A couple days ago, I was having a rough day at work.  Without going into too much boring detail about what it is I specifically do to keep a roof over my head, I was filling in for a sick co-worker and had to deal all the other office drones (something I loathe).  To vent my frustration, I quickly jumped on Facebook and let loose via my status message.   It was short. It was succinct.  I referred to my co-workers as “mutants.”  I felt so much better afterwards.  Did you just shutter?  Do you think you know where this going?  Want to know what happened next? Nothing. Why? Cause I’m not a moron.

It seems that when the first adopters of Facebook, college kids, brought the social networking site with them to the workforce, older co-workers, bosses, and supervisors joined as well and a new era in office politics was born.  The internet is strewn with tales of Facebook causing workplace conflict, some even resulting in people losing their jobs, as in this rather infamous status update of one young lady with a reply from her boss:

So it’s understandable that people are apprehensive with commenting about their work on Facebook and whenever I post a rant about work I receive several comments that I should watch what I say about my employer.  One friend even suggested that it may cost me possible future positions elsewhere. A sentiment my mother also made a while back when I was being considered for a position with a rather prominent publishing company and she called to remind me to “clear off your Facebook anything offensive.” It made me imagine how that would play out in an interview:

Potential Employer: Well, we think you’re perfect for the job. It’s just that I’m a little concerned about something you wrote on your Facebook status a while back.
Me: Oh, was it the one from college where I said I was going to get so drunk that I was going to “take advantage of myself”?
Potential Employer: No.
Me: The one where I admit to also sleeping with Tiger Woods?
Potential Employer: Er, No…
Me: I know. It was when I called John Meyer “His Royal Doucheness, the King of Douchetania, land of the douche bags.” Wasn’t it?
Potential employer:

As hokey as it sounds, Facebook is supposed to be an outlet and I shouldn’t have to censure myself.  Everything I post on there is exactly what I say to my family and friends.  Yes, maybe I would never say it to the people I work for, but that’s why I’m not friends with them and keep my profile private (I’m only connected with two people I work with and they would never rat me out to management, mainly because they say the same things on their profiles).  The day I watch what I write on Facebook is the day I quit.

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fbOn Friday, some of you (if you’re like me) may have thought that you had stroke—but it was just Facebook changing the layout of its homepage.  “That’s it!” You no doubt yelled, disrupting the bureaucratic quiet of your office.  Co-workers turned to glance from their computer screens, unfazed (they are quite familiar with your outbursts by now).  “I’m done with this shit,” you probably cried. “I’m quitting Facebook!”  If you’re anything like me…

Okay, so I’ll admit it: Within ten minutes, I had posted an updated status message about the latest Facebook layout and how much I hated it.  Look, I know I’ll never quit Facebook.  I’m addicted to it.  Just ask anyone I’m friends with.  I’m always posting links, notes, pictures, mobile updates, status updates, etc.  I’ve actually been told that people enjoy my posts that pop up on their newsfeeds.  Seriously, I’m that awesome.

But this whole foray into possibly finally ending my long and sometime combative relationship with the social networking giant (as brief as it was) churned up a few moments of self-reflection and forced me to ask the question: Just why the hell am I on Facebook?   The answer came quickly, without a moment’s contemplation: To make sure that people I know (but are not really that close with), particularly ex-girlfriends, are living less fulfilling lives than mine.  AND to continue the charade that I’m living the high life that I always hoped I would (but really never did).

So listen up:

  • Everyone I knew growing up in Virginia and stayed there after I moved to New York—I’m living the good life up here.  Partying every night, on a successful and promising career path, and most definitely did not have a dinner that comprised solely of ramen noodles seasoned by my tears last night.
  • Kid I was on the track team with—I don’t want to see photos from your solo motorcycle trip across the country.  Yes, I want a motorcycle.  No, I can’t afford it.  God, I envy you.
  • The girl who sat next to me in trig class—I don’t want to read about your crazy nights out with your close-knit group of friends.  Don’t post pictures either.
  • That chick I hooked up with Sophomore Year—I don’t care about your bachelorette party. Or your wedding ….to your “soul mate.”
  • Guy who I was roommates with for a semester—please stop sharing the details of your incredibly successful and important job that compensates you both with karma and a huge salary.  Also, can I borrow some money?

[ Pic via Facebook.com]

Jon GosselinI like to think of this blog as my outward communication to the world in general. A digital version of a manifesto that I write in my shack secluded in the Montana wilderness. Generally, my writing has focused on observations and statements that explore my bizarre thought process in some vain hope that it will give way to a sort of cathartic exercise in rhetoric. But that’s not what I’m going to do today. No, today is me just being lazy and listing some things that everyone else is obsessed with and I couldn’t care less about. Deal with it.

