Fakebook friends…

So it should be pretty apparent from the fact that I write a standalone blog (i.e. I don’t use tumblr) that I don’t really care much for social media. I still loosely follow Twitter, even though I think I stopped really “understanding” It when the hashtag became popular, but I’ve just flat out never been able to understand Facebook.

I have never been able to really grasp how people get value from being on Facebook.

I’ve tried a few times over the years to understand Facebook, but every time it has the opposite effect on me; over time I tend to feel less connected/in touch with my friends and family, and even worse about my lack of accomplishments in life. So it ends up being this cycle…

  • create an account
  • add a few friends and family
  • start being envious of how normal and well adjusted/functional other people are
  • or feel left out and unwanted when browsing all their fun/happy photos
  • get more depressed and lonely
  • panic when I’m confronted by someone from my past I really don’t care to know or remember…
  • and ultimately delete my account(s).

Facebook has never been a place of happiness, fun, connection or belonging for me.

But in light of being homeless, and the fact that some people just refuse to communicate over any other communication method/system than facebook, I created a new account for the first time in a few years.

And once again the cycle is starting over, at least in part, though I haven’t deleted my account again yet.

I’ve already dealt with the loneliness of seeing other people (many younger than me) showcasing their success and happiness. I’ve been bombarded by photos of all my female family and friends and their relationships, pregnancies, toddlers, etc. and as of last night now, I’ve had my first “awkward” friend request.

From this blog (and especially the most recent posts) it should be clear that I was never popular in school: quite the opposite, I was bullied and alienated from basically everyone my age. At my elementary school (like all schools, right?) there was a “popular girls” clique. While I was friends with a handful of girls (I think I had more female friends than male friends), I was never friends with any of the popular girls. I dont think I attended the same high school as any of them either, and I’ve not thought about any of them since eighth grade.

And last night, one of those “popular girls” sent me a friend request.

I just keep asking myself why?

She can only ever have known me as a fat, nerdy boy with few friends and no social skills. My old name, hometown, school information, etc. are all deliberately blank/left off my Facebook profile. She and I were never friends. And (to be fair) while she never outright bullied me like some people did, we just never interacted at all. We were total strangers that happened to be in the same grade at the same small elementary school.

This kind of thing brings out the cynic in me; reminding me that it’s an online popularity contest, a kind of “always on” school reunion system. Fakebook. The beautiful, popular people extract value from their relatively higher level of success compared to people they went to school with.

I haven’t accepted her friend request, but I haven’t deleted/declined it either.

There’s some part of me that wonders if my snap judgment is too harsh. But I just can’t figure out another “why.” What does she stand to gain from adding me? What could I gain? How many new vectors for harassment/attack would accepting her request open? Is it worth the risk of opening myself up to more potential harassment?

I don’t know, I just don’t know.

Anyway, it just highlights that Facebook doesn’t make any sense to me. This all reminded me of a video from a while ago about the Facebook problem from the perspective of an independent content/video creator here:

While his concerns don’t apply to me personally, I find it fascinating that so many people apparently find great value in being on Facebook, but others (including myself) seem to get negative value from it.

April 7, 2016

Some days it’s a struggle to find anything to say, and for anyone trying to make a living writing, this is pretty much hell. Today is definitely one of those days, so here comes a few hundred words of rambling.

I suppose today (April 7th, 2016) I should be writing about the newly released teaser for “Rogue One” (it looks fantastic btw) but that got me thinking about Star Wars in general, my childhood obsession with it and how much of my life has been influenced by this fictional universe.

You can watch the teaser trailer on YouTube here:

I wish I could say it’s been nothing but good, but my lack of social skills, coupled with being overweight, made me a big target for school bullying. So being a Star Wars nerd on top of all that just made things even worse.

Oh I want to read one of the expanded universe books? Well that means sitting under a tree by myself during recess and lunch, hoping the popular kids and cliques just ignore me. Most days it worked, but not always. Book reports and art projects were always terrifying though.

And even at home, my obsession with Star Wars earned me the ire and ridicule of my brother and sister. In some ways this was because I was the youngest of three, and an easy target. Looking back I can see that a lot of it was also mis-directed anger towards my mom; my brother and sister thought I was her “favorite” child, so whenever she bought me a Star Wars toy/action figure, I got their guilt and resentment in full force.

There was a brief reprieve where it was “cool” to be a Star Wars nerd for the “Special Edition” theatrical releases, and again for the prequels (even though they turned out so terrible) and one of the few memories I have of feeling like I fit in at all, was seeing episode 1 in theaters with a group of kids from school.

That was the last time I ever fit in anywhere; one afternoon of swinging plastic light-sabers around while waiting in line for the movie, then excitedly talking about it as we walked to a neighboring outlet mall afterwards.

By the time episodes 2 and 3 were released, I was too far gone; already overwhelmed by depression and self harm that set in full force with the onset of puberty.

In a lot of ways, my childhood made me ashamed of being a Star Wars fan; ashamed of being a “nerd” at all for a long time. In some ways that continues today; I never found success through my nerdiness, so is it really worth celebrating or embracing? Maybe the guilt and resentment from my siblings wasn’t misplaced? Some days it’s hard to really know.

Anyway, back to “Rogue One” before I ramble even longer and just delete this post.

I’m intrigued and impressed with the tone and imagery conveyed in the teaser already. I’m especially thrilled to get little slivers of story that expand on the original trilogy, and it will be a joy to see familiar set pieces (e.g. The Death Star) on a big screen again. It gives me hope that maybe the next off-cycle/side movie could be inspired by the “Shadows of the Empire” story from the expanded universe. I’m also happy to see another strong female character, even though I don’t think it was necessary with how well written Rey was in “The Force Awakens” (assuming of course that she continues to be so strong, independent, and well grounded in episodes 8 and 9.) I can’t help but feel like Disney has taken to heart a quote from Joss Whedon years ago; when asked why he kept writing such strong female characters, he replied (paraphrasing) “because you keep asking me this question.”