So don’t post, advanced post, poke or super poke again
By Mike Berlin
I left Facebook last month. It was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make—one of life and death with ramifications even more difficult to live with afterwards. There would be no more virtual gifts, no more Facebook apps., no more minifeeds, no more “friends,” no more wall posts, no more Mark. It began, innocently enough, with a Facebook message:
“Hello, I am Mark Zuckerberg, overlord of Facebook. I request that you join my group ‘I totally friended Mark Zuckerberg… and your MOM.’ There are only 120,000 people in this group. It’s kinda exclusive, but I really like your taste in music (‘everything except country’) and think that you’re really funny, LOL. Ttyl, Mark.”
Mark-Muffin’s courtship of me was a slow one—lasting several minutes, even hours. Group invite turned into one-on-one Scrabulous match turned into back-and-forth Superwall messages turned into Superpokes, and then ULTRApokes (which only he has the technological abilities to grant). Oh! How painful it is to recount this!
Mark was such a large part of my existence. He was my lifeline, my only form of entertainment and personal connection. No one else understood me. The real world is a harsh place, one filled with uncertainty and danger. How would I know someone’s “Status” if it wasn’t immediately suspended above their head? How would I know what movies one of my friends liked, if it was not listed on some part of their torso? How would I… give me a moment, I’m starting to choke up a little…
How would I play Scrabulous in the real world?! How would I play Scrabulous without Mark?
You now see what a hard decision it was for me to leave Mark, to leave Facebook. But I had to—it was, as I said earlier, a matter of life and death.
Sure, things were peachy and full of sunshine and flowers (digital giftshop icons of them that is), but I found myself spending too much time with Mark on Facebook (imagine that!). It was consuming my life. One day, I didn’t leave my chair for six hours! My legs were very numb and the college social service worker who my roommate (that jealous whore) called in to “help” me said some word that sounded like green-green… Gangrene or whatever.
After that, I didn’t sign in to Facebook for a day—a very long day. When I came back, Mark was upset with me. He publicly posted a Roll Of Toilet Paper on my wall for everyone to see. His affection turned into anger and control as he started biting me and turning me into his VampireZombie. At first, I complied, but then I just started feeling like his personal tool. I let him know that I was uncomfortable by changing my status to “Mike is wanting some space, Mark.”
Then came the pokes. Sometimes he would poke me 200 times in one second, flooding my Gmail inbox with poke notifications. The pokes became harder and even more relentless. But I wouldn’t let myself cry. I wouldn’t poke back. Instead, in a fury I sent Mark a Box With A Hole In It and wrote “This is what I think of you, Mark Zuckerberg. It’s fucking over, you psycho.”
He responded within nanoseconds:
“Maybe you’ve forgotten, I’m Mark Zuckerberg, you don’t tell me when it’s over. As you may have noticed, you have a few more friends. Rest assured that the entire international Facebook community is receiving your newsfeed on their front pages right now. Choose your actions wisely, Mike.”
This was the last giftshop piece of straw for me. I tried changing my profile pic to a cute giraffe with a bucket stuck on his nose, but immediately I got trillions of wall posts from people I didn’t even know, from Sweden and Argentina even, accusing me of animal cruelty. I didn’t put the bucket on that cute little giraffe’s nose! Sheesh!
So I changed my status to “Mike is upset that certain people, who shall remain nameless, feel the need to follow and criticize every little thing that I do online, even if they DON’T know me and probably never will,” but the hate continued pouring in.
Bilious wall posts and Superwall posts flooded my profile. Some people told me to change my privacy settings. But Mark had disabled them. He sent a message the next day saying: “You’ve brought this upon yourself. If you want forgiveness, I want you to personally take down that Box With A Hole In It, the one you posted on my wall, in front of the whole Facebook community.”
I had enough. I swiftly moved through the deactivation process, citing “irreconcilable differences” as I left. Below, there was a box that for elaboration I wrote: “Mark, this is never easy to say, but I think we need an indefinite break. TTYN(ever).”
It was a tough decision. I’m getting used to the real “sun” or whatever it’s called and am meeting new “friends” and hanging out in real “places” now. But sometimes I have the urge to go back. Computer labs are hard for me to be around. My therapist says that I shouldn’t go near them, but sometimes I just walk around for a few minutes or so, glancing down at someone else’s screen just to peek—just one last peek.
Currently, for me, It’s Complicated With… I mean, I’m dating this guy named Tom. We met in a chatroom a few days ago when my therapist gave me my ten minutes of Internet time. He tells me that he has this website, something about space… MySpace! That’s what it is! I don’t really know what MySpace is all about, but he told me to meet him there tomorrow during my Internet time. I don’t think I’ll tell my therapist about him yet…
Mike Berlin is a senior writing major. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.