Friday, March 13, 2009

The Facebook Life

I have a Facebook page, along with 175 million other people with too much time on their hands. I suppose if Facebook weren't around, the national productivity would improve by approximately 350 million person-hours per day. This works out to about 84 billion work hours per year, which doesn't include any weekends or vacation. Of course, some people, myself included, would consider the time spent on Facebook as time well spent. Right, Joe K.? Joe's also on Facebook, and one of my many friends, although I don't have nearly as many friends as Joe, which is kind of weird, because I'm retired and have all this time on my hands, and Joe isn't because he's managing my assets. I'm dressing in black these days, because it's slimming, just like my assets.

Joe and I have a mutual friend, Michael, who has 670 "friends." (You'll need to sign in to Facebook to see this link.) I'm not being ironic or scornful, I just think that Michael, a college student at St. Olaf, probably has too much time on his hands, too. For some reason, he "friended" me and I was quite taken up by the mystery of it all. When I mentioned it to Joe, he knew exactly who I was talking about. I'm thinking, Michael is awful busy.

Facebook is addictive for a couple of reasons: 1) So many people are now on it, that you can make connections that would otherwise be impossible to make. Because you can see the friends of your friends on Facebook, you can begin building a friend network, trawling all of your friends. Also, you can suggest other friends for the friends you already have, and this helps your friends make connections, too. My high school class of 1969 is having its 40th year reunion (which is about when Joe K. was born). I've been trying to connect up with my classmates, and it's been a wonderful and sometimes heartbreaking experience. I think all of us have matured, unfortunately, not all of us have survived. 2) You can peer into your friends lives in a small way, by looking at their walls, and reading their statuses. In fact little bits of their lives appears on your home page. It's a painless way to keep in touch, and a little mysterious, too. So I'll continue to tinker on Facebook. You should, too. Right, Joe?