On Facebook, Stalking, & Ralph Waldo Emerson

He’s all wrong for us, baby. I saw you beat that man like I never saw no man get beat before, and the man kept coming after you. Now we don’t need no man like that in our lives.
–Duke to Apollo, in Rocky II as they considered a rematch with Rocky Balboa.

Facebook and I have a toxic relationship and I’m the problem.

We first got together in 2009.

It was wrong from the beginning.

Facebook notifications - red icons with numbers inside - have the power to ruin my life.
Facebook notifications – red icons with numbers inside – produce a false sense of power dangerous to insane people.

Personal struggles – euphemism for manifested insanity – in my mid-20’s left me isolated from friends as I attempted to redefine myself – euphemism for futile avoidance of admitting insanity characterized by a surface level self-reorganization designed to convince people that I’ve changed. 

Facebook allowed me to introduce the new me to the world and derive a temporary sense of power from little red dots. For those of you not on Facebook, when someone likes a post or wants to be your friend or comments on something you posted, you are notified by the arrival of a little red dot on your Facebook page.

Perhaps they should change the little red dots to little tan crack rocks.

Though I’ve actually never smoked crack and am therefore somewhat hesitant to employ the metaphor, that’s essentially what the red dots are.

Side note: The new me was exactly the same as the old me, only this time in a different city doing below average, long form amateur improvisational comedy. Look at me! I’m creative! Oh, and the new me wore hip clothes from Urban Outfitters. Look at me! I’m in skinny jeans and an ironic Coco Puffs t-shirt!

Look at me, I’m writing a blog!

Not that there’s anything wrong with Urban Outfