Friday, May 21, 2010

"...But I Don't Like You Like You"

Tell 'Em - Sleigh Bells (mp3)
Falling Out of Love - Ivan Neville (mp3)

"I like you, but I don't like you like you."

Between fifth grade and my engagement in 1996, I heard these words or some variation, from the mouths of a dozen of girls and young women, approximately 2,454 times. (This is a rough estimate culled from my many journals over the years.) Another few hundred thought these words but never said them aloud. What these wonderful, adorable females were trying to tell me, without breaking my poor and fragile heart, was that they didn't really see much need for us to kiss or bump fuzzies. When it came to them and Billy, the Platonic notion of "like" was plenty. Plentonic, I guess.

The value of Facebook is and has always been right in that area of "like."

It's most useful in keeping up with the people you like but don't necessarily like like, and definitely not with the ones you love. It is, and has always been, to cultivate lazy friendships.

This isn't meant as an insult to Facebook. This quality is precisely what made the service so perfect, because it's an easy, harmless, lazy way to reach out to hundreds of people you don't particularly dislike. And, occasionally, it can do even more.

Guys, for example, can go looking around in the picture galleries of their female friends and jerk off, or so The Daily Beast would have you believe. If you haven't properly adjusted your privacy settings, guys you've never met and don't know can stare at you, jerk off, and then send you a private message telling you how hot you look. (Let's face it. Porn is now so easily-accessible and ubiquitous that it's blase. Men in 2010 are in a Reality-Based world! Better a clothed real normal person who lives near them than some skanky surgical oddity somewhere in the bowels of Los Angeles!)

One of the parts of my job that is both fun and a little sad is when the students who get to know me well, as they approach their final days as a student, come up to me and say, "I get to Friend you after graduation, right?" And I say, "Yup." And they say, "Oh that's so cool. Can't wait, Uncle Billy!" (Yes, that's one of my nicknames. I promise I don't let them sit on my lap or anything.)

It's fun to see that they Like me, to see their excitement of venturing into uncharted adult waters. It's depressing because they're gonna Friend me and realize that I'm not really all that entertaining in the Facebook world. And, lately, college guys don't much give a flip about Facebook.

But here's what I started to realize in the last month, as Facebook has continued to prove that it doesn't much give a shit about its users, their privacy, or the never-ending learning curve of adjusting to what seems like major changes in how they do things every other friggin' month. Here's the quick summary:
And you know what I'm thinking this whole time?

Facebook? I like you. You're a nice guy. But I don't like like you. And when you keep trying to stick your grimy thumb up my ass? I don't really need to put up with that. I don't care how drunk you are when you try. I'm not Arnold Babar (with two B's... just not together), and you're not my proctologist. It's not appropriate, and I haven't allowed it since that huge suppository I took when I was 24.

I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And gosh darn it, people in the real world can like me without you.

May 31.

Think about it.

The new Sleigh Bells album Treats is the most refreshingly awesome uncategorizable new album I've heard since The Go! Team's debut album first hit my ears in 2004. It's a sonic distortion assault and utter nonsense and absolutely delicious.


John said...

Agreed, Billy. I found myself spending WAY too much time on FB a few months ago and then a privacy mishap led me to cancel my account. I don't miss it at all.

Daisy said...

Now that you mention it; I do kinda feel the same way about facebook that I did about my 10th grade boyfriend. I want to break up, but am afraid I'll have nothing to do with all my newly found spare time.

Anonymous said...

I don't like Facebook. You can't be anonymous.

Billy said...

Bob -- Thanks for the anonymous comment.

Daisy -- My FB time isn't ending with a bang, but a whimper. It's just harder and harder to want to get on there. Maybe because I'm having to spend more time at work dealing with the school side of FB...

John -- I made a comment about our rival team winning the loser's version of a state title in lacrosse... and even though I removed it about an hour later, it still shows up everywhere. Making me look, well, like the ass I guess I am, but the ass I didn't want to be seen as being. Or something like that.

Jason said...

Although I maintain a Facebook page for my football team, I never personally started my own page. Whenever people asked me why I don't have a Facebook page, I have stated the same things for the last 5 years. It is not private and anybody who I want to talk to I have their phone number and they have mine. I have never seen the use of trying to have a high school reunion online or being in a popularity contest on Facebook. Does anybody really believe they have 500 or so 'friends'?


jed said...

nice Fletch reference.