Jun 09, 2011|
Today I set out to answer the important question: does Facebook make you stupid? And, after careful research, I have found the answer: yes. Facebook definitely makes you stupid. Why? Because you have stupid friends. And probably stupider Facebook friends.
Let me explain.
Unless you’re one of those guys who carefully prunes all your Facebook friends—so, a loser—you probably have at least a few hundred of them by now. Do you really know a few hundred people? No, you have like three friends, eight party friends, two people who hang out in your group but you secretly hate, a boyfriend/girlfriend/”massage” therapist and a dog who only likes you because you have food. That’s like 14 people and a dog, a number that you could theoretically grow to 50 if you include work peeps and people you nod to at parties but whose names you’ve forgotten a long time ago.
Your friends online? Who the hell are these people?
Why do they take so many pictures of food? Why do they assume the same pose in every photograph? Why do they post grainy pictures of a stage with the caption “Me at the concert! BEIBER FEVER!”?
This was my news feed today when I logged onto Facebook:
And so on and so forth. This can’t help but make you stupider. And now, it’s become my new normal. Every day I wake up late, hastily cut the taxi queue, and log into work email, Gmail (90 percent of which is Groupon-style clones) and Facebook, all the while reading status updates and token encouragements that sorta-friends give other sorta-friends. If you believe it, it will happen. Stay positive, babe. Put all that bad stuff behind you. A lot of things happen in life, but your real friends are always there!
I was supposed to write a poem today; that’s why I got out of bed and turned on my computer at 3am. I had a bit of a crisis and wanted to write about the dissolution of life as we seek perfection through unwitting existential practices. Instead I’ve just watched “Dance Banana Dance” six times. A lot of my friends “like” this.
The easy response to this diatribe is to suggest that I either defriend lots of people or don’t check Facebook when I don’t want to be distracted. This all sounds very reasonably except for the fact that a) the only people you can defriend without being a huge douche are people asking you to sponsor their terrible charities, and b) I try not to check Facebook when writing but sometimes I do it out of habit and in that one second everything changes and now it’s just Dance Banana Dance! Dance Dance Banana! Banana Dance Dance!
I suppose I could roll this all into a Luddite assault on the world, cursing SMS, MMS, Twitter, FB, emails and those quaint things old people use called faxes. But that wouldn’t be any fun and I think—like westerners who advocate “shock therapy” democracy for mainland China—you’re missing the point entirely. It’s great to feel important and know that you have an audience, so use it. If you have a chance, try writing something interesting on FB that doesn’t come so easily—you know, push yourself a bit. And then I and your countless Facebook friends whom you don’t know will go, “Wow, that’s an interesting point; that made me a little bit smarter.”