Attention Facebookers: Relax! You Are Not That Important or Interesting

A couple times in casual conversation I found myself comparing Facebook users to the AOL users of yore. I could not have been more wrong. In fact, Facebookers are the polar opposite of AOL members. Most America OnLine users were born on AOL. It was their ISP as well as their online experience. The stayed in that walled off garden blissfully playing on the grass out of ignorance. They had no knowledge of the World Wide Wonders that lay outside their door. Users of Facebook, on the other hand, looked upon the wonders of the World Wide Web and decided they did not want it. It was vast. It was varied. It took effort. They voluntarily walked into the garden, closed the door, and stared vainly at a picture of themselves on a Wall where their Friends would bring them the news of the world.

likeAnd then didst the Facebookers discover the button. They clicked upon the Button and they Liked it. They Shared and they Recommended. They Liked and they Became a Fan. In the Button they saw communication without effort, without challenge, without thought. They knew not what the Button did. They cared not what the Button did. All that mattered to those of the Facebook garden was how the Button made them feel. They Shared and Liked just as others had Shared and Liked with them. The Wall recorded it all and showed it unto Friends.

Then didst a Facebooker notice they had a keyboard, that relic from a bygone era when communication took effort, sitting in front of them. Under the portrait of a dog in a hat they scribed the following “LOL!” The Facebook Friends eyes didst blink in shocked amazement. A message! But what to say in response? It had been so long since they had abandoned they keyboard for the Button. They scribed “I LOLed too!”. They cared not from whence the dog in a hat came from. They noticed not that the LOLs were inscribed upon their Wall. They cared only how the LOLs made them feel. Thus did the Second Age of Facebook begin; The age where the echoes LOLs and the clicks of Buttons reverberated throughout the garden with reckless abandon. The Wall recorded it all and showed it unto Friends.

It was during the second age that the Farm came to Facebook. The Farm gave unto the Facebookers the ability to Gift. Through the magic of Button, Facebookers could extend an offer unto their Friends: “Takest a bite of this apple from my tree. Returnest unto me in the morrow for more.” Yet there was a price! The Farm demanded your Friends to aid you. Thus, blinded by the feeling of Gifting, ignorant of the writing upon their Wall, those of Facebook didst click the Button more and more. If the Farm demanded Friends, then the Farm shall have Friends. They knew not what it meant, only how it made them feel. The Wall recorded it all and showed it unto Friends.

Thus did Zuckerberg, magistrate of the garden, look upon the Walls of the Facebookers and smile. He did not see the ignorance. He did not see the xenophobia. He did not see the obsession. No, the magistrate saw the Sharing, the Gifting, and the Liking. It was thus, in a haze of misguided generosity, didst the magistrate prepare for the third age of Facebook.

The magistrate appeared before the people of Facebook and proclaimed “Fellow Facebookers, I have been watching your Sharing.”

“He’s been watching me?” one Facebooker whispered in shock.

“I know of your Gifting.”

“Wait, he’s not one of my Friends,” another one whispered in horror.

“I have taken notice of your Liking.”

“How does he know of my Liking?” a third wondered aloud, shifting uneasily.

“And so, Members of Facebook, I have woven for you this Scroll. It shall list the noble deeds your Buttons have inscribed on your Wall for all your Friends to see.”

It had been so very long since change had come unto the dwellers of the garden. The shock of the Scroll tore the Facebookers’ gaze from the pictures of themselves that they had hung upon the Wall so long ago. They stared upon the Scroll in disbelief. There in the Scroll they saw the record of their use of the Share, the Gift, and the Like. And they wept. “I thought I was alone,” they cried as one. “Why have you done this to me?”

It was the same as it ever was, the Scroll merely an echo of the Walls. It was mass hysteria in the garden.

A man, knowing his mother would see that he had Gifted apples to many people, left the garden.

A woman, realizing her coworkers would see she Liked a charity, stopped Sharing.

A Father, afraid his children would know he Liked a dog in a hat, vowed to never LOL again.

A teacher, fearful of the Friends she made tending the Farm, unfriended her companions.

The Third Age of Facebook had begun. It was an age of paranoia, an age of isolation, an age of secrecy. The Wall recorded it all and showed it unto Friends.

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