I Invite You to Like Me

I’ve been going through a bit of a rough patch recently. That is to say, I deleted my Facebook.

App. From my iPhone. I deleted my Facebook app from my iPhone.

What, you thought I deleted my Facebook account? You can’t delete your Facebook. That’s… that’s like committing virtual suicide. Right? Because everyone starts asking about you as if you overdosed.

“Hey, what ever happened to Colin?”

“Oh, you didn’t hear? He’s in a better place. He went to the giant meme war in the sky.”

I guess Facebook started to bother me for a whole number of reasons. Top of that list… I guess would be the games. These fascinate me partially because I didn’t know there was a Facebook-based activity more effective at wasting time than just being on Facebook. For those of you who don’t know how Facebook games work, just imagine you’re on Facebook and also doing cocaine. Let’s be honest—if I’m playing one of these and someone walks up to me and asks, “Do you want $1000?” I won’t hear them. I’m too busy giving Agario $1000.

The premises of these apps are fascinating on their own. It’s as though there was a meeting between game company CEOs during which every popular board game was neutralized. It’s like that Pixar lunch Disney execs love to talk about except evil.

“Okay, fellas. Next on the list is Clue. What are we gonna do with Clue?”

“Uh, how about… Criminal Case?”

“I have… no idea what that means. Take it away! Okay, Trivial Pursuit, what about Trivial Pursuit?”

“How about Trivia Crack?”

“Erm… we’ll let marketing deal with that one. All right, Candy Land. What are we gonna do with Candy Land?”

“Candy Crush Soda!”

“Okay, Candy Crush So—Soda? The hell?”

“Yeah, soda!”

“I mean, candy’s cute, but soda’s just sad. Are people going to pay money for this?”

“No, just for the magic paintbrushes and plastic wrappers.”

Candy Crush is tantamount to the worst Facebook games out there. My mom became so engrossed in Candy Crush that when I’d go to bed and she’d run out of lives, she’d come and find my cell phone, and I’d wake up with my push notifications turned on. I’m not CPR-certified or anything, but I was shocked by the number of messages I got after this phenomenon began in which folks asked me to resuscitate them. Candy Crush is apparently fatal and creating a great need in the world for the Heimlich maneuver. The messages are weird—one morning I walked downstairs and started browsing my emails on my phone when a message bubble appeared at the top of my screen: “Lauren E. has given you a life.”

…?

It became apparent that I was adopted, so when my mom came downstairs I yelled, “How could you not tell me?” and ran off to my room.

The worst part of these games is how completely parasitic they’re structured to be. I swear these “game requests” are the equivalent of Facebook prostitutes. I say this because we have this sense of moral superiority when we first see them, even though we know quite well what they are. We think, “I wouldn’t be caught dead messing around with one of those.”

But then we start to see them more often. They grow strangely seductive. You may even start to hear them talk to you.

“Hey there, big boy. You wanna come… crush my candies? Yeah, you like that, don’t you? Why don’t you come see what’s up my… trivia crack? Mm….”

Eventually, your resistance wears down. It’s all you can do not to think about them, and you start to justify their allure. You think to yourself, “Well… might as well check this off my bucket list.” So you try one.

And then, within an hour, you’re out $300. (You think it’s going to the cute girl or guy who made you feel so good about yourself, but it’s actually being funneled to some head honcho who probably hasn’t paid taxes in five years.)

The annoyance goes beyond the games, though. Facebook instituted the “memories”, a feature that essentially works by finding something you posted before your mom got a Facebook and giving you the opportunity to show her that you did something really stupid in your senior year of high school. The good news for memories is that you can add a new caption to sit just above the old one, and this can conveniently be used to make an attempt to justify the associated image. “Remember that time we drank mini glasses of apple juice off of Jessica’s implied swimwear? And then we all definitely took taxicabs home?” (Of course, it’s followed almost immediately by the original: “WOOOOOOOOOO ASDFGHJKLK PARTAYYYY”—something out of which all of your future employers will surely get a kick.)

The thing about memories is that they’re never ones I actually want to see—who’s deciding what memories I should post? It’ll tell me, “Colin, here’s what you were doing on June 9th, 2014.”

And I’m passed out on the floor of a police station. “Colin, we just wanted to remind you that on this day in history, you f***ed up.” It’s cruel, I tell you. Facebook’s like that aunt at the Thanksgiving table who keeps talking about your inability to poop in the toilet as a 5-year-old and other unpleasant moments in your life just to amuse her guests.

“Oh, what’s this—you’re single now? See you in a year!”

Buzzfeed quizzes are on their way out, but there’s no denying that they’re still there in tidal waves. I see otherwise very smart people taking them and sharing the results. “What’s your inner granola bar?” What the hell? So…is this going to help me on…my ACT or something?

Question 59: Implicitly derive the following function: 4 = x2 + xy + y2.

Question 60: Please describe your inner granola bar. Is it chewy, nut-filled, chocolate-covered, or stuffed with kale? Also, for additional credit, make sure your bar name has at least 6 umlauts. Example: Lürïäbäärë

Have you seen some of the questions they ask on the quizzes themselves? They were previously thought to be restricted to job interviews. Can you imagine if these quizzes were used to make hiring decisions?

“Mr. Jacobson, you seem like an excellent candidate for this particular office position. Before we proceed with hiring you, however, I must ask you one additional question. What communist revolutionary are you?”

“I’m not a communist revolu—how is this relevant?”

“Well, if you were one, which would you be?”

“I have no idea.”

“Well, let’s find out. Pick a color.”

“My favorite color?”

“Nope, relation to you is irrelevant. Just any old f***ing color.”

“Purple.”

“Erm…not that one. Pick another.”

“Orange.”

“Excellent! Now—which one: Macaroni Grill or Maggiano’s?

“Um… Maggiano’s.”

“Noted. You know, Macaroni Grill is having a 2-for-1 pasta special. You can save big on your dinners if you eat there.”

“I would like to skip this ad.”

“You have to wait 3 more seconds.”

 

 

 

“Lastly, what car would you rather drive—a 2015 Fiat 500 with the sport package—visit your local Fiat dealer for more info—or a 2015 Chevy Camaro with beautiful leather trim that can be purchased at that Chevrolet dealer 4.7 miles away from your present location?”

“Erm… um… the Camaro.”

“Congratulations! You got Stalin! You’re a real go-getter, smart, determined, and you probably have an evil side….

The best type of quiz on the Internet is undoubtedly the “guess your age” test. If you’re not sure how these work, basically you have brands and logos shoved up your ass for five minutes and then a computer generates a random number. I don’t know the technicalities behind them, but I will say that if they’re trying to make a survey that accurately guesses your age, there’s a much more efficient way they could go about doing that. You only need one question: “1. What’s your full birthday?” (Although, given the nature of these tests, they’d probably f*** that one up too.) Instead, it’s a convoluted system of product placements so obvious they make Marvel movies look like Disney logos.

If it’s not a quiz being foisted onto my timeline, it’s a page. Facebook pages are very entertaining—some of them lift directly from the web ads you see on the likes of Huffington Post and Yahoo. You’ve seen them: Facebook’s elite content algorithm sifts through all paid pages you might “like” and decides the best one for you is the “reFInANcE   uR mmORRgage 2dAy witH Oobamas 1nce in A lifEtiMe reFInAnS PROgrMA” post that you’re pretty sure you’ve seen on that weird Moldovan game site you use to play hacked Cubefield. The stranger part about this infamous page is that many of us have a friend who’s liked it. “Ennar A. Secondamendment has liked ‘Stupid People Clickbait Refinance Bullshit’.” And it stuns adults that we think we’re more qualified to run this generation.

Pages don’t just stay in my timeline, though—they’re in my notifications feed, too, mainly because I’m friends with a lot of musicians who inexplicably think they’re going to achieve any kind of public success. “ViolinMajor FromCleavelandInstitute invites you to like her page ‘ViolinMajor FromCleavelandInstitute’” This sort of behavior used to be unacceptable in non-virtual society, so I can’t figure out why in the hell it’s okay now. You wouldn’t do this in real life.

“Hey! HEY, YOU!”

“Me?”

“Yeah, you! Didn’t we go to high school together?”

“I’m not really sure….”

“PLEASE LIKE ME.”

The premise of inviting some to like “you” is pretty much the entire point of Tinder. It’s quick, it’s painless (hopefully, unless that’s your and your Tindre/Tindress’s thing), and it gives the likee an unwarranted sense of pride.

Not only do the pages clog my notification feed, but the events do as well. In fact, this might perhaps be the spammiest part of Facebook. How many times do you actually respond to an event you see? I’ll just be derping along and I’ll be met with someone with whom I’m friends (but don’t think I’ve ever met) inviting me to “St. Paul’s Episcopalian Cathedral’s Jesus Jamboree” 1700 miles away. And then, because clicking the “will not attend” button makes me look like an asshole, an atheist, and whatever other horrible names Facebook would want to throw at me, I just let the notifications keep coming once a day for the next two months. How are you helping me, Facebook? This also doesn’t happen in real life—if my cousin in Toledo schedules a dentist appointment six months from now, her dentist won’t send me emails about it daily until then.

I try to stay off Facebook because so much about it makes so little sense, but I guess I can thank God that it’s not any of the other social media platforms—Twitter because it’s obsolete, Instagram because I’m not a white girl, Tumblr because I’m not psychotic/angry/a “Whovian”/an artist/at all sure what in the hell a “waifu” is, and Snapchat because… well, I don’t know. Guess Snapchat is okay. I’ll go use that instead.

Oh, shit.

Buzzfeed’s there now, too.