  • Jon and Kate Gosselin.
    I cannot emphasize how much I do not care about these people. I used to tease my girlfriend that because she watched the show, she helped fed into the fame that played a part in breaking up this family and was thus partly responsible. Now, I just don’t give a shit enough to do that. They had a bunch of kids, got famous for it, and then became assholes. It’s not that interesting a story and certainly not headline news. Whatever problems these people have, I’m pretty sure they’ll work themselves out if everyone just ignores them.
  • Annoying Facebook Games.
    Look, if I’m friends with you on Facebook, it means that I generally think you’re a cool person and don’t absolutely hate you. If I haven’t blocked your status updates, links, or wall posts, it means that you haven’t offended me with misspellings, text abbreviations, or ultra-conservative opinions. But seriously people, enough with the goddamn games. I don’t care about what you’re up to in Mafia Wars or on Farmville. How are you doing? You know, in real life. Also, please stop sending me invitations to join you in said games.
  • Michael Jackson.
    He’s dead. At one point he made great pop music and then probably had inappropriate sexual contact with boys. Just get over it.
  • Chaste Teenage Vampires.
    Sigh. Vampires are an allegory for sexual desire. You know the whole swapping of bodily fluids by penetrating the skin, usually belonging to members of the opposite sex, with fangs …at night. With all this Twilight crap, there’s a perpetuation of a myth more unbelievable than vampires…hot teenagers not having sex.

    In closing, please stop talking about, publicizing, doing, or reading these things…or whatever, I don’t care.

beardI had a beard, it was red and patchy.
I thought it looked distinguished and handsome.
All the girls, though, said it was scratchy.
One lady liked it and oh, we had fun!
It kept my cheeks warm and cozy.
Lost in thought, I would caress it.
No matter what, things came out rosey.
After I shaved, there was regret.
No cool pic for thy facebook profile!
I thought of all the beard possibilities:
Shave my head and look like a villain with style,
Or grown long, a man without responsibilities.
Now, at my mirror, self-reproach I delve.
I think, “Man, I look like I’m twelve!”

Will you be my "It's complicated" on Facebook?

Will you be my "It's complicated" on Facebook?

Before we begin: a bit of personal exposition.  Over the summer, I found myself single for the first time in many years and in November I began seeing a girl—let’s call her “Kate,” because that’s her name.  And after a couple months of chess like moves testing each other’s qualities as a possible significant other (I always find asking varying levels of Star Wars trivia knowledge a key factor.  You want a woman who knows the difference between a Wookiee and an Ewok, yet doesn’t know that Bobba Fett, though raised as his son, was actually Jango Fett’s clone.), we decided to make things serious between us and date each other exclusively. In the old days, this was called “going steady” and is what the kids today call “friend with benefits numero supreme.”

There are certain rituals at the beginning of a new relationship.  You meet each other’s friends, which for me always feels like that cliché where someone finds a bloody corpse and then absent mindedly picks up the murder weapon, just as the cops bust in and he has to convince them that he’s not a murderer.  You explain the origins of scars and tattoos.  And of course, you change your Facebook relationship status.

Is this really where things have ended up?  I’m not against sharing my personal life online, but whenever something is expected of me—I question it.  Kate brought it up a few days ago and asked what my thoughts were on linking our profiles to one another.  I explained that I was fine with selecting “in a relationship” as my status, but was apprehensive about directly linking to her profile.  I felt uncomfortable with people I’m Facebook friends with, but not real world friends with (it is the nature of the beast), judging, or even worse (as in the case of my ex’s) stalking, the woman I’m dating. “I’ll be stalked anyway,” she shrugged.  I could tell she was frustrated when a little while later she declared,  “I bet Ryan Gosling would link to me on Facebook.”   Damn that Ryan Gosling and his scruffy dreaminess.

As much as I enjoy Facebook, along with the hundreds of millions of other users, it just seems that the whole idea is based more on the “appearance” of who you are and not the real you.  Now, I can go on a whole diatribe summing up Plato’s Cave or Barthes and the foundation of Semiotics, but I’ve got a better analogy.  A Facebook profile is the equivalent to those opening montages in movies where the camera floats around the main character’s bedroom or office, showing the photos tacked on the wall and the “things” that not only demonstrates his or her back story, but also their “unique’ personality.  The problem is that people are complicated and messy animals.  Although we wish it weren’t so: we are more than our good times or our favorite movies.  You don’t post pictures of the moments of complete ennui that you suffer through at work everyday or list the movies that you can’t stand.  So it seems to me that the Facebook profile is more a depiction of how you want others to see you—happy, popular, cheerful, etc. And personally, I’d rather work on the relationship than worry about what other people know about it.

In the end, my whole reason is moot.  Kate and I made a deal.  I’d link her profile to mine and she agreed to think about possibly, someday, (maybe) modeling a gold-Princess-Leia-bikini for me.  Wow, I never realized how much of a Star Wars Geek I am until this post.

Note: I must give credit where credit is due.  Though I myself found the picture used in the post and paired it with the caption, the idea came from this xkcd strip.  You can also learn more about xckd on my  “What I’m into (for now)” page.