Official Facebook Bummer #3,762

Why do businesses bother having Facebook accounts? Is it to bank in on the privilege of having fake digital friends? Is it a shameless grab at “relevance?” Or is something much more insidious afoot?

It’s vexing to drive past an auto repair shop and see on its sign, “Friend us on Facebook.” “Friend” Jiffy Lube?? What in the world-? Why would anyone waste precious nanoseconds of time checking their news feed for updates from Jiffy Lube, or any other retail outlet with a Facebook account? What status is enjoyed by knowing that Home Depot is in your friends list? What possible benefit is there to having Barnes and Noble as another icon when you peruse your online social empire?

I think it’s deeply revealing that “friend” has become a verb. Clicking “Yes” on a prefabricated request form somehow instantaneously confers that status upon another. Shouldn’t there perhaps be a “Hand shake” request, then maybe a four week trial run of perfunctory introductions and small talk to at least somewhat simulate the beginning stage of real life relationships? After these two conditions are met, you could make mixes for each other and if they’re halfway tolerable to each party, that would cement the burgeoning friendship.

Part of me assumes that “friending” Big Lots will prove to be as glib and inauthentic as most Facebook dealings are and will represent little more than another silhouette to paint on the side of your plane or another notch to put in your belt. Two similar sounding words ring in unison- “voluminous” and “vacuous.” Voluminous because probably the sole reason someone would pursue Jiffy Lube’s “friendship” is to pile on yet another integer in a friends count, vacuous because the substance of that “friendship” simply must give some kind of insight into the person’s understanding of what being someone’s friend actually means.

I presume it’s only a matter of time before the UN gets a Facebook, and in all likelihood the WWF and the CIA fill follow suit soon afterwards. At that time impersonal electronic masquerades will fully and finally clench online networking within its icy grip and extinguish every vestige of humanity from the world wide web. The internet will become a necropolis, a massive monument preserving the dead, a shrine to marvel at the splendor that was once a living entity, frozen forever in its final form and venerated.

Yes, the internet is a tool- but so is a hammer. We don’t ever see anyone friending a hammer (and if we do, we lock them up because they’re clearly cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs). Pet Rocks made more sense, because you actually possess the rock! (I’m not recommending you go buy a rock, but if you chuckle at the absurdity of that idea, ponder again the thrust of what I’ve been saying.) Jimmy Stewart’s invisible 6′ 3 1/2″ tall rabbit buddy in “Harvey” is more logical! Go to Jiffy Lube, certainly, if the price is right and the service is above average, but for heaven’s sake, don’t “friend” them, unless you already make a habit of sending them letters and dropping by and seeing how everyone is doing.
And if you do do that… you’re nuttier than a Pay Day bar and probably just straight up weird.

To close the “Harvey” loop I opened a few moments ago, I recall now a key line from the film that I should probably ponder a little more often: “Years ago, my mother used to say to me, she’d say: ‘In this world, Elwood,’ she always used to call me Elwood. ‘In this world, Elwood, you must be oh, so smart or oh, so pleasant.’ Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.” Thank you, Jimmy. And give my regards to Clarence!

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