Sunday, May 03, 2009


It's true. I'm not on facebook anymore. I remember in a time long ago and far away, someone deleted my sister as a friend on facebook. She told me she had been "defaced," which I thought was perfect semantics for the way she described feeling- hurt, belittled, and also, a little dehumanized. This was someone she really knew, as opposed to someone she "knew" online- you know, IRL (in real life), not just via the internets. This person hadn't told her he was removing her as a friend (de-facing) her, he had just defaced her. He was just not her facebook friend anymore. I have no more details- I don't know if they're still friends, but really, it seems that is the way things done now. You announce your relationship status via facebook by checking a box- single, in a relationship, other, it's complicated, just looking, or some other category (since I'm defaced, I can't be more specific or accurate)- and if you're in a relationship (or not) this can be news to the other party. You can tell your friends where they stand by moving them to more prominent spots on your page. You can announce weddings, children, big events on your page. You basically never have to communicate as such again. Forget the phone, or even text messaging. E-mail is out, and god forbid you write a letter. Log-in to facebook.

Obviously, I'm speaking of facebook generically. I was on friendster a long time before I was on facebook. I think I was on friendster before facebook existed, and my sister joined facebook before I was even allowed- when I graduated from college, facebook was still exclusive to certain schools. I was late to the myspace trend, and joined so I could "talk" to a boy I was dating. Talk? Write? Follow? Weird. I never liked myspace- it was too bright and colorful and well, cheesy. Friendster was cool, till all my friends made the switch to facebook, which was when I took the plunge over there.

This was fun for about 3 weeks. There are 8 million applications on facebook, which are like iPhone apps- fun and totally useless, for the most part. A really fun part of facebook is that you can hook up your email for a minute, and the webpage finds all your contacts that are already logged in. Since facebook was rapidly growing when I joined, every couple days I could do this and find new friends. And every couple days, new friends (that I actually knew) would find me. Later, facebook added a new feature- friend-suggester. People I knew in common would be recommended. Suddenly I was totally popular. Way more popular than I really am. This is because on facebook, I could be friends with people I knew (and perhaps was friends with, or maybe hated) in pre-school, elementary school, high school, college, and every extra-curricular I attended at each age. I could also be friends with their siblings and cousins and parents and next-door-neighbors. And their pot dealer I had met once at a party.

Then, there were people I didn't even know. People I had exchanged comments with on flickr. People who I had communicated with on a forum about dogs or cameras. People who thought I must be cool (or awful) because I talk about Oakland a lot. They wanted to be my "friend" and to "write on my wall." What? I don't know you, but now you're my "friend?" Again, with the semantics, but really? I don't have a lot of friends. I have a few, really cool, awesome friends, who serious readers of themacinator have heard about before. I see them a lot, they attend taco Tuesdays, they walk dogs or take pictures with me, I email them frequently, text message them, talk to them on the phone. In other words, I *know* them. I have met them, face to face, and see them, in the flesh and blood. To me, this is what being a friend is. But on facebook, I was "friends" with people I hadn't seen in 2 to 25 years. Or had never met. And yes, it was cool to find out who moved to Antarctica or got married or had their 15th child and sang with the San Francisco Opera. But were they my friend?

So I defaced myself. I tried to start with myspace. I never liked that thing anyway. Half my "friends" were organizations or groups or people I didn't know. De-spacing myself was both easy and impossible: I couldn't even log in. I couldn't remember my password. So I guess I'm still on there, but I haven't logged in in so long that it's not really me any more. I'm probably "in a relationship" and living in Santa Cruz. Right. Then I hit facebook. I selected "remove" and facebook asked me 15 times if I was sure I wanted to remove myself. Yes, yes I do. Then they creatively told me they were putting my account on ice in case I wanted to re-face myself. I was unable to go all the way and REALLY deface myself, so somewhere out in the nether regions of the internet is themacinator's facebook. Unaccessible. Then I hit friendster. I deleted myself, they asked me 15 times if I wanted to delete my friendster-self. Yes, yes I did. They did not put me on ice. I'm gone. Strangely, yesterday someone I hadn't talked to in awhile asked me why he couldn't find me on facebook. I answered- because I'm not on there. If you want to talk to me, here's my phone #, or we can hang out.

Don't worry, you can still find Mac here. He prefers virtual dog pals, anyway. If you want to see him, you know, IRL, give us a call.


KHB said...

well now i know not to take it personally :) and i want you to know that facebook probably has a very good reason for putting you "on ice". A lot of people probably delete their profile in a fit of rage, then wake up and ask facebook to reinstate their profile - this way facebook can just put their page right back up. AND i deleted my myspace a while ago. i hated that thing.

Meera said...

I really didn't want to join FB, but felt the same "need" as you describe, when the fo migrated heavily over to FB. Then I went through the FB-maniac phase. I think I've slowed down now, but it does make for too many places to update. I wish I could just blog and do nothing else. You are my new hero for achieving that :)

spotted dog farm said...

this is so funny! i have been contemplating de-facing myself. i've been getting more and more uncomfortable with "friends" from all different pieces of my life popping up, posting pictures, and just generally cluttering my head.

i also went through the same exact thing with myspace - i tried to delete myself, but i can't even login.

do you think maybe it is a conspiracy?

Clarese said...

Funny - I deleated my Myspace account yesterday because I never go on there anymore, and I didn't want the info just floating out there in the universe. They asked 15 times if I was sure I wanted to cancel, reminded me of all the great ways they could help me to contact new friends, and made me follow an email link in order to deleat. It took some effort, but it was worth it :)