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Oddchester: Facebook marks 10 years of inanity

Last month marked the 10th anniversary of Facebook, the online networking service that has been called "the world's conversation."

Which means the world spends a lot of time saying, "Well I guess my life suddenly sucks …" and then waiting for someone else to "Like" their comment.

Like many 40-somethings, I opened my Facebook account about five years ago, after a day of asking Google things like "How do I get on the Spacebook?" and "Is it also hip to join MyFace?"

Almost overnight, Facebook was transformed from a cutting-edge hangout for teens and early 20-somethings into the lamest of virtual class reunions for 40-somethings.

And, just like the first half hour or so of a class reunion, we were excited. Curious. A little scared, even.


Within a few weeks of my joining Facebook — and I documented this back in 2009 — a woman I knew in high school 'poked my wall' to say that she was "thinking about eating at Olive Garden!" She also sent me a "virtual drink."

Now normally, if I ran into some woman from high school and she made a point of telling me that she was thinking about going to Olive Garden, and sent me a drink, and said that she wanted us to poke each other, I would be pretty sure it would be one of those nights that, had I accepted her offer, could cost me my marriage.

But when that woman lives 1,000 miles away, and has sent the same message, virtual drink and poking offer to 300 other people, it seems even more wrong.

After a year or two of virtually stalking old high school classmates on Facebook, most of us got bored, and drifted back to real life.

It was like hour two of your class reunion.

This, then, was followed by repeated requests by people like my auto mechanic asking me if I wanted to play "Farmville."

Eventually, more and more of the postings on my news feed turned simply to sad cries for attention.

Today, a half dozen or so of my Facebook friends, mostly 40-somethings, regularly post things like "Could my life get any worse? …" and "Today was the last straw …" and "Apparently something I've done has really bothered some of you so just feel free to 'de-friend' me …"


They use the ellipses to reinforce the teaser aspect. Then they simply wait for the questions and comments to pour in.

You know who you are.

Or, most likely, you don't.

If it's an actual call for help, just call me directly.

Because these kinds of postings — "For those of you that know what I'm going through, the bad thing I feared might happen just happened …" — are things that, if someone said them to you in person and then just stood there looking at you until you responded, would make you ask that person to go away.

I am, admittedly, no expert on Facebooking.

And that is probably apparent by my use of the word "Facebooking," which I have turned into a verb in order to sound cool. Facebooking is one of those new, made-up words — like awfulizing, disrespecting, friending, Googling, totes, awesomesauce, and hashtag (anything) — that I regularly misuse whenever I try to be hip in front of my teenage daughter and her friends.

"Hey, Hadley's peeps! Glad you homies could hang for din dinz that my fly wife, Lindy, made! Hashtag eating a meal together! Hashtag epic fail on the crescent rolls, which are a bit burned for my liking! Hashtag but this spaghetti has awesomesauce! I know, right?"


So there's that.

Also, when it comes to Facebook, I'm still not sure I completely understand how to use the site's main method of communication, the "Like" button. Since I almost never comment on or post anything, I rely on the "Like" button as a way to show my empathy and support in those posts that warrant it.

It's not the kind of response that would be acceptable in real life.

Facebook Friend: Well, I guess my life sucks …

Me: I like that!

Facebook Friend: I just found out my cat has feline leukemia.

Me: Thumbs up!

Facebook Friend: I have to physically move Sir Meowington's paw so he can swat his yarn ball.


Me: Like! Thumbs up!

Facebook Friend: My best friend will be in cat heaven by this weekend.

Me: Like! Thumbs up! Share! Repost on my wall!

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