I think I've made it clear to you all that I am a lame old person. I don't really get out much. I've lived in LA for nearly 4 years and I think I've been to one bar that was considered "cool" by celebrity standards. I watch a lot of TV. I don't really understand how to work a Blackberry. I see YouTube videos after approximately 6 million other people have already seen them. I visit as many as 5 kitten websites a day. And I go to bed early.
I'd be happy to make adjustments to any of these ways of life if it means I won't be the oldest 25 year old in the world.
But there is one young whipper-snapper fad that I've resisted for the past 6 months and will continue to resist: Facebook.
I remember years ago, when I first graduated college, one of my friends told me about Facebook. I was already on Friendster at this point (remember Friendster?), and I didn't much see the point in being a part of another online community. I was satisfied with my little Friendster profile. So when I was told about Facebook, I was skeptical. "Why is this any different? Why do I need two useless online profiles?" I asked my friend.
"This is just better. And everyone from school is on it."
"Well, I have no life. And someone did just take this really funny picture of me. I do need an outlet in which to share this picture. Ok, I'll sign up."
And so I joined facebook.
Within 2 weeks, I'd accumulated like 40 friends. And then, as tends to happen with sites like these, the magic stopped. And I was left with nothing to do but look around on my friends' pages and get momentary jolts of excitement whenever someone's relationship status changed.
I was disillusioned with the whole online community thing. And it had only been a few weeks.
I visited my Facebook account every 5 days or so.
I deleted my Friendster account altogether.
At the time, I was working as an assistant in the legal department of a TV network. One of my coworkers, a good friend of my boss, decided to leave the company to be an executive at something new called MySpace.
I chuckled to myself. Oh no, here we go. Another stupid website that no one is going to care about after 2 months.
Again I found myself asking, ""Why is this any different? Why do I need another useless online profile?"
"MySpace is going to be so much better than Friendster. It will be an outlet for movies and music. It's like a media center," he informed me.
"Uh-huh." I answered flatly.
So he left the company and weeks later I received an email from him inviting me to join MySpace. I didn't even open the email. A short while later, a second email invited me. But I was stubborn.
I don't remember exactly when, but at some point in the coming weeks enough friends had told me about MySpace that I started to think I'd better sign up.
So I caved. I got on MySpace. But I'd never admit it to the former coworker.
And of course when I signed up there was the honeymoon stage. Look how many friends I have! I should write something funny in the interests section! I can change the fonts and designs on my page! Wheeee.
I was so happy with MySpace that I deleted my Facebook account. It was liberating. It felt awesome. It was like passing an ex-boyfriend on the street, while some new hot guy has his arm around me and I've just gotten my hair done so I look extra sexy.
Also, and I will tell you this in the interest of full disclosure, if it wasn't for MySpace, Devin and I wouldn't be together. Back then we were a couple of college acquaintances who were really really bored at work and kept ourselves busy with MySpace messages. Ah, memories.
Anyway, in the next few months, MySpace grew and grew. But my interest in it waned.
After I'd been on MySpace for about 7 months, my sister returned home from a semester abroad in Spain. She'd missed the panicked craze to sign up for MySpace, and so she didn't know a thing about it and didn't care. I was extremely jealous that she wasn't tied into this mess.
For a while, I threatened to delete my account. I'd tell people, "I'm thinking of just deleting my MySpace account" and then I'd wait to see the look of shock on their faces. But nobody seemed to care, and so the act of doing something rebellious seemed pointless.
Instead of outright deleting MySpace, I just kind of ignored it. Occasionally I'd check back, half-heartedly, just to see if there was anything I needed to deal with. But there never was. And I never cared.
I was happy with this arrangement.
But then, Facebook came back out of the blue and with a vengeance.
It was mid or late November and in the span of a week, 3 friends told me I should sign up for Facebook. "NO!" I protested. "I don't want any more things! If I have to come up with one more catchy profile in this lifetime, I will scream!"
"But, it's so much better than MySpace," my friends would say. "You can play Scrabble. And you can poke people."
Emails came in, two or so per week, inviting me to Facebook. I ignored them. I'd email my friends to explain "It's not you, it's me. I'm not rejecting you, I'm just rejecting your request." But I'd never get an email back from them with a reassuring message of "I understand. It's fine." Presumably because my friends were too busy playing Scrabble and poking their other Facebook friends to deal with a pop-culture misfit like me.
As New Year's Eve approached, I got an email invitation to a party from an old friend. When I clicked on a link inside the email, it routed me to Facebook, where I was supposed to be able to get more info.
"But I don't have a Facebook account," I said to the screen.
"Don't have an account? Sign up today!" urged the error page.
"Fine, but just to see this invitation," I warned.
"Suuuure. That's what they all say."
So I signed up. I viewed the invitation. I got busy with something at work and didn't delete my account right away.
The next day, I had 10 emails in my inbox. People who wanted to be my friends. "So glad you joined Facebook, finally!"
This ruffled my feathers. No no no! I can't deal with this.
I deleted my Facebook account for the second time.
Since then, the Facebook resurgence continues to astound me. "The layout is better," I hear. "It's so much easier to use." But I don't care. I refuse. Just as I will refuse FaceSpace, and MyBook, and MyFace and whatever other ridiculous online community pops up next.
Because, as I've said to everyone who asks me to sign up, "I don't want any more things!"
And then I shake my cane at them and chase them away from my park bench.