'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
CONFESSIONS OF A FACEBOOK LURKER
Recently I was accused of being a Facebook “lurker.” I wasn’t even sure what that meant, but it sounded awful. The last thing I need is to be featured in a different section of this newspaper, under the headline: “Torrington man charged in lurking incident – Judge sets bond at $2 million.”
Before continuing, let me explain the phenomenon known as Facebook, for the six remaining people in North America who are still unsure of exactly what it is. Facebook is an Internet Web site, created by a young computer whiz named Mark Zuckerberg, who has two prominent features: 1) he looks like he’s about to begin puberty any day now, and 2) because of Facebook, he is the world’s youngest billionaire.
A Facebook user creates a personal account, and this account is linked to the accounts of that person’s family members, friends, and his most cherished total strangers. These linked connections are called “friends.” Facebook is singlehandedly responsible for turning the word friend into a verb, as in, “Did Freddie friend you yet?” “Oh, you’re on Facebook, too? When I get home tonight I’ll friend you,” and, “Davy, did you friend the car into the garbage cans again?!” (This last one is an incorrect use of the verb “friend.” The correct verb should have been “crash.”)
On the Facebook account, the user can post words, photos, videos—basically anything he or she thinks is important. Some Facebook postings are indeed very crucial announcements the user’s family members, friends, and most cherished total strangers simply MUST know about. A typical breath-taking, earth-shattering posting goes something like this: “Had oatmeal for breakfast. It sucked.”
Many other postings, however, are far less important, even to the point, dare I say, of being trivial and meaningless. But maybe that’s just me. Maybe I’ve yet to grasp the profundity of these messages.
Earlier this summer Facebook passed the 500 million-user mark. This milestone can be viewed two different ways. The number of people using Facebook is more than one-and-a-half times the total population of the United States, which means young Mr. Zuckerberg has created an unbelievably popular (not to mention lucrative) social networking vehicle. On the other hand, 500 million users represents barely 8-percent of Planet Earth’s population, so if his ultimate goal is total world domination, young Mr. Zuckerberg still has some work to do.
When I was accused of being a Facebook “lurker” (remember the lurking thing at the beginning of this column? Yeah, I almost forgot about it, too), it turns out what I was being accused of is viewing the posts of my Facebook “friends,” but never adding my personal comments. I admit I log on to Facebook a couple times each day, just to see what’s new with my family members, friends, and my most cherished total strangers. And I admit I occasionally think to myself, “Wow, oatmeal. I’m so glad you shared that with me.” But I don’t usually take the time to type out my reactions and let the original poster know I’m thinking of him or her at that moment. Well, call me insensitive and lazy. I’m sorry.
In my mind, being a “lurker” is probably better than being a “blurter.” Besides, I don’t have four or five spare hours in my day to let everyone know what I am wearing, what the weather is like at my house, and the size of my pet cat Fluffy’s most recent hairball. So, for now, I’ll remain a “lurker.”
Oh, by the way, today I had Cheerios for breakfast. They were OK. I knew you needed to know that.
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