“Brad is eating a donut”.
Those five words have just replaced the part of my brain storing Descartes’ sublime existential observation “I think therefore I am”. The more I use Facebook, the more banal information is replacing the interesting stuff stored in my primitive cortex. “Jenny can’t wait for the weekend”. That’s great – suddenly I understand Jenny much more deeply. I feel closer to her: I also can’t wait for the weekend. If only I could remember where I’d met Jenny. Or indeed if I have ever met her. Who the hell is this Jenny, and why is the rest of her week such a write-off? And why do I need to know that?
Luckily, my friends have sent me some weird virtual plants, want me to take a quiz about 80s sitcom stars, and have voted me ‘#9 Most Likely To Go Crazy With a Gun’. Now I feel much more loved.
I should poke someone and remind them that I exist.
But without the Facebook, I am nothing. No one could invite me to their parties, gigs or bar mitzvahs. Noone could write witty insults on my wall. I would cease to exist. Luckily “I Facebook, Therefore I Am”.
Maybe you work in a call centre, or maybe you’re between lectures and can afford to waste a few hours in the zany world of social networking, but what really spooks me is that somewhere out there, there’s a genius with the potential to find a cure for cancer or reverse global warming who’s going to be discovering that “Kylie is a fan of Sleeping” instead.
So before you head off to update your status, here’s some things you could be doing instead of wasting your life on Facebook.
- Sort your CDs by hue.
- Count to a billion-trillion by threes.
- Learn Klingon and teach it to children in Third World countries.
- Start and maintain an amateur porn website for Mormons.
- Write an iPhone application in binary code.
- See how much water you can drink before you dissolve.
- Reflect on the tragic life of Heath Ledger in real time.
- Research a way to bring peace to the Middle East using puppies.
- Give nicknames to every cell in your body.
- Print the internet.
- Call everyone in the world and see how much they liked Barack Obama’s acceptance speech.
- Take a photo of yourself every day for 18 years and upload it to YouTube.
- Calculate how many breaths you have taken since you were born.
- Translate the Bible (Old and New Testament) into Elvish.
- Find a happy financial advisor on Wall Street.
- Document all the factual errors in Wikipedia.
- Learn the names of everyone in China by heart and recite them back.
- Sing every song ever written in the key of G as a country ballad.
- Build a robot out of butter.