Ahh, Facebook! What style. What poise. Where else can you do what you do there?
I’ve been on Facebook for around 7 years, so I think I can safely call myself an expert on etiquette (or lack of it) on the one that everyone seems to have been on at one time or another.
Still, if you look back, the reason that we all got on Facebook to begin with was to be able to reconnect with people from various times in your life. I, at one point, fell out of contact with everyone that I graduated high school with. Not anymore. I now know what’s happened to a majority of people I went to school with. I haven’t needed to go to a reunion because it feels like I am caught up. Still, I love being able to know what is happening in my old home town.
However, Facebook has really fallen away from that these days and someone joining it would think that it is a far different place. Someone logging on now would think that Facebook is all about recipes, pictures of food, political rants and endless memes. I have been as guilty as you have at posting these things and from time to time, I have been known to join in passing around memes, videos and rants. It seems like that is what it has regressed to at this point, so I wanted to do something that I think would help at least get all of us in the same room, even if we do all of this stuff.
I am thinking of putting together something that I will call Facebook, the Restaurant. I know you are wondering how I came to that conclusion, but here’s how I think it would work. First of all, the menu would be built around all of those videos that people post. Mini-Bloomin’ Onion’s and all. You could actually try all of those wonderful sounding things at one place. Indeed, you would also be able to enjoy the menu because it would consist of nothing but pictures of food.
In terms of atmosphere, we would have TVs everywhere playing, not sporting events, but viral videos over and over again. They would play automatically, whether you wanted them to or not, so from that standpoint, I guess you’d just have to deal with it. In addition, the walls would be covered with pictures of people’s kids. Some of them you would know, others you wouldn’t. Gone are the days of restaurants with deflated footballs, canoes and old trombones bolted to the walls.
Then, for the dinner conversation, people would spend time arguing politics and ranting about life in general. If you liked something you heard, you would simply give them the thumbs up. Unfriending someone would be a bit tougher, because you’d actually have to do it in front of them. Gone are the days of looking around and realizing that someone either got off Facebook altogether or just simply unfriended you. Now you just look for the empty chair at your table.
People would also amuse themselves with games that they played that usually involved bothering the people next to them with requests for extra lives or help solving a crime or whatever other nonsense that they were after.
If someone has a birthday, everyone they ever know will be coerced into wishing them a Happy Birthday. That will be followed by a brief speech by the birthday person thanking everyone for the well wishes. After all, you wouldn’t want to be rude, now would you?
The most fun would be when it was time to leave the restaurant. You would have to stand up and announce that you were leaving and give your reasoning why. Yes, we would all get to hear about how insipid you think the conversation was and that you found that you had risen above that. In other words, the same thing you have likely heard from friends that announced they were leaving social media.
So after reviewing all of that, it’s clear that Facebook is a very different place. Not a lot of that would work in your average public place. Some of what Facebook does works rather well. I know I enjoy hearing from people on my birthday. Other things don’t exactly work well. There aren’t too many people that have been convinced to vote for someone based on a rant from a friend or a well placed meme. I can also admit that , while I too have played a game or two on there, I got away from it for the same reason so many have complained, the games on there were and are absolutely annoying, not only to myself, but to others around.
In the end, I wonder if there is some way to get Facebook back to it’s roots. The tough part of that is that it has had to evolve for the same reason that you don’t stay at your class reunion. Eventually, you realize that you have shared enough and it is time to head home.
Still, you have to admit that the restaurant idea would at least be compelling from the food standpoint. Some of those things look really good, but I’m lazy and don’t want to make them myself. For that the restaurant would be ideal. As far as the rest of the things happening there, well, maybe not.