The issue with the internet isn’t the speed we process all this information. If people over thirty were actually the oracles they pretend to be, then our brains would be steadily melting from internet overload. Our ability to absorb information isn’t a hindrance, it’s an evolutionary victory. Baby Boomers and Generation X spent decades inventing machines to streamline everyday life-televisions, cell phones, electric coffee makers-then acted surprised when they spawned a generation of hyper-active internet sponges. That’s like inventing jet-packs and then yelling at people for always getting places quicker. If you don’t want us zipping through the sky, then don’t invent something that let’s us fly really fast. Old people are just jealous so they make us feel bad about it. The other day, my dad and I were fixing an issue on our home computer, when me scolded me and said “you’re doing this too fast!” Yet, I solved the issue before he finished his sentence. We don’t need to slow down, they need to speed the fuck up.
The issue with Facebook isn’t speed, it’s the complete failure to accurately represent everyone who uses it. Facebook profiles are as accurate at representing their respective users as your SAT scores are at representing your eye color. Recently, author Sherry Turkle called using Facebook as a “performance.” When we build our profiles, a secret connection doesn’t automatically download all the information from our heads. People consciously choose their favorite movies and music because they know other people are going to be looking at this shit. It’s exactly why you don’t write “enjoys masturbating” or “hates jews” on your job application: because most people will hate you or, worse, someone actually likes you for it. So we create profiles that we hope make us look as awesome as possible. Unfortunately, this makes meeting people in person after meeting them over Facebook like finding a car covered in a tarp that reads “Ferrari” and then tearing it off to find your childhood tricycle and the drunk uncle who ran over it with his truck.
The correlation between a person and his/her Facebook profile is so low that even pedophiles wouldn’t use it to introduce themselves to their neighbors. Most stuff on a person’s profile page is guaranteed bullshit. You may have watched ten minutes of “No Country for Old Men” when channel surfing during “Real Housewives” commercial breaks, but you wouldn’t ever call it your favorite movie. So why in the hell would you put that on your Facebook profile? It’s why kids pretend to like Radiohead and subsequently why other people refer to you as “doushy” if you actually like Radiohead. I wouldn’t have to endure so many eye rolls if posers would stop downloading Radiohead’s entire discography just so you can show it to people at the gym. There is more clean water in Africa than factual information in a Facebook profile.
Not to mention the advent of Facebook/Twitter has heralded an era of obnoxious self-importance. Suddenly every dribble of a thought that seeps out of our ears is worthy of being shared. In her book, Sherry Turkle says “we are lonely, but fearful of intimacy…our networked life allows us to hide form each other, even as we are tethered to each other.” What this means is that people can say anything without fear of being called idiots. Facebook protects people from the hurtful but honest criticism that encourages them to stop watching so much “Jersey Shore” and actually become interesting. Typical Facebook users are so bad at physical interaction that job hunters now confuse college graduates and chimpanzees. Every time a Facebook status is born, a friendship dies. If alien observers used Facebook statuses to understand the human race, they wouldn’t even find us suitable for sustaining larvae.
Photo albums make things worse. The average Facebook album contains 60% self-photos, 20% photos of pets, 20% landscapes, and 100% loneliness. Putting an album on Facebook is like dropping a photo album in an airport terminal, because most people won’t bother looking at it and those who do just feel uncomfortable. There’s nothing revolutionary about a social device that encourages stalking. White vans and binoculars were invented years ago. These devices have simply been reformatted to fit on your laptop. For example, if you left me in your living room and then came back to find me rifling through your photos, you’d probably call the cops and stop acknowledging me in the super market. Why does it suddenly become okay online? Because you decided to put it up online? Please. Without someone standing there to take advantage of our “openness,” we’ve forgotten how weird and creepy it is. If George W. Bush could have foreseen the use of Facebook statuses, the Patriot Act would have said “let’s just wait for a few years.”
If you want to use Facebook, use it. No one is going to stop you. But stop trying to convince me you like “Mad Men” AND “America’s Next Top Model.” They are thematically incompatible. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a jet-pack race to be at.