It’s taken seven, long years for this to finally come to fruition, but Angela P. Cody has authored her first guest column for Repman. I do hope you enjoy it. — Repman
Today’s guest post is by Angela “Mrs. Repman” Cody
Got friends? I do, about 243 of them, at least on Facebook. My kids have over 400 each! And if it says it on Facebook, must it not be so? But, there are Facebook friends and then there are real friends. And today I take a minute to ponder and explain the difference. As an avid Facebooker myself, today I question, marvel at, and poke humor at this incredible phenomenon known as social media.
In reality, I probably have about 20 friends, some closer than others, and some that AREN’T even on Facebook! These are the ones whose friendships I’ve earned over the years. Back in the day before Facebook, a person strove for the affirmation, validation and good will of friends, relatives and colleagues. One worked to maintain a good reputation and integrity through kindness, compassion and good deeds – continually, every day of the year. Friendship was – and still is, of course, off line, an active, give-and-take bond that takes hard work. But Facebook has made it too easy!
On Facebook, everybody likes me and I like them! On Facebook, ones foibles or bad qualities are rarely revealed, unless you count the bragging, boastful and self-congratulatory tone that most members adopt when posting their everyday triumphs and successes. And even THEN they like you, generously overlooking such self-absorption! They reinforce your amazingness, often to the point of fawning with their congratulations and good cheer. Everyone is helpful, everyone is reassuring, everyone admires and is admired in return. Everyone is a winner.
Here are some Facebook posts and comments I’d like to see, if for no other reason than to break the monotony. Note: there is still no ‘dislike’ option.
I/my husband/wife/kid got the job! – Likes: 25. Comments: “It’s about time!” “How much longer were you gonna let him freeload!” “Yeah, but is that really a career?”
Here’s my kid’s/niece’s/nephew’s new baby/prom/5th place award ceremony/mug shot picture. – Likes: 15. Comments: “Yikes!” “Ouch!” “Mine’s cuter.” “Did he make bail?”
My friend/relative/cat/dog/ferret suddenly passed away! – Likes: 0. Comments: “Well she WAS old!” “He shouldn’t have smoked in the first place!” “That’s what happens when you cross the street while texting!”
Had a wonderful vacation with so and so in Bermuda/Greece/Bayonne – with pictures, too many. Likes: 10. Comments: “Hardly noticed you were gone!” “Looks like those midnight buffets were delicious!” “I love Bayonne!”
Cute picture of lion/hippo/whale/ferret performing funny antics. – Likes: 12. Comment: “Big deal. My pig did the same thing yesterday.”
Famous, witty or profound quote from Mark Twain/Oscar Wilde/Thomas Jefferson. Likes: 0. Comment: “Huh?”
Charity logo that provokes mild discomfort: Please donate to my cause! – Likes: 0. Comments: “They have a charity for THAT?” “You’re sucking me dry!”
The truly mundane: So tired! Going to bed early tonight! - Likes: 0. Comment: “You’re confusing me with someone who cares.”
And the positively inane: Checking out grout! with so and so at Home Depot. – Likes: 1. Comments: “What color did you pick out?” “Get a life!”
And lest I forget, Happy Birthday! – Likes: numerous. Comments: “You're old!” “Guess it’s time for Botox!” “Not for nothin’, but you forgot mine!”
The trouble with Facebook is that it is a passive activity, requiring virtually no effort or brain function. But like I said, I too, am a loyal Facebooker and have posted in self-aware earnest. And despite my criticisms, I have found much good about the technology. I found a dog walker. I raised over $2,000 for a dear friend with ALS. I learned that Mitt Romney once drove on the interstate with his dog tied to the roof of his car.
And recently, with my 40th high school reunion approaching, I was able to re-connect with old friends I had not seen or spoken to in years, catching up and re-living some treasured shared memories. And as often is the way on Facebook, I made some new friends – old classmates with whom I never shared so much as a “hello” in high school. Thanks to Facebook, now the class of ‘72’s geeks and jocks, hippies and hoods, cheerleaders and sluts (sometimes one and the same) are all one, big happy family. Now, where else could that happen but on Facebook!