THE BE-SIDES: FU FB
In recent years the landscape of human interaction has shifted. Standard social practices and regular verbal communication have all but vanished and in its wake we are left with hash tags and ‘like’ buttons to show our loved ones how near and dear to our hearts they are. They are so near and dear, in fact, that we take 3 seconds out of our day to push a button on the internet and let our sprawling network of family members and one night stands know that we think ‘Sarah’ looks great in that dress or ‘John’s’ beer bonging shots are hilarious.
You all know what I am talking about. At one time or another, we have all succumbed to the power of The Book. No, I am not talking about the bible, as that offers no fleeting 15 minutes of fame, shameful or otherwise on the World Wide Web. I am talking about Facebook, the brainchild of a boy genius that has taken over the world in a way never before seen.
Before parting ways with The Book in 2009, I too took time out of my work day to see the latest photos of people having way more fun than me and making sure that my high school nemesis was not holding up nearly as well as they thought they were. It was in 2009 when a recent ex boyfriend requested my “friendship” that I knew I had to change my FB’ing ways. We have all heard, “lets just be friends” but saying it via social networking seems so much colder and more removed. I knew the second I hit accept, I would be casually glancing at his page daily to see what he was doing and with whom. I had to stop, cold turkey.
I had made the mistake of inviting my then 58-year-old mother to jump on the bandwagon before making my grand exit. I thought it would be a great way for her to see what I was up to, look at photos of her grand kids who live far away and give her a new outlet for social interaction. Little did I know that she would be at the forefront of Zuckerberg’s never ending task of building a bigger system to house more inane comments and unflattering photos. As they say, be careful what you wish for.
Although I was no longer on Facebook my mother was mainlining that shit, describing each and every minutiae of her life for the world to see. The world that was seeing this was made up of many of my friends and loved ones who couldn’t help but let me know that my Mother was clogging up their update streams, or posting something super personal and inappropriate in a very public space.
About a year ago when my very sweet grandmother had an accident in an undisclosed room, resulting in a black eye, I found out through a friend who had read it on Facebook – I had had enough. I approached my mother and tried to give her some insight into what she was doing. Although momentarily understanding, she jumped right back on the book’s bandwagon, trusty keyboard in hand. She is still pontificating about the personal goings on of many of her loved ones and although I seem to have luckily dodged that bullet in recent months, my poor ailing grandparents have not.
Although so ridiculous it should be fictional, it was not long after Grandma’s public outing that a friend had discovered her Grandfather had passed away. She became aware of his not entirely surprising passing when a cousin of her’s felt it appropriate to give an RIP shout out mere minutes after his passing; the body was not even cold.
The semi nude photos and personal information littering the cyber pages of Facebook leaves me wondering what the motivation is? All I can surmise is that everyone wants a piece of the prize. If only Andy Warhol were still alive, he could see his 15 minutes of fame theory in action. With fame being the most valued currency in the modern world, everyone wants to feel special and feel seen. As much as I understand gratification, I ask people to actually stop and think before creating these superfluous, superficial relationships. I ask them to stop and think about what they are posting, because the world is watching. I want to say to many of them, F U. And so, instead I say, FU FB.
B.E. is a photographer and aspiring freelance writer residing in New York City.
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