My birthday is in a couple of days, January 1 to be exact.Â If this year is like previous years, I will get several dozen Happy Birthday messages on Facebook, most of them from people I know more or less tangentially. In previous years Iâ€™ve found them weeks or months later, say in March, because I only get around to looking at Facebook every few months.
I donâ€™t like Facebook. Not because itâ€™s evil, which it may well be, but that it isÂ such an enormous time sink. Frankly, Iâ€™d rather be making quilts or baking cookies or having lunch with my friends.
Iâ€™ve been familiar with Facebook since its beginning, before it was even a commercial product. When my younger daughter was at Harvard she lived in the same residence hall as Mark Zuckerberg. Fortunately, she didnâ€™t move in until a year after he had departed. She missed the â€œhot babesâ€ game Zuckerberg invented (if one can believe the movie Social Network).
I thought then, back in 1998, that the facebook, a printed manual that showed the pictures and names of her classmates, was useful. Iâ€™m not great at remembering faces, so I can appreciate directories with pictures.
But Facebook the social network has grown unmanageable. Itâ€™s a terrible way to try to keep up with people. Itâ€™s so easyâ€”too easyâ€”to enter your thoughts or to point folks to a website or a cute animal video, or to post a notice that you signed a political petition or bought a particular product. I scroll through too many fierce polemicals, inane slogans, spurious bons mots, photos. Whatever. Too much dreck.
While Iâ€™m always touched that people do take the effort to hit the â€œhappy birthdayâ€ button,Â it will likely be the only time Iâ€™m going to hear from most of them. So maybe, I think, I should let them hear from me. Iâ€™ll start to check out their Facebook feeds. But, overwhelmed by trivia, I usually get through just the first few names before I give up.
Once in a while Iâ€™ll check to see what one of my relatives is doing. But even there, I find pointers to videos or websites that the poster thinks present ideas he or she agrees with. To want to share is human, but I am cross-referenced out.
Curiously, the Harvard-educated daughter has never had an account on the Zuckerberg Facebook. I think she has the right idea. The only reason I keep my account is that the occasional business or Meet-up group or church will post news and information there and only there. And why not? Itâ€™s so much easier than having to deal with a webpage.
I think thereâ€™s a setting somewhere that posts my own webpage postings to my Facebook feed. Itâ€™s so easyâ€”too easy.
Anyway, Happy Birthday to me! Remember me by email.