‘KEEPING PEOPLE BUSY, QUIET AND REPORTING ONE ANOTHER FOR ‘ABUSE.’ “You have 199 Friend Requests,” my inbox said this morning, giving me the opportunity to painfully scroll through nearly 200 profile pictures. (I tend to want to friend all the cats), to decide if I want to add to that carefully-hoarded 3400 or so, drawing ever closer to the magic 5000 when I can add no more. Again, the more friends you have, the more you’ll be offered.

Pitfalls are growing. Every profile brings a question with it. I’m getting used to some of these now. If you push IGNORE rather than ADD AS FRIEND, this line pops up immediately: YOU HAVE IGNORED A FRIEND REQUEST FROM —- REPORT THEM FOR ABUSE OR SPAM OR MARK THAT YOU DON’T KNOW THEM!

Shades of Farehheit 451! I’ve been reminded of Ray Bradbury’s great book countless times since I went on Facebook. He couldn’t have realized how prophetic it was.

Just because you ignored a profile, possibly because you thought it somewhat offensive, or more likely, you have quite enough friends or because you knew the person behind it wasn’t the person pictured (if they were, Facebook is peopled with an AWFUL lot of cats…), there seems vey seldom to be a reason to ‘Report Them For ABUSE.’ For sure this immediately trivializes ‘abuse.’

So you start scrolling down the 199 faces, asking yourself all the questions: 1) Do you know this person in real life? 2) Are they really someone famous (like Mike Nicol? whom I get offered a lot – or is the name ALMOST like the famous one – Mike Nicols?)

3) If the person has AUTHOR in their name, so as to self-promote, are they self-published? Is that their name on the teeny-tiny book cover they have used instead of a face? Are they, from the cover picture, one of these proselytizing ‘christians?’ and will you forever after get unwanted religious messages till you hunt them down and unfriend them?

For awhile, yes, I WAS friending authors, thinking they might engage in rich and lovely talk which would be both enlightening and uplifting but they do that no more than any other ‘friends.’

An hour later, I am strill scrolling down, talking amongst myself and trying to decide. 4) Is that picture provocative on purpose? Why is Pat Brown’s profile picture a yellow fish? Does Jebozid Zidojeb have that as a REAL name or does he mean to refer to the film?

So many of the profile pics are clever. Is there a company doing this professionally for individuals? I wouldn’t be surprised. 5) Do all the ones using pictures of large families including children, really mean to let you know, I’M MARRIED, I’M MARRIED, so that little old homewrecker you will back off? How hard must it be to have a significant other scrolling down his 199 new friends list, thinking he might hit on this one or that one, despite all his choices turning out to be ex-cons out on bail from Saskatchewan joints? (This is true).

How great is it to have a husband who isn’t on Facebook or for that matter, the net?

Someone’s profile says we have 668 MUTUAL FRIENDS? Oh my goodness and I STILL don’t plan on friending them. How could we just be missing each other in the world outside these sterile pages. Elizabeth Hunt Reville lists herself as AUTHOR/POET as though the two were mutually exclusive. Funny. I thought poets with books WERE authors although certainly authors are not all poets. But still… I don’t friend.

Looking forward, I can see I have 72 EVENT INVITES, none of which give their geographical locations. Whatta big help THAT is!!
Afterwards there is a long list of stuff I can ‘like.’ Not love, no passion here but just the tepid, ‘its-okay-i-suppose-i-LIKE-it-since-i-don’t-actively-HATE-it… Duh for certain.

The dregs, at the very end, are from ‘Farmville,’ all non-existent animals, properties, tools, gifts, poker games from those bereft of anything original or something of their own to say or do or think.
These are always the saddest and ignore is the quickest way to deal, keeping the fingers firmly on that IGNORE button lest it slide over to even one CONFIRM, which will doom you forever to further requests.

Facebook is the sort of Gift to Government, keeping the people safe, quiet and busy. If it didn’t exist, they would have to invent it.

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