Silly me. I was thinking that the social networking site currently named Facebook could prove to be an effective networking tool. I humbly admit that I am one of those media whores who friends New York Times journalists not so much so that I can get to know them and eventually invite them over to my home for a nice meal my husband can whip up, but so that I can pitch them a story via Facebook mail and save myself and the technology company for whom I do some publicity about four grand a year, the average cost of a sophisticated media database and press release distribution service.
I’m cheap and I’m tacky. Yes I am. Proud of it!
Is that why I’ve been placed on probation?
Yes. A two-day probation. Like the kind I used to get in Catholic grade school when I couldn’t stop giggling in church or cheated on a test because I was too embarrassed to confess to my teacher that I couldn’t read.
I hadn’t expected the blow from my networking machine, Facebook, my BFF who is the gateway to so many random, pathetic, but oh so entertaining dialogues and makes getting anything done during the workday really freakin’ hard … my imaginary pal who I was unable to give up for Lent because I missed him so badly. Through Facebook I could weasel my way into the networks of countless journalists across the nation!
Without any warning (even the nuns gave me three tries!) I was issued the “Dear John” letter that explained I had been placed on probation for trying to friend too many people whom I didn’t know.
For two days I can’t friend anyone that I don’t know. How they know who is my buddy in real life is beyond me, and freaks me out a tad, actually. If my behavior doesn’t improve over the next two days, my friending rights will be abolished indefinitely.
Say it isn’t so!
I got flashbacks of sitting in the corner for passing notes in class in the fourth grade, for explaining why I was throwing food at lunch in junior high (You really want to know? I was anorexic and didn’t want to eat it.) And, ah yes, the afternoon I got busted for smuggling vodka into band camp. I was immediately thrown off the dance team and my parents were notified. I wonder if Facebook has contacted my mom yet. It’s a good thing my dad is already dead! He would have been pissed that I was abusing the system in such an unbecoming way.
Really … WTF? The social network that has the word network as part of its essence, fabric, make-up?
And seriously. How did they know those people don’t know me. Were they asked my birthday and mom’s maiden name? My favorite movie or the city of my first job? I mean, I didn’t try to friend a perfect stranger. I limited myself to folks (working at prestigious journalism outlets) with whom I shared at least 25 mutual friends. Did they nark on me? Do they really have that much time to nark on me? Aren’t they supposed to be writing really important articles that all of us will read and comment on?
So I did the responsible thing and posted as my status that I had been put on probation. By Facebook. The comments are great Seinfeld material. Among them:
Didn’t Thomas Jefferson advocate for separation of church and internet?
It happened to me. I kept friending my mother and she kept ignoring me.
What would happens if I used a bad word? Something worse than “nark”?
Let’s try it! Shit, damn, hell.
I thank God my mother is nowhere near here.
Do you think all of us will have detention?
I also role play here, or did, and my character was obliterated by the power that be here.
And here is where I feel as though I’ve just joined the seminary:
They flash me three friends who I “might” know, with whom I share 65 mutual friends. I recognize their names. I think I’ve emailed them once before. Oh my God, one was my maid of honor! But alas. I can’t press “add Friend.” Facebook can advertise. They can name drop all they want and throw it in my face, but I have to look at the screen and take my finger off the mouse. Just as you do in every Catholic institution.
Cruel! Downright cruel!
So I guess I may have to buy that expensive media database after all. Or maybe spend more time on LinkedIn. Or maybe start my own social networking site where you can, um, network!