This is a text conversation I had with my father the other day;
Dad–“Your friend Bob Jacobs has cancer it doesn’t sound good”
Me–“Sorry to hear that what kind”
Dad–“I don’t know”
Me–“Okay how did you find out”
Dad–“Someone posted a comment on his Facebook page you should send him a message”
Me–“I haven’t seen heard or talked to Bobby in 35 years but I am sorry to hear Thanks”
Dad–“If you had Facebook you could message him”
At this point in the conversation I had a dilemma, I could a) bite my tongue and move on or b) point out to my Dad that he doesn’t know Bobby, in fact he has never met him, and that some random comment on The Facebook isn’t a hell of a lot proof that he has a “doesn’t sound good” kind of cancer.
Me– “How many Facebook friends do you have”
Me–“How many of those people do you know”
Dad–“What do you mean”
Me–“How many do you actually know, have you met”
Dad–“I don’t know, why”
Me–“Find it odd you would keep up with people you honestly don’t know, like Bobby”
Dad–“He friended me because he knew you”
Me–“Yea ok seems like life would be less complicated if you whittled that group down to about 100 and played outside more :)”
I didn’t get a smiley face back. When I ask my Dad how much time he spends on The Facebook he gets defensive and says not much. Here is what he doesn’t see that we, his family, do; he wakes up at 6 am and goes to bed at 9 pm (yes he is a little set in his ways). He easily spends 10 to 15 minutes each hour of the day on The Facebook, so a little math, 15 hours x 10 minutes = 2.5 hours spent scanning, liking, commenting, posting, and whatever else you Facebookers do on The Facebook. Maybe 2.5 hours a day doesn’t seem like a big deal but 17.5 hours a week, the equivalent of one of his waking days, is an awful lot of time with your head down staring at a tiny screen “creeping” on 850 people.
For his family, this is 17.5 hours that he is disengaged from the world right in front of him, his wife, his children, grandchildren and his real life in the flesh friends. One of my siblings, the one that uses The Facebook almost as much as he does, says to leave him alone about his excessive use. They contend it keeps him contacted, feeds his ego and keeps him out of bars chasing loose women. The other sibling says yes it does feed his ego but it also makes him melancholy and depressed at times and mom would kick his ass if he was out chasing loose women before his 9 pm bedtime (he is too slow, he couldn’t catch them anyway).
I am not a fan of The Facebook as my previous post points out. I am sure it has good qualities and bad like most things do from Oreo’s to Merlot. The key is balance, to not become a pawn in Zuckerberg’s quest to take over the world. My kids don’t seem to spend as much time on it as they once did, one of them no longer even has an account (too much drama was the reason).
Yes, I am sorry Bobby has cancer. I am sure it is hard for him and his family. Maybe hearing from a long-lost voice from the past would be uplifting, but if he is like my father it would be a voice lost amongst hundreds of other voices. Some he knows, some he knew and others that are simply a picture icon on a screen.
“I feel like I’m part of a generation of people who are stuck in the past and are really self-absorbed. I mean, we’re actually taking pictures of ourselves and posting them on Facebook, and keeping in touch with people that should have been out of our lives 15 years ago.”- Diablo Cody