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Zalaznick: Facebook " resistance is futile

Matt Zalaznick
Vail CO, Colorado

A friend request! A friend request! Who could it be?

Wow, it’s good old Dave Schnookerman. Wait ” who’s David Schnookerman?

Well, in his profile picture he kind of looks like this guy I sort of knew in high school. I think he was the guy who had a big ego about his tie-dyed shirt collection. I think we were at a lot of the same parties.

Ah ” in Dave’s last status report he says “David Schnookerman is over it.” That’s an update from “David Schnookerman hasn’t the foggiest.” That doesn’t really help, but I’ll log on see who his friends are to see if I know any of them.

Oh yeah, there’s Jenny Dorfmeister (the girl who kind of looked like Tom Petty) and Marco “Headbanger” Rodriguez, who was famous for leaving amputated animals from anatomy class in people’s lockers.

Apparently, the ‘Banger’s not in jail. He even married, with kids. He’s got pictures of them in his album.

If the above situation is foreign to you, than you’re probably not among the countless adults whom the Web site Facebook has slowly assimilated as if it were created by the Borg from Star Trek.

I have a Facebook page and all sorts of other hard-working and hard-parenting adults I know have one. That means one day soon, we’ll only be able to communicate via “super wall.”

Ridiculous, right?

Maybe, but have you played “Scrabulous?” It’s like Scrabble, but even easier. Sometimes you can just guess words ” you know make them up, like “suqs” and “deva” and “xaj” ” and get dozens and dozens of points. I’ve crushed one of my co-workers in like 20 straight games and I’m determined never to lose again.

And you haven’t really communicated until you’ve “super poked” someone you haven’t spoken to for 20 years; someone who, even 20 years ago, you barely ever spoke to.

Oh, what’s a super poke? The world of poking just one of the vast galaxies in the vaster universe that is Facebook. Poking is kind of like digital cable. There’s a basic service where you can Taser or throw a virtual Mike Huckabee at your friends. But you can pay for premium service and …

And there are millions of quizzes and games, like rock trivia and “How British Are You?” You can join fan clubs and grow virtual plants and have quotes from your favorite TV show everyday.

But what’s the attraction for us “older” folks who went to college just as the Internet and e-mail were conquering the world? A bit of nostalgia ” it’s like a virtual high school and college reunion.

You get to see what happened to people like “Headbanger” Rodriguez without having to get on a plane and fly back to your high school, get dressed up, and make small talk people with whom you can’t think of anything to talk about.

And perhaps there’s even a little competitiveness ” without much effort, with just a click of the button, you can see who doesn’t have as a good a job as you do or whose still single or who isn’t the rock ‘n’ roll star they’d always planned to be or whose children are funnier looking than yours are.

You can do this with much less guilt because you don’t have to call up old friends, or even e-mail them, and make yourself look petty by asking “How much money did David Schnookerman make last year?”

The danger is, of course, coming across someone who’s achieved more ” like maybe your rival from creative writing class has already published three novels and you’re still planning to get around to that short story you had an idea for, like, five years ago.

And there are the old boyfriends and girlfriends ” what are they up to? Who are they dating? How do they look?

It’s all like spying on your past, and it can be addictive and irresistible. I’ve got 52 friends, but friends of mine have several hundred and I want more.

So, if you want to know what ever happened to me, just send a friend request. I’ll confirm.

Assistant Managing Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 748-2926, or mzalaznick@vaildaily.com.


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