May 4, 2004

Facebook is the greatest thing since Marx

My mother often laments the fact that she wasn't there for the destruction of the Berlin Wall. Similarly, my father cannot get over missing Woodstock 35 years ago. Never mind that he went to Altamont and totally saw people get killed and stuff. Woodstock was the cultural phenomenon of a century, he says, and it is a tragedy that he missed it.

This is how I feel about the first day of thefacebook.com at our campus: The cultural phenomenon of the century.

The fact that I was a member of The Facebook within the first three hours of its existence makes up for a lifetime of bad breaks and missed chances. It makes up for my mother being in the U.S. when the Berlin Wall fell; it makes up for my father being in California when Woodstock happened; it even makes up for that time when I was in sixth grade and I told my father to invest in Tamogachis and he said, "Ha, ha, you crazy kids with your ‘words,'" and then we missed the opportunity to make 200 billion dollars.

Come on. The cultural phenomenon of the century. It's almost as good as seeing the birth of Britney Spears. Or being present at that first drunken moment when one of the Wilson brothers said to the other, "Hey, Owen, I bet if we wore a lot of makeup and were movie stars, we could fool girls into thinking that we're not unattractive."

Okay, so maybe The Facebook is not the single most important thing in the world. Maybe, like, '80s new wave music is the single most important thing in the world. But they've had The Facebook at Harvard for somewhere close to 98 months now and I have been uncontrollably jealous. I get jealous whenever Harvard does anything better than us. For example, I spent like two and a half centuries being overwhelmed by envy because they existed and we did not. But then the U of C started, and then a hundred years later I was born, and I've felt pretty okay about Harvard since then, especially now that we have The Facebook.

Also, not to point out how incredibly popular I am or anything, but for much of this past weekend, I had easily the most friends of anyone on The Facebook. There is an excellent reason for this, namely: I was the only person home alone at 1:00 am on Friday night, adding friends instead of leaving my room. When I woke up on Saturday morning, the actual popular people at our school had descended upon the website with their "real friends" and what not. But I was totally the queen bee of our school for a good hour or so there.

The Facebook is obviously the best thing to happen to this university since Karl Marx. And yet there are these holdouts, these whimpering, sickish classmates of ours who pathetically refuse to join the website of glee. They have a few anti-Facebook arguments, which I hope to address here without resorting to name-calling or hurting anyone's feelings, except, of course, for the feelings of people who don't seem to understand the value of the Internet.

Argument: The Facebook is just a contest to see who has the most friends, and I don't need to count my friends because I am above that.

Response: Wrong. The Facebook is not about counting friends. It is about counting every person you have ever met, ever, in your life, including some people you have not met but you share three friends in common and also you both list Fight Club as one of your favorite movies.

Argument: The Facebook is about finding a boyfriend/girlfriend and I don't need to do that because I am already in a committed relationship/because I hate sex.

Response: Whatever. Sure, you can use The Facebook to find a significant other, I guess, but really it's designed for stalking people. And you can be in a perfectly healthy relationship and still stalk as many other people as you want. Probably.

Furthermore, life is not just about sex, my playa friend. Life is also about friendship, particularly friendships with people who are similar to you in important regards. For example, at last count, 19 people listed "sleeping" as one of their interests on The Facebook. These people are paragons of existence, and I now have a unique opportunity to befriend them. Can your "girlfriend" beat that? No.

Also: The Facebook is fantastic for people like me who have no facial recognition. Now, when someone who seems to be a stranger says "hi" to me, I needn't panic. I just go home and browse through all thousand people on The Facebook until I figure out who they are. Then, next time I see them, I can casually say, "Well, hello, Bridget! How is life in Hoover House going? Do you miss your hometown of Kansas City, MO? And is it not funny how I ran into you here, right outside of your Thursday 10:30 Power, Identity, and Resistance class?" Being social used to be a real chore, but now, with the help of The Facebook, it can be creepy, instead!

So, guys, don't be assholes. Join The Facebook. Class of 2004, I am talking to you here. And people who are male: your participation rates are seriously lagging behind, and, yes, I am counting. You don't want to find yourself 30 years from now explaining to your children that the cultural revolution boat came and went, and you never hopped on board, right? I tell you this only ‘cause I care.