Is Facebook Dead?

Aug 01

dreamstime_7734970.jpgOr is it just that some people ON Facebook are dead?

No, really. As Facebook gets older, so do its users: people over 65 are joining at a greater rate than any other age group. And some of these people, poor dears, pass on. No, they haven’t switched to MySpace. They’ve gone to the Great Internet In the Sky.

But here on Planet Earth, dearly departed members of Facebook and their friends keep getting messages. Like the one reported in The New York Times suggesting that a woman “get back in touch with an old family friend who had played piano at her wedding four years earlier.” Well, we can only hope that the friend is part of some great heavenly choir, because she died in April, and the woman who got this “suggestion” from Facebook was truly creeped out.

If that woman had been Betty White she might have told Facebook exactly what to do with their site, not to mention their ouija board. Alas, she wasn’t, and she didn’t. Our loss.

As if Facebook didn’t have enough to worry about as it is, what with law suits about privacy issues and competing social networks.  Now it has to contend with “ghosts in the machine,” which it calls a “very sensitive topic.” Ya think?

It gets worse: people report deaths on Facebook when the “deceased” are very much alive! Some of these Living Dead have to go on Facebook to inform the world that they’re not even sick.

And I thought I had problems with social networks . . .
. . . I am frequently contacted by people who, while not actually from the great beyond, are greatly beyond my capacity to remember them. I try to be polite, but really, what do you say to people when you have no idea who they are: “Good hearing from you after all this time?” No, better not: have no idea how much time it’s been. “Say hello to the family?” Maybe they’re orphans. “Have a nice day?” What if they’re sick? Or dead.

And then there was the time that someone reached out from the distant past — to complain about how mean I had been when she worked for me. Moi? Mean? Well, I was a little testy in those days, pressure and all that, so I replied with an apology. And then I got The Story Of Her Life.  I exaggerate. It was just a summary. But it served me right. Well, maybe my karma has been korrected (sic). One lives in hope.

Dr. Phil says that one in five marriages or relationships break up because of Facebook. Or is it MySpace? MyFace? SpaceFace? Maybe it’s a combination of all of them. Whatever. But you have to admit that it’s a sobering number in any case —- or space. You did know, did you not, that there are networks out there for married folks looking for some extracurricular activity? Now there’s a surefire way to get into trouble.

What if you get caught, and your spouse is the violent type? You could end up as one of those ghosts in the machine, endlessly wandering the farthest reaches of the Internet. Of course, you might get your fifteen million minutes of fame. But would it be worth it? Some would say yes.

So, the next big thing has got to be this:
A social network for dead people.
Hey, there are sites for everything else, and we are not allowed to discriminate these days. The deceased  have their rights too, just like everyone else.

But what shall we name it?
(I haven’t checked, but I suspect that must be taken . . .
 Everything is taken , you know.)
How about: I-Cant-Believe-I-Didn’t-Get-Better?
The Far side was taken long ago.
But there’s this: it’ — for optimists.
Or, for the rest of us.

Meanwhile, corpses and all, Facebook rolls merrily along, far from dead, with 500 million subscribers and counting. What are they counting on exactly? That we’ll all sign up, from here to eternity. Literally. And that no one will ever get to Rest In Peace. Not even Betty White.

But enough of this silliness, the real question is:
Are YOU on Facebook? And how’s that working out for you?



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