Status Update

Status Update

I used to think terrorism or the economy was the going to be the downfall of society, but after the last few years my opinions have changed. Personally, I blame that damn Zuckerburg for what I am coining the “Facebook Fiasco”, where now the innocent foibles of children (and the less-than-innocent pranks that they generate) are now posted online for the world to see in perpetuity. I know where it all started – this loss of innocence and the god given freedom to actually pull a prank and not get caught – it began when star 69 was created. This seemingly little advancement of technology where you could call back the last person who called you by dialing a ‘*’ and a  ‘6’ and a ‘9’ was the moment when a part of my soul actually died. I’m still mourning this loss because that’s when privacy became obsolete and crank calling was officially over. At that exact moment, angels, babies and butterflies died everywhere and you were forever fucked if you ever wanted to just call and hear your dream boyfriend’s voice and hang up. Or call that slutty girl Janet Butler (it was known for a fact that she slept with everybody), who wore those zip around jeans so we’d call her home number and sheepishly ask for her mom on the phone, only to tell her that Janet got crabs and quickly hang up. You can no longer make crank calls as we did to Richie Stevens in the 6th grade after me and all my classmates saw him literally pee in his desk. Silently we all watched in awe and horror as it slooooowwwlllly trickled down to the ground in Home Economics class thus garnering him the well deserved name ‘Puppy Puddles’. It was hilarious, if not expected for us to innocently call and ask if ‘Puppy Puddles” was there and hang up and laughter was brought to everyone for a good 15 minutes until we figured out who the next victim was….

In today’s classroom, poor peeing Richie’s pictures would have been posted for the world to see by other kids’ mobile phones within 5 minutes, along with the requisite multiple status updates (and their comments). Puppy Puddles’ leakage would be immortalized by images and video and then tagged, shared, and forwarded forever until Richie would only be known as the kid who peed in third period. Well perhaps not forever, but at least until middle school.

The thing about these status updates is that it actually causes fear in people. I know this because a friend of mine had me check her Facebook page on both my phone and computer to MAKE SURE that a comment was deleted so that her boss didn’t see it. You see the complete paranoia that it’s creating? It’s ruining relationships and as I type this John is NOW single and everybody knows it – have at em’! People are actually getting fired for their status updates if they say anything the least bit derogatory about their job. Now, prospective employers will look at your Facebook page to see if you’re the type of person they want representing their company. Guess what asshole? I’m not!  It’s a good thing I’m a comedian because I am expected and actually required to write tasteless and inappropriate comments about others. Truthfully, I’d be screwed otherwise. #Ilovemyjob. Yes, I just inserted a hashtag. I’m one of them too!

Facebook has become a great way to perform a lot of handy amateur detective work too because you will catch people in all sorts of lies. We should see this as another example of freedom just being ripped out from under us. I remember as a kid being told when telling white lies to remember just keep your story straight. Now if you call in sick to work, you need to make damn sure you ALSO post it on Facebook so then it’s somehow becomes legitimate, right?  When is Facebook 101 coming out?

If you’re cheating on your current boyfriend, it’s probably not the brightest idea to post yourself in a picture out on date with boyfriend number two (way to go Patsy, now you’re not getting laid by either of them!). This is just common sense, right? But somehow I continue to watch people’s lives literally unravel right before my eyes –one status update at a time. How did this become the mea culpa and all the while we are all thinking that nobody is caring or watching. But you’d be wrong – we’re all watching YOU! Pretty scary, huh?

I am just waiting for CSI Facebook to come out. When I read that Barbara was eating a piece of toast at 3pm and then she didn’t update her status for 4 hours, something has gone terribly wrong. Call the FBI – she’s been murdered! I just know it! Does 911 have a Facebook page?

While Facebook is great for keeping in touch with old friends and to shamelessly self-promote yourself where does it lead us? If someone doesn’t update their status we will actually pick up the phone and call, not text, actually call them. Imagine that! How undeniably 80’s of you to actually get some voice on voice action. And if you can’t get a hold of one of your friends via phone, text, or Facebook for more than a day you start thinking that they are completely off the grid or that they have ‘gone rogue’.

Here’s my question: Can anybody do anything in private anymore?  Do we even want to? Is everyone so scared to be alone that Facebook is now a way of being constantly socially connected without actually having to interact with people?

This has gotten me thinking about our future generations and to be honest, I’m scared. I feel so sorry for the children who grow up after the 80’s because somehow they’ve lost the ability to have any sort of chance to be naughty in private. Growing up, most of my summers were spent in Chicago and San Jose where we would ding-dong-ditch and toilet paper houses of all the people we hated and/or secretly liked. Or we’d make “mud” chocolate pudding for that one bitch Carrie that all us neighbors hated but we knew we could do so without getting caught. Back then, we could do these things with impunity – there wasn’t going to be a video, a tagged photo or a status update to be reminded of us behaving badly. When I was a kid you could actually RUN AWAY. Remember that? We actually got to leave the house (to seemingly never return) and no one could get a hold of you or upload a video of your escape on YouTube…It was such a beautiful time. Man, we were soooo lucky.

I see toys for little kids and I get pissed because parents are buying into it too – they actually get their kids play cell phones. I hate the real ones, why make them learn about something that is going to literally become a monitoring device for them in their future?  What happened to a good a old fashioned Slinky or Shrinky Dinks? Are babies going to be born with a Bluetooth headset in their ear and a Facebook page already set up? Instead of a birth certificate, the official record of a live birth will be the baby checking in from the maternity ward on Facebook – that’s the only thing people actually read anyway. Everything is so in your face that it’s getting to be claustrophobic.

Let me just say I adapt to any environment so I am not completely knocking technology or it’s advancements but I don’t even want to think about what’s next. I believe in Ekhart Tolle’s theory of be here NOW, but if everything is in real time and everybody is completely present and in on everything that is NOW, no one has any time to reflect on the past and no one is ever going to contemplate their lives and what has been done before them. My fear is that there will be no interest in history anymore because if it’s not right here, right now, well then it just doesn’t matter…

And how would a great ballad like ‘Yesterday’ by The Beatles ever be appreciated in today’s world? Seriously, it would have to be called “Today” or “Now” and it would be streaming live and everyone in the world would know about before it happens. It’s like we’ve gone in the future and everything is moving so fast that in order to catch up – wait a second…you’re already too late because it’s ALL now.  And now was then and now it’s over.

Status update: We’re Fucked.

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One Comment

  1. Posted April 11, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    I love this Ms JB! As someone who remembers the days before star 69, I also miss my privacy and could use a little more ‘voice on voice action’. I grew up close to the earth on a manic/organic commune in N Cal – and while I’m not advocating a life spent tripping around drum circles, I do miss the ‘yester’ years of CHILLING. The “claustrophobic’ web is indeed getting a bit cluttered by my OCD ass. Great stuff…gotta go though, time to check my email, update my status and twit a bit… 😉

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