important.  Maybe you bring back the conversation towards getting to know that person better.  But just as you do, the phone comes back out and Facebook becomes the soup du jour. 

What do you do when your date has a Facebook compulsion?  First, let's define the term.  A Facebook compulsion is when a person is so addicted to Facebook and (a)social networking that they compulsively check it no matter where they are or what they are doing.  People suffering from a Facebook compulsion will check Facebook in a restaurant, while driving, in class, in court, or anywhere else they may be.  They don't care when and where they are, if there is a signal, Facebook is up.  This is a real issue, and something that needs to be addressed.

There is not much one can do for a person with such a debilitating mental issue.  The best thing to do is cut the umbilical cord, so to speak.  Destroy the connection.  You must REMOVE the medium from their lives.  Whatever these people use to connect to Facebook must be taken away for them to get a grip on reality.  Facebook and (a)social networking withdrawals are a real issue, so be prepared for whining, crying, and hissing.  They will be upset, and their world is literally being turned upside down without their precious Facebook.

The best thing to do when your date has a Facebook compulsion is to ask yourself if you want to be with someone who can't seem to get by in life without Facebook.  If you are not married to the person, you are in better shape than if you find yourself married to a person who is literally on Facebook life support.  If you realize you don't want to be with this person (no matter how wonderful their other qualities may be), you should tell them exactly why.  The only way for them to see that Facebook and (a)social networking sites like Twitter and MySpace are damaging their lives is for them to be told it straight up.  Tell them you don't want to date someone who is addicted to (a)social networking.  Say that you can not see yourself in a long term relationship or a marriage with a person who can not see past their cellular phone.  Honestly, can you?  Do you want such a relationship?

Hopefully enough of these situations will bring the person with the compulsion back to reality.  Perhaps they will start to look at their life, examine themselves, and realize that they are only damaging their lives by being glued to (a)social networking.  It is truly disheartening to see so many young people literally throw their lives away through Facebook and (a)social networking addiction.  It's sad to see young kids grow into adults with a deep obsession for a false sense of connectedness.  It's a crying shame that the world thinks this behavior is normal, and it's disgusting to think that many people consider those that choose not to be locked into a life of Facebook and other (a)social networking to be social deviants.  Remind yourself: you are not a social deviant for choosing to not be locked into a world of pixels.  There is nothing wrong with a person who chooses to not spend an entire day online looking at other people's Farmville scores.  People will often project the negative aspects about themselves onto others.  Many want to think that they are doing something right by being on Facebook, even though they are truly mistaken.     

There is nothing wrong with you if your date is constantly online during your date.  In fact, if it bothers you and you are not doing the same thing, you are the better person for it.  Congratulate yourself, stand up, and tell your date good night.  Let them know that if they can knock the addiction you will consider trying a date with them again (don't expect one though, they will probably be upset).  It's a move that takes guts, but it's a move that shows a person that is strong enough in their ideals and assertiveness skills.  You will feel better about yourself in the end if you are the one to end it, because if you don't, chances are Facebook and (a)social networking will break you up in the very end.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Facebook: A foul pastime

If there is something foul about your life, it could be Facebook. The foul pastime is taking up an inordinate amount of people's time, and you may be addicted as well. Facebook's goal is sadistic: "to make the world more open and connected." Now, that might sound somewhat good on its face, but what about privacy? Should everyone in the world know what everyone else is doing at all times? I don't think so.  I value my privacy.

Facebook recently announced some "facts and figures" which are interesting to think about:

*Monthly active users now total 901 million (up from 680 million a year ago).
*One in 7.7 people in the world have a Facebook account.
*Daily active users are up to 526 million (up from 372 million last year).
*Monthly mobile users now total 488 million.
*Eighty-three million monthly active users accessed Facebook solely from mobile in the month ending March 31, 2012.
*300 million photos are uploaded to the site each day.
*3.2 billion Likes and Comments are posted daily.
*Hosts 125 billion friendships.
*Revenue for the first quarter of 2012 was $1.058 billion, up from $731 million last year.
*Facebook expected to raise $5 billion in its IPO.
*Facebook paid Instagram the equivalent of $1.01 billion for its business.
*If Facebook increased its current revenue rate it will make from $4.69 to $4.81 on each of its 901 million users each year.
*Facebook hosts 42 million “Pages” with 10 or more likes.
*There are currently 9 million Facebook “apps”.
*Facebook owns 774 of its own US patents.
*Facebook bought an additional 650 patents from Microsoft for $550 million.
*Zynga the online games company (which includes Farmville) contributes 15% of Facebook revenue *Facebook currently has 3,539 full-time employees.

That being said, it seems that Facebook is quite the beast.  The one that made me giggle was one in 7.7 people in the world have a Facebook account.  So what?  Does that mean I should have one?  If anything, it makes me feel better for not having one.  Does Facebook mention that many people actually have more than one account?  Further, does Facebook take into account that many people made accounts that are no longer active, and have not been active for years?  For example, I know of a few people with at least two, and at least one person with three Facebook accounts.  Further, many people make Facebook accounts for things such as their pets, their dead relatives, and their teeth.  Is Facebook counting those?  If so, the number might be a good deal different.

Also, 15% of Facebook's revenue is contributed by a single company.  What happens if people get bored of games like Farmville (and they will after a certain period of time).  Honestly, do you expect people to still be playing similar games ten years from now?  Just because something is hot today doesn't mean it will be around forever.

Also, if Facebook increased its current revenue rate... Facebook probably won't be able to sustain its current revenue stream as people are and will be growing sick of Facebook.  Think about it: it's only so much fun to share the mundane aspects of your life to others.  Further, it gets old hearing about other people's lives really fast.  Do Facebook users think that they can continue hearing about the most mundane aspects of their friends and family forever?  Will people always be satisfied being connected on a superficial level?  I don't think so.  While Facebook is still relatively new, it's starting to lose its novelty factor.  People are going to only gravitate away from Facebook.

When Facebook moves to new countries it may be a novel item there, but its popularity is going to eventually wane in the places where it is very popular.  Before I left Facebook many of my friends had stopped posting on their accounts.  Sure, their account is still active (many people will not deactivate) but they are not logging in very much, and if they do, it's only to glimpse at some random things.  The days of checking Facebook hourly are coming to a close folks, and nobody is more happy about that than me.

That being said, it's still important to help those who are being sucked in by this horrific monster.  It's important to show people that there is a glorious life outside of that nasty ol' internet site.  The same goes for sites like the all-encompassing bastion of hate known as Twitter.  Spending hours on these sites in order to formulate short status updates and tweets is a vile way to pass time.  Facebook is a fowl pastime, and it's time to end it.  Deactivate your Facebook right now and save yourself the bother of having to waste another minute telling the world something they probably don't care to know.