BOGO – It must be true, I saw it on the internet

We begin with a haiku…

Facebook timeline says

2009 – Got Married ♥

Ssssssh.  Don’t tell hubby

Up until this morning, I’ve ignored Facebook timeline.  If I paid attention to every change in Facebook’s format, I’d have no time for haiku.  Not a tradeoff I’m willing to make.

I don’t even look at my own page very often — I get what I need from my news feed, and I find the timeline confusing.  I could probably improve it by changing some settings and editing entries, but I’d have no time for breakfast.  Not a tradeoff I’m willing to make.

When I got to April of 2009, however, I saw the big marker.  Got Married ♥

I’ve been married for over 20 years.  My son was born in 1997.  I hate to think of the cloud of shame he must be living under.  Apparently 2009 was a busy year for me.  I joined Facebook, got married and made a whole bunch of friends that I seem to remember from kindergarten.

My son does not have a Facebook page.  We haven’t banned it, knowing that saying “no” is the starting point of a teenage vector hurtling towards exactly what I don’t want him to do.  He says he wants to know what people are saying, just in case they are saying it about him.  My response?  It’s better not to know.

If he knew what people were saying, he’d spend time worrying about it, even though he says he wouldn’t care.  I’m sure he truly believes he wouldn’t care.  I know better. I don’t say that either–that merely speeds the trajectory towards what I don’t want him to do.

I know he’d respond–who wouldn’t? I tell him that the best way to avoid being a topic of conversation is to make it as uninteresting as possible. Why target someone when you can’t illicit a reaction? You can’t bully someone who’s not listening.

Young people (it seems so weird to say that) make so much of their lives public.  It must be a boon to researchers.  If I were still doing ethnography, I’d make my subjects friend me.  It would save me time.  It would be more efficient that a purse dump, or a photosort or some of the other tricks I used in my other career.

I wonder what my Facebook page says about me?  Mother, musician, friend.  Red Sox fan, writer, commentator on life in seventeen syllables.  Liberal with a thing for french cooking (my Julia Child phase, followed by my Weight Watchers phase) and african dance.  But, like a researcher, if you read between the lines, It says much more.

I worry a lot.  I get annoyed a lot.  But I can’t spent too much time concerned with what Facebook says about me.  I’d have no time for personal hygiene.  Not a tradeoff I’m willing to make.

My husband is on Facebook, but he hasn’t done anything since he set up his profile.  I get notes on my newsfeed–Your hubby has no friends–suggest some for him!  Great.  I married a loser.  Must be true.  I saw it on the internet.

Words by J. B. Everett

Photograph by Massimo Barbieri