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Resistance Is Futile

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

You will be assimilated.

Freedom is irrelevant.

You must comply.

Death is irrelevant.

Resistance is futile.

Locutus of BorgI mentioned yesterday my unwanted familiarity with the bowel and stomach irregularities (or regularities) of my social-networking friends’ pets and children. However, today, I’d give anything to be inundated with those kinds of comments on my Facebook page . . . because I CAN’T ACCESS IT AT ALL. For those who follow me on Twitter, you know that I’ve been having increasingly worse trouble with being able to use Facebook over the past few weeks until now, I can rarely get anything other than an “Account Temporarily Unavailable” message—if I can even get past the log-in screen. Then, when I do finally get logged in, I’ve apparently lost all my friends but one: my aunt Nancy McLellan (love you, Nancy!!!!), because she’s the only one showing up in my friends list.

As I’ve struggled with having less and less access to Facebook, I’ve started experiencing a little bit of anxiety—whose updates am I missing? what if I’ve missed something important? what if someone has posted a message to me that I can’t see/answer? what if I can’t get logged-in and share the pithy comment that crossed my mind?

I started to write off FB altogether, to delete my account and go about my daily business and rely on Twitter as my social networking site. The problem is that the majority of my family is on Facebook, and I’d be totally out of the loop on what’s going on with them if I weren’t there. Also, because I have so many friends all over the country (the world, really) with whom my (current) sole contact is through FB, I would not only not be able to communicate with them, I’d lose contact with them—because we’ve never exchanged e-mail addresses.

Yes, I’ve been assimilated by Facebook.

Freedom is irrelevant.
How is it that over the course of just a year or two, I’ve managed to put myself at the mercy of a website like Facebook that can now control me and my relationships with other people? One of the things I enjoyed about FB in the beginning was the way that I was able to connect with people from my past whom I never thought I’d ever hear from again in this lifetime, as well as family members with whom I’d had very little contact before but now have grown pretty close to by connecting with them and discovering things about them we might never have had a chance to know about each other by seeing each other only every third or fourth Christmas or at family weddings.

Facebook giveth . . . but Facebook taketh away.

Because I work at home, Facebook is one of my main sources of contact with the “outside world” during the day. In addition to the time I spend writing and reading blog posts, up until the last couple of weeks, I would spend quite a bit of time daily on FB communicating with friends and family. I mainly used FB as a communication tool—Addicted to Lost is the only active application I have on my profile, and I only use that when the show is on (in the springtime). So it’s not like I’m spending hours on FB playing games or building a farm or being in the mafia or giving people flowers or blessings or anything like that. It’s definitely a communication tool for me. And now that outlet for communication has been taken away.

You must comply.
Even though I know I’m not likely to be able to get on it, I still find myself clicking on the button in my quick-links bar a couple of times an hour to see if that will be the time I’ll be able to log in, if that will be the time that I can actually see my friends’ and family’s posts. And when I can’t, when I see things like Account Temporarily Unavailable, Validation Error, You Do Not Have Permission To View This Profile (my OWN profile), Kaye Has No Wall Posts, Kaye Has Not Posted Any Links, You Must Confirm Your E-mail Address followed by Invalid E-mail Address, I become frustrated and angry and tense because the website is controlling my ability to be able to communicate, to be able to connect with others.

I managed to post a status update today asking for anyone who could see it to comment on the update to make sure I still “existed.” And (after getting about 20 “validation” errors and “you don’t have permission to post that” errors and “you must be logged in to do that” errors) my one abiding thought was EVIL TECHNOLOGY. But it’s not really the technology that’s evil—it’s just failed. The “evil” is that I’ve become so reliant on being able to connect with people through Facebook (and Twitter, which has been “overloaded” much of the day today, impinging on my ability to communicate with folks there, too) that 99 percent of the time, I spend my entire week without having any meaningful face-to-face communication with people (or even on the phone).

Death is irrelevant.
Sunday, after being out of the house until about four o’clock in the afternoon, I spent most of the evening and night (until about 3 a.m.) pacing around the house and stretching my left leg, trying to alleviate the painful muscle spasms and cramps I was experiencing (a lingering side-effect of the back surgery I had in 2003). I couldn’t sit for more than a few minutes at a time, and being at the computer wasn’t on the agenda. I ended up sleeping until almost 2:30 in the afternoon Monday, and when I sent the daily challenge to my local writing group that afternoon, I made a quip about how I bet they were wondering where I’d been. One of the members responded that she’d been a little worried when she hadn’t seen any e-mails or Twitter or FB updates from me in more than twenty-four hours. I was actually comforted by that, because I’ve seen WAY too many cop shows where they find a body of someone who turns out to have been dead for several days/weeks and no one reported them missing—because no one noticed they were gone. So, I guess my addiction to FB (and to a lesser degree, Twitter) and blogging is a good thing, because hopefully someone would notice before a week had gone by that I wasn’t communicating and something might be wrong. (But, conversely, if the only way they know how to contact me is through FB, Twitter, or the blog, how would they contact me to make sure I’m okay? Ah . . . the conundrum.)

So, even though I hate to admit it, resistance IS futile.

  1. Carol Bruce Collett permalink
    Wednesday, October 21, 2009 3:34 pm

    LOL! This is just too funny to me. I admit I am a FB and Twitter addict. I have both apps on my Blackberry. I have the Digsby app on my laptop so that I can see updates without leaving the page I’m on. How did I get to this point?


  2. Wednesday, October 21, 2009 10:01 pm

    You’re talking to a non-Facebooker OR Twitterer, so I can sympathize in that annoying “I know how you feel even though I don’t” way. 😉 Although I’m sure that before my life is over I’ll have one, the other, or both. Just like I said I’d never get an iPod… 😉


  3. Wednesday, October 21, 2009 10:26 pm

    Kaye, any idea why you’re having so much trouble getting on FB?


  4. Wednesday, October 21, 2009 11:26 pm

    It looks like a lot of the problem is that I use Google Chrome for my internet browser—though I’ve been using it for more than a year and have only been having problems with FB for the past few weeks. Maybe some of the tweaks they’ve been making to FB aren’t compatible with GChrome (????). Anyway, after having a couple of initial problems logging on with Internet Explorer, I’ve been able to get on and see everything on IE every time I’ve logged on this evening.

    Hopefully with all of my complaints and all the screen-captures I sent them earlier today, they’ll get the GChrome compatibility problems fixed and I won’t have to remember to open all of my FB messages in IE instead of GChrome.


    • Thursday, October 22, 2009 6:21 am

      I don’t know that it’s a Chrome compatibility problem…I have been using IE and having a lot of the same issues, just not quite as bad – though last night for the first time, when I logged in it acted like I was a brand new, newly created account. That was a new issue for me.


  5. greyfort permalink
    Thursday, October 22, 2009 8:22 am

    I know other people have been having issues – Brandilyn Collins for one lost all her friends the other day.

    I have had two people make comments on my “notes” (blog posts) where I get the email (and what was said) and when I go to my profile, they are gone.

    I use Chrome for Facebook at home, because my internet connection is not that fast and for some reason Chrome loads faster than IE – if I use IE it almost always times out.

    I think there is something wrong with at least one of the Facebook servers (I belive they have something like 41 servers!) You might also try deleting your internet history to empty out the cache – that could have something to do with it as well.

    BTW, I love this line: The “evil” is that I’ve become so reliant on being able to connect with people through Facebook (and Twitter, which has been “overloaded” much of the day today, impinging on my ability to communicate with folks there, too) that 99 percent of the time, I spend my entire week without having any meaningful face-to-face communication with people (or even on the phone).

    Its so true.


  6. Friday, October 23, 2009 10:00 pm

    This is a funny post. I like the way you structured it. I’m sorry you’re having FB connection problems, though! That would drive me nuts. I compulsively check FB several times a day.

    Okay. Fine. Several times an HOUR.


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