The Facebook: Bringing REAL people together

9 07 2008

This morning I had 806 friends on Facebook. Of these 806, 450 are from UNC, 219 are from high school or earlier, 132 are from around Chapel Hill, most have shitty jobs, one is an aspiring astronaut, one is a ceramic duck, one is a mysterious voice, and two are movie stars: Gael Garcia Bernal and Steve Zissou. I used to be Facebook friends with most of the characters on The West Wing, but I’ve just noticed that C.J. Cregg un-friended me at some point without me noticing— sneaky little strumpet.

When calculating my worth through the Fbook there’s a clear distinction between 802 of my friends and the other four (I’m referring to the duck, the voice, and the “movie stars”). The difference being, namely, that 802 of them are real and the other four are not.

Gael Garcia Bernal did not sit and think to his sexy Hispanic self Hmm…this John Reitz guy seems like someone with whom I’d like to social network. Let’s see…He’s interested in animals. As am I. We both refuse to add the Bumper Sticker application because we think it’s trashy. OH! And he’s got a picture of himself eating ice cream. I love ice cream, or as I like to call it helado. John Reitz is an opportunity upon which I do not want to miss out. Consider this Friend Request ACCEPTED.” No. Sadly the Gael Garcia Bernal who is my Fbookfriend, like the ceramic duck King Glampapa, is nothing more than the avatar of some hopeless fanboy, probably sitting in a basement office working an I.T. job, much like myself.

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Over the past half a year I’ve been saving up a week’s worth of the VH1’s daily Best Week Ever podcasts and watching them all at work on Sundays. I feel like I’ve really connected with the show’s cast; all of us weathering the Sunday doldrums together in my basement office explaining to confused septuagenarian callers that “In a chat room, you don’t verbally speak with people. Your computer can’t hear you. You type your message and then press the Enter key. It’s just real life conversation but without all of those icky interpersonal skills.”

This past Sunday I spent some time Googling some of my favorite fundit friends from the BWE Podcast: the ebullient Brian Faas, Max Silvestri and his brazen sarcastic glory, and the sassy yet endearing Michael Cyril Creighton.

FACT: There are 15 Tyler Hansbrough’s in the UNC-Chapel Hill Network, a dozen George Washingtons and three Mary Louise Parkers. Perhaps these are the statistics I took with me when I did a search for Michael Cyril Creighton on the Fbook and absently clicked “Add As Friend.” Certainly, I thought, this was just another amusing avatar. However, perhaps, for just a moment, I actually thought that I was his friend. Just for a second I believed that MCC, Max, and Brian actually had been sitting in my office with me, keeping me company and making me feel like I’m not the only person at work on a Sunday evening, sitting in the basement of a four story university owned building.

I honestly don’t know what I was thinking when I clicked the Add As Friend button. But what I got was not what I expected:



He’s real. And he’s really talking to me, I thought. “Yes MCC!” I wanted to shout. “We do know each other. We hang out at my office on Sunday afternoons. You make laugh by critiquing pop culture in ways I can only dream!” I had so much I wanted to say in my response but I felt like he already knew it all. This Facebook message was just like a real life conversation, but without all those icky interpersonal skills.

Michael Cyril Creighton, you’re my 807th friend on Facebook but you’re #1 in my heart. Thank you for being real!

(Well, actually you’re probably like #15 or so in my heart, after my family, some close friends, and a few other select individuals. But you’re definitely above King Glampapa.)

– Mister John Reitz




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