It took about 15 minutes of WhatsApp being down to flood my Facebook feed with complaints. I could almost feel the pain and despair as hundreds of thousands of teenagers coped with being unable to bully their classmates into depression with acquisition of an ill-considered photo and a tap of a finger. A meme sprang up immediately about how the purchase of WhatsApp by Facebook was really just a ploy by Mark Zuckerburg to destroy the competition. However, I don’t think that’s true. Much like the Blob or the British Empire, Facebook’s conquest is not about destruction, but rather aimed at incorporating all that is good in the world into its shadowy soul.
I, for one, welcome my Facebook overlords, since I believe Facebook has saved my life on a few occasions, and I fully expect it to do so again in the future. Granted, Facebook has never actually found me trapped in my car at the bottom of a swimming pool, and jumped in to kick out the window and drag me to the surface. Although, I don’t doubt that as soon as a suitable AI is developed, Zuckerberg will try to give Facebook these kind of abilities; because that’s just the kind of guy he is. However, Facebook has certainly saved my sanity (yes, I know each of my friends just snorted and mouthed the word “sanity”, but I’m sticking with the “M’Naghten rule” definition of sane, versus the more general equivalent of “normal”) and for that I am eternally grateful. Or at least until the next time FB shows me an ad for pregnant transvestites looking for love in Thailand. Like the NSA, Facebook always knows, darn it!
One of the major ways that Facebook has saved my bacon (turkey or soy, depending on the rest of the meal) is by allowing me to remain “friends” with people that I want something from, but generally can’t stand: friends with huge cars when I am planning a move; friends with weird ideas about hygiene or mole people, but generous and with great taste in clothes; former co-workers who are boring but always come through with the bail money at 4 a.m. All of these relationships can easily be cultivated on Facebook without expending more effort than a few well-placed “likes”, and a sporadic “LOL”.
Next, how would I know what type of (insert Friends, Harry Potter, regional diction, etc.) person I am if not for Facebook? Before the advent of Facebook, fads had to be researched and committed to, and with my lack of ambition mixed with ADD, I was always jumping from one half-realized vogue to another about 6 months too late. Now, within two days, I know what the fox is saying. No more being trend-challenged for me. Still, I am aware that all this hyper-meming will catch up to me in the nursing home one day.
“Remember that whole thing with the frozen peas and marshmallow fluff?”
“Yeah, that was the best two hours of my life…”
My favorite use for Facebook is making suggestions about things I find imperative but which I haven’t found the time or energy to accomplish. I post about urban farming while on the way to McDonalds, and about water reclamation while soaking up to my chin in a warm bath. I’ve shared posts from websites dedicated to survivalism, and then gone down to take stock of my fridge, which at the time had total identifiable contents of an orange, a limp piece of celery, and carton of milk of questionable pedigree.
Faced with the large number of items I post about preparedness, friends have asked me if I was an apocalypse nut. The short answer is yes. I fully expect one day to wake up in a world overrun with zombies or rage virus victims. However, unlike most apocalypse nuts, I am all too cognizant of my limitations, and I know that left to my own devices, I would end up zombie food or starving to death. Therefore, my posts are something akin to having a towel in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy universe. If everyone knows how much I know about surviving the end of the world, when I show up at a friend’s house completely unprepared, they will think it is due to an unlucky streak, versus complete lack of planning, and won’t hesitate to take me in. Suckers.
So, with all of its faults, I feel like I owe Facebook some words of thanks. It has kept me entertained, and connected, sometimes for the wrong reasons and with the wrong people, but on the whole for the better. The last 10 years have been amazing; and when you finally take over the world in your incarnation as Skynet, let me be the first to buy you a drink.
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