Dear Boss (aka The Geek from Green):
As you know, I finally caved in and started doing that Facebook thing you’ve been badgering me to do for the past three or four years.
You kept insisting it would boost readership.
Well, maybe you should have been more careful what you wished for. I now spend approximately seven hours each workday looking at stuff on Facebook instead of writing columns.
Been at it for six weeks. Not sure we’ve gained any readers, but I certainly have learned some things I didn’t know six weeks ago.
For starters, I didn’t realize how much genuinely funny and genuinely touching stuff gets posted on Facebook. Nor did I realize how much incredibly mundane rubbish I’d have to wade through to find some good stuff.
I didn’t know I would be nagged relentlessly by the people who operate the site. Check out these people you may know! Check out this game you may want to play, this group you may want to join, this event you may want to attend!
The single most annoying prompt is “suggest friends,” which often pops up a millisecond after I have made a new friend. Yeah, like I’m going to send somebody a note suggesting he or she make friends with somebody else. Who do I look like, Heidi Fleiss?
Here’s one of my favorite nags:
“David Giffels recently added 236 friends. Do you know any of them?”
Well, I will certainly drop everything and take a really close look at each and every one of Dave’s 236 latest pals.
I knew I would be responding to individual messages, just like regular email, but I didn’t realize I’d have to do it inside a tiny little box that lets me see about 10 words at a time — and that expanding it to a usable format would require two additional mouse clicks.
I didn’t realize I would be asked to answer questions ranging from “Is love really all you need?” to “Anybody out there know how much it would cost to have 5,500 M8 X 1 inconel 625 hex nuts machined?”
My “friends” are certainly an eclectic group.
Among the 778 (as of Wednesday) are pastors and atheists, blacks and whites, kids and retirees and at least one mother of a convicted murderer.
There are Mensa members and people who couldn’t spell Mensa if you spotted them the first four letters.
There are hard-core Republicans, hard-core Democrats and Johnny Manziel.
Some of my new BFFs regularly quote Bible verses, while others regularly post semi-obscene photos and cartoons. Gotta love it all.
Here’s some other stuff I’ve discovered.
• When you have 778 friends — about 578 of whom you don’t actually know — you will be inundated with meaningless photos of what strangers are having for dinner ... meaningless photos of unknown infants wearing cute outfits ... long updates on the health status of cats and dogs you’ve never seen ... and complaints about the weather, body aches and a lack of sleep from people you couldn’t pick out of a lineup.
• There’s something called Throwback Thursdays — TBT, as it’s known among Facebookians — where folks post photos of themselves when they were much younger. These tend to depress me.
• Former WNIR (100.1-FM) personality Maggie Fuller posts approximately 729 times per hour.
• Recently retired Beacon Journal reporter Jim Carney changes his profile photo more frequently than the parents of a newborn change diapers.
• Thanks for asking, but I am not going play Candy Crush Saga or Words of Wonder or FarmVille or FarmVille 2 or Diamond Digger Saga or Global Poker or Press Your Luck or Pig & Dragon or Pudding Pop or Hit It Rich! Casino Slots or Pepper Panic Sage or Tribez & Castlez or Slotomania Slot Machines or Gardens of Time or Alisa Bingo or Pearl’s Peril or CityVille — all of which I was invited to play during my first two weeks.
When I chided a co-worker for sending me repeated invites, I learned this:
“I’m not actually ‘sending you invites,’ ” she wrote. “The apps like to do that by themselves. Just because I play them, it thinks my friends want to know about it.
“You can opt out of all the app notifications on your site by going to your notification settings and changing it to ‘off’ on anything that is there.”
In other words, I’m starting to see why so many people who love Facebook dislike the people who run it. The default settings include notifications when someone on your list is playing a game on his or her phone? Please.
My colleague also felt obligated to jokingly defend her gaming activity: “Don’t mock me. It’s my nightly mind cleanse. You do it your way, I choose to block out the reality of my chaos with mindless games.”
Don’t we all.
Let the record show that I have literally accepted every person who has asked me to be a friend. Yes, I am that needy.
In conclusion, Boss, I am finally doing what modern-day journalists do: using Facebook to watch funny videos, read cartoons, exchange email with high school girlfriends and spend more time trying to think up clever lines for 778 acquaintances than they spend thinking about what to write for the 1.52 million people who visit Ohio.com each month.
You wanted it; you got it.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta go figure out that stupid Twitter thing you want me to do.
Your loyal employee,
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or email@example.com.