So after the longest time of holding out, I’ve finally succumbed to the Dark Side, otherwise known as Facebook.
“I don’t need to stay in touch with 500 people I don’t know,” I would tell anyone who asked. “I have trouble staying in touch with the two people I already live with!”
“Please don’t tell anyone you’re touching me!” Saffy SMS’d me once.
But one rainy Sunday, when there was nothing on television and I’d already read my latest copy of 8DAYS from cover to cover, I found myself signing up for a Facebook account. Just to see what the fuss was all about. And also because you know something is not quite right with the universe when your mother emails to ask why you’re not on Facebook.
People must have installed some kind of a ‘Jason is now finally on Facebook!’ alert, because within minutes, messages began popping up on my screen. Many, from people I’d not seen or heard from for years. And quite a few from what I was convinced were complete strangers, possibly stalkers or potential mass murderers looking for fresh new victims.
Surely they couldn’t have been waiting for me to sign on, I wondered.
“Wah, what took you so long?” Melinda Goh wrote.
I sat for a while wracking my brain trying to remember who the hell Melinda Goh was. Absent mindedly, I clicked on the ‘Confirm’ as friend button, figuring I’ll work it out eventually. Later that night, after watching ‘Single White Female’ on DVD, I got up out of bed, logged onto Facebook and removed Melinda Goh.
“I can’t believe you’re actually on Facebook! Welcome!” Jenny Tan fluted across the internet.
“Post something on your Wall!” Darren instructed.
I stared at the screen a bit longer. And then picked up the phone.
“I don’t know what to say on my Wall!” I said to Saffy.
“Hang on, I’m coming to your room,” Saffy said as she opened my bedroom door, a little breathless from the exercise of walking 15 feet. She flopped down in the chair next to me. “Really, how you ever evolved from a tadpole, I’ll never know. Just say anything!”
“Just say, ‘Sunday blues’ and then hit ‘Share’!”
“And what would that do?”
Saffy’s bosom deflated. Obviously, I was a lost cause. “You don’t have to do or say anything meaningful!” she sighed. “Facebook is just an excuse for people to waste time and be sociable! It’s sharing whatever is going on with you right now. I just posted a YouTube link about a Rottweiler puppy with the hiccups.”
“I thought it was cute. It’s just like a diary where you record things that interest you, or just reflect your state of mind at the time. Only all your friends get to read about it.”
“And that’s fun?” I asked.
“Sometimes, it’s better than sex,” Saffy replied firmly. “Ooh look, there’s your mother! She’s got a lovely profile picture! All that bling! Let’s see how many friends she has,” she said, her fingers clicking expertly over the keyboard. “375!"
My sister wrote to me (on email) saying that it was really depressing that our 60 year old mother had more friends than her three children combined. I replied it was really depressing that I still hadn’t posted anything on my Wall besides ‘Sunday blues’ which generated 35 comments, most of which ranged from the inane (‘Ya, me too!’) to the positively imbecilic (‘Sunday got colour, meh?’). That last one was from Melinda Goh, before I removed her from my friends list.
My cousin David posted a picture of a traffic jam that he was stuck in. I commented that I hoped he had both hands on his steering wheel, and as soon as I hit ‘Share’, I realized how much that made me sound like my naggy Aunt Carla. I spent the next day tortured that I should have included a smiley face in my comment.
I somehow wonder if I’ve missed the boat on Facebook. I still don’t get it. All my friends seem to spend their whole lives on it. I was at a dinner the other evening and Mike would whip out his Blackberry every time a course arrived and tap on the keyboard for a few seconds. After a while, I asked, “You’re not Facebooking this dinner are you?”
“Please,” he said, sounding just like Simon Cowell. “Facebook is so yesterday. No, I’m Tweeting!”
Just what I need: another stupid social networking tool I have to learn and then abandon two seconds later. Call me a tadpole, but I think I’m going back to posting letters.