Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Secret Hub of All Evil

I don't like social networking sites. While I do have both Facebook and Myspace profiles, I also have friends who guilt-tripped me into making them, and I suppose being in the system is moderately worthwhile, since it’s allowed one or two awesome people to get in touch with me.

But I still don't like it. My reasons, let me show you them.

Myspace, for all its outward obnoxiousness, is actually the more harmless of the two. You know how in middle school, you had that one friend with the incredibly annoying kid brother or sister? The one who always wanted to play with you guys, and went crying to her mom when you kicked her out? Every so often she would come up with something cool, like when she found a lizard skeleton in the backyard and came to show you, but mostly she just wanted to play dress-up and horn in on your conversations about the boys in class you liked. It's not like she even knew any of them.

That kid? That kid is Myspace. Always trying desperately to win your approval, and shooting over the mark in an embarrassingly transparent attempt to be cool.

Facebook, now. Facebook is different. Where Myspace feels the need to constantly jump up and down on the couch while waving glittery shit around, Facebook is more laid back. That friend you had in middle school? Facebook is that friend's older brother, a high school senior or maybe a freshman at community college. He looks respectable enough, and he's super nice to you, but he's always kind of...there, and you can't help but feel a little weird about it.

Because here’s the thing: when you and your friend strip down to swimsuits so you can goof around in the hot tub, the older brother wants to come. Upon being rebuffed, he hangs out by the sliding glass door, watching you. Somehow, he knows all of your favorite movies and the kind of music you like, and on your sleepovers, when your friend eventually conks out in the living room, the older brother stays up watching "Welcome to the Dollhouse" with you. He keeps trying to get you to taste his beer. And he tells you that you're different from all the other girls he knows, that you're totally mature for your age. He thinks you're awesome.

So, to recap: Myspace is the annoying but harmless younger sibling of your middle-school best friend, and Facebook is her seemingly respectable, but secretly date-rapey older brother.

It's the whole "keeping tabs" thing that skeeves me out. I can guarantee that when GPS tags in clothing become standard issue, Facebook will be right there, announcing your exact latitude and longitude to your friends and, presumably, advertisers who would be interested in that sort of thing. It's not that I object to GPS tracking. To the contrary -- if I'm kidnapped or otherwise indisposed (horrific accidents involving locked brakes and bridges come to mind), I rather like the idea that my jeans could double as a homing device. But the thought of Facebook announcing my location 24/7 gives me pause.

I know, I know -- it hasn't come to that yet. But it will.

Because Facebook tracking is showing up in the weirdest places now! When I signed up with Epicurious about a week ago, a cheery little dialogue box popped up asking if I wanted to add the corresponding application to my Facebook page, which was a bit of a shock considering that I wasn't even aware I was signed into Facebook at the time. I hit NO. The fattening, deliciously unhealthy recipes I add to my recipe box are my goddamn business, not anyone else's, thank you. No, Facebook, I don’t want you to know what movie tickets I’m buying. NO, Facebook, I don’t want you to share my purchases with everyone. I don’t want to be a zombie, or a vampire, or figure out how hot I am compared to my friends. I DON’T WANT TO PLAY SCRABBLE, SO STOP FUCKING BOTHERING ME.

It’s possible I’m overreacting. After all, it’s not like Facebook ran over my dog. It just keeps touching my hair and telling me I’m pretty (“No thanks, Facebook -- I promised my friends I’d be driving, can keep the drink”). Other people seem to like it just fine, so perhaps I’m just an antisocial freak of nature, forever doomed to wander the narrative wilds of Blogger and Livejournal.

Like Bigfoot, in a way.

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