|Barbara Kruger installation, Art Institute of Chicago|
Facebook went bye-bye Monday afternoon. The most surprising thing is what I felt when I realized it was gone: absolutely nothing. Not relief, not panic — certainly not the help-me-I-can’t-breathe panic when, say, your computer won’t boot up. Honestly, I didn’t notice, at first.
But Twitter started ululating about Facebook disappearing. I wondered if anybody tried pounding the top of Facebook with the flat of their hand; that worked for my Kaypro. Mostly I was busy napping, having gotten my third COVID booster Sunday night. Running a 99.8 fever, the afternoon had already taken on that dreamy, home-from-school-with-Gumby quality.
Then again, I’m one of those rare people paid to use Facebook, sort of. It’s part of my job, anyway. I still remember the meeting — remember meetings? — where we were informed that we would join Facebook and we would like it. Building our brands. In keeping with my habit of missing the significance of every single important technological shift of my entire life, Facebook struck me as ludicrous.
“We’re a mass market publication,” I objected. “Why not make us go down to the street and strike up conversations with passersby while you’re at it?”
I soon discovered how wrong I was. Facebook is a resource, a tool. Forbes asked me to write a story about Barbie mutilation (it’s a thing; academic papers are written about it) and I faced the challenge of how to go about researching the story. Hanging around schoolyards, trying to talk to actual girls about cutting up their Barbie dolls seemed a Bad Idea.
Or ... I posted my interest on the subject line of Facebook, and was thrilled as potential subjects lined up. “Ooo, Facebook,” I thought. “It’s like having a legman.” Later, I was with the boys in Salt Lake City. We toured the Mormon Temple, exhausting my store of ideas of what to do there. Now what? I posted this query and someone on Facebook suggested we go to Ruth’s Diner. We did. Twice. Red trout and eggs and chocolate malt pudding. Yay, Facebook!
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