Archive for April, 2013

Six Reasons I Need Fakebook Anonymous

OK, there’s not really a Fakebook Anonymous. But there should be. Am I right? It’s like 75% of people are annoyed by most or all of the thing, but no one can quit it. I’m one of them. And I’m here writing because I’m on Fakebook hiatus, and I’m jonsing. I don’t even know what for! Do I need to see what someone had for lunch, or that traffic sucks, or another picture of someone’s child (whose parents I really don’t even know)? Hardly anything earth-shattering comes off of the thing, and the fun things, like relationship breakups or nervous breakdowns, are normally hidden or deleted by the time I get there. I never get to see anything juicy. But for those who want a short and sweet list of why you should quit (I’m talking to you, me!)

  1. Religion and Politics – Just as these shouldn’t be discussed on first dates, at Thanksgiving dinner, or while drinking, there’s also not much room for either on Fakebook. Everyone thinks they’re right and everyone else is wrong. And everyone looks like idiots. This extends to all of the inane laws people are demanding on Fakebook. Listen, do you REALLY want more government? Oh, you do? Sheesh. See? I’m annoyed already and we’re only on item 1.
  2. The Trendy Shit – Whatever’s trendy. Like right now it’s people sharing other people’s unhealthy recipes. That shit annoys me. Seriously? You think a “never fry again!” chicken is a good idea when it’s coated in Ritz crackers and elephant semen? Well, good for you, I guess. But stop cluttering my timeline with recipes that are filled with as many fake foods as Fakebook is with fake people. Gross. And the kicker to this is there’s no way to make it stop other than hiding everything person, or unfriending them. And by the time you hide someone, why not unfriend them? Oh, right, we don’t want to piss off any of our fake friends that we’d never talk to if there weren’t Fakebook. Clever.
  3. Games – Not only is there stuff from games and apps cluttering my timeline, but there’s some stupid-ass rule that you have to invite everyone you know to play. I assume this means you get more cows to put in your fake pasture or whatever. I don’t see why you have to bother us people with lives so you can play your inane games.
  4. Ads – Yes, Fakebook has done what Fakebook originally said it wouldn’t do. It’s gone to the ads. This is when you know a company has sold its soul. First were those ads on the side. And now there are ads in your timeline selling sex, lies and bullshit. Typical gimmick advertising. It’s sad Fakebook has stooped so low. But not surprising. And beyond that, timelines are filled with psychos selling Herbalife (Listen, I don’t want to drink sugar for energy. I have sugar in my cabinet.), moms with work-at-home dreams selling Mary Kay, those one things that melt wax, over-priced crappy jewelry, etc. Everywhere you turn, someone’s pushing something. And if it’s not on your timeline, it’s in events. Fakebook gives these predators access to so many people, that they use to make money. No, I don’t want to buy a bag from you, or attend your “girls’ night” wine tasting or sex toy party. I can buy wine at the liquor store and sex toys at a sex toy shop. Like a respectable young woman, thank you.
  5. You See Everything – You know how you un-liked that company who had misogynistic or elitist statuses? Well, too bad your friend is still following them and likes or comments on everything they post. Because now that shit is still in your timeline. Why do I need to see the crap someone else likes or is commenting on? Do I need to be more of a stalker than I already am? And I definitely don’t want to see the political debate another friend is having with SOMEONE I’VE NEVER MET! Why is this? Well, first of all, some people don’t know how to make their statuses/profiles/timelines secure, so they’re the idiots. But since I can’t control that, why do I care? Why does Fakebook think I care? I don’t. I don’t want to see the drivel strangers are posting. Fuck, I don’t even want to see the drivel my fake-friends are posting!
  6. Bragging/Self-Love/Ego-Boosting/Self-Centeredness – Our society has taken on such a me-me-me, ego-stroking, it’s almost like the “Not now, I’m batin’” schtick on Idiocracy. People need their egos stroked endlessly. Don’t get me wrong, I love when I post something I think is funny, or a picture I’ve taken or a project I’ve completed, and people like it. That can be addicting. But timelines are filled with, “I made dinner! Go me!” Or, “I ran five miles. For the tenth time this week!” Or, “I finished school for the semester! I never thought it would end!” Really, do I have to like everything everyone does? What if I don’t care? Should I tell them I finally took a shit after being constipated for five days? That’s pretty successful, too. It’s so weird how much coaxing and esteem-caressing people need. Are we really that lonely, deprived and unsure of ourselves that we need our fake friends that we never talk to in real life to tell us we’re successful, or awesome, or beautiful or funny? I didn’t used to need that. In fact, I think I was happier when I did stuff for ME, not for an audience of mostly-strangers.

And that’s my point. I am NOT happier with Fakebook in my life. I love seeing pictures of friends and family more often than I would if I weren’t connected to them. But do I really need these sorta-friends or friends from the past or friends by extension connected to me? Do I need to see the stuff people I never talked to in high school are doing? Do I need to feel obligated to friend my friend’s friend’s friend that I met this weekend? And that’s the thing. We ARE excited for people we actually care about. And we’re more patient with their political and religious views because we know them. The people we don’t know are like shells of people without a soul.

And that’s what makes it easy for me to want to delete them. I was never REALLY their friend to begin with, anyway. And if I am, I have text. I have a phone. I have email. My REAL friends have other ways to contact me. Sometimes I feel like I’d lose connection with my friends without Fakebook. That’s not true. I’d only lose connection with those I’m not really connected to, and really don’t want to be anyway.

Internet Breeds Crazy Competition

Does anyone thing the Internet brings more harm than good? I mean, sure, information is at our fingertips, and we’re supposedly more connected to people. But are we really? And is the connection a good thing? I mean, with chat rooms came Dateline specials about perverts having easy access to naïve teenagers. With the Internet comes Web MD, to the millionth power. EVERYONE HAS CANCER! You’re constantly connected to work. You have a cell phone, and email, and VPN. You can’t ever disconnect. You’re at home, but your laptop’s connected to work, you’re worried you’re going to miss an email, and you’re constantly texting business connections and taking phone calls. It’s not good for your health, and it’s not good for your family or friends. No one likes being second place to a device. We can’t fall asleep at night because we’re looking at our tablets and phones and laptop screens until the very last second. Half-asleep monitoring stocks, checking on Facebook, or researching. Researching. Researching.

And even worse are people’s inabilities to connect in person. I’m guilty of this. I often don’t understand why my friends, who can text me, call me. Just send me a text! I don’t know why I need to meet with a co-worker in person when we can hash it out over email. Only email tends to lose something in translation. Probably because no one’s able to focus for longer than 15-20 seconds. In fact, I’m surprised you’re still reading this. Are you? Or are you just skimming and hoping to catch the major points?

But beyond all of this is the competition the Internet seems to breed. I’ve never seen such an immature display. And the sad part is, it’s considered normal now. It’s normal to brag about what we’ve built or cooked or bought or done. It’s normal to post self-indulgent pictures of ourselves .These pictures are called “selfies” – although you say “selfie” and I think you’re masturbating, hey, my mind goes there. But I guess it is ego masturbation. I hear some people take twenty or thirty shots of themselves to have just the right one. I had no idea this was a thing. When I was asked to take a picture of a new haircut, I had to take about 20 pictures just to get my face in the picture! But I can see how easy it would be to keep taking and re-taking until you get just the right one. Plus, the stream of “likes” you get when you post a new picture is definitely addicting to some people. They change their profile picture a few times a week. I never understood why until I realized there is a weird sort of satisfaction with the immediate “likes” and attention you get when you post something new. I could post the most terrible picture of myself, and I’d probably get ten likes. Weird.

But that’s not why I’m here. I’m here to talk about competition. Does it seem like the Internet breeds the need to prove you’re the best at everything. The best mom. The best cook. The best fan of a sport or a team. The best at a certain diet. The best at exercise. The best butcher, baker and candlestick maker. Is there, in theory, a best of each thing somewhere? Yes, probably. But it’s also more likely there are millions of equally obsessed/dedicated/passionate people in the world. I always say at work, “You want an average person’s opinion of something? Ask me. I feel like I’m very average in my expectations and opinions.” My co-workers thought this was an insult. I just thought I was being honest. The older I get, though, the more I realize I’m just more empathetic than them. I can look at a new product, or a change in a product, or read a communication and say, “Hey, if I’m Suzie Schmoe over here, this is what she might think.” I don’t have to BE Suzie. But so many people are only capable of thinking about themselves. Their world is narrow and their view is very inward.

The Internet only exacerbates this. It’s not good.

During March Madness, everyone’s out to prove how much they know basketball because their bracket’s right or number one or whatever. Hello, there are sports guys who follow basketball for a living, and they’re missing these things. Beyond that, as the teams are dwindled down to a smaller number, people naturally get excited and jump on bandwagons. And the Internet’s a perfect avenue for everyone to say, “I’ve been there since the start, I’m a better fan.” WHO CARES!?! Just enjoy the ride. You’re not the best fan out there. In fact, it would be hard to define what makes a person the best fan. Does choosing them to win the entire tournament make you a better fan? Does owning a thousand shirts make you a better fan? Having gone to that school? Purchased season tickets? Slept with half the team? How do you define it? And furthermore, who the hell cares? Why are you so self-involved you care to prove you’re better than everyone else? And why’s it a competition?

I’ve been working lately to improve my diet, to find what’s best for me, for my body. Just like snowflakes, bodies are unique and individual. That’s why it’s YOUR body. Do some things work across many people? Sure. Most people are healthier if they eat more fruits and vegetables. But there are people who are allergic to berries, or can’t digest carrots. There are people who are miserable when they try to digest cooked broccoli. Because of the unique nature, and trying to find what’s right for ME, I’ve been doing elimination diets, and trying to get better at eating all real foods. But there’s a lot of blurry gray area. And there are plenty of ways to do what I’ve done in the past “better.” For example, I’ve always eaten beef. It is probably better to eat grass-fed, pastured beef. It’s also good to incorporate organ meats. And to drink bone broth. But in the process of learning these things, I had trouble finding bones from pastured animals. Did that mean I should give up totally on making broth? Some people said yes. But I made so much progress from drinking bone broth from regular old bones – mostly purchased at Asian markets, and none of them were labeled with how the animals were raised. And, for me, learning to make bone broth was the first step. I worked on my recipe and process for months. I researched, and applied and stopped worrying about the little things. Some people said, “Never put non-organic veggies in your broth.” I didn’t worry. I didn’t let them make me feel like a failure. Six months later? I now make my broth with grass-fed, pastured beef bones AND organ meats. Do I eat organ meats, yet? No. I’m not there, yet. But maybe one day I will be. Others would have me feel like a failure for not doing it their way. Or the BEST way. But why can’t I just work my way up to where I’d like to be one day? I get a lot of benefit from the changes I’ve made over the past year and a half. It truly has been a journey.

But everywhere I turn, someone’s telling me I need to change this or that. There are Herbalife peddlers around every corner. Or someone on a diet (that works for them) losing weight faster than me. Why does it have to be a competition? Why can’t I do what’s right for me right now?

I watch mothers compete with one another for the best Halloween, Valentine’s Day or Christmas treats. I know some of them aren’t competing, but others out there make it a competition.

I watch one person post their improved blood pressure, and fifteen others “out-do” him with their even better numbers.

It’s insane. And unhealthy. And for some reason, it’s considered normal and acceptable. It blows my mind.

Look, I’m living my life. And I’m happy with where I am. I’m not competing to marry or have babies first. If either of those things happens, great. If not, there are plenty of other things I can do with my life. I’m not competing to see who loses weight the fastest. I’m happy when others lose. I know it’s hard work, but I’m staying the course of my lifestyle. I’m not competing for chef of the year. I share recipes I think are great or to show what I’m eating when it makes me happy, but I don’t share so someone can say, “Oh, you had meatloaf? Well, we had steak and lobster!” Great. I’m happy for you, but I’m not competing with you. If I post that I finally ran half a mile, I don’t care that someone else ran fifteen. I’m happy they did, but I’m not competing with them. I’m competing with yesterday’s run. Or last week’s farthest distance.

I don’t see why people aren’t happy for each other without trying to outdo. I don’t see why anyone wants to be or thinks they’re the best at anything. There are so many people in the world, do you know how hard it would be to be the best? I wish the internet were used to share knowledge, not push it. I wish it were used to encourage, not discourage progress. I wish it were used to lift others up, not lift yourself up.

The Internet. I blame Al Gore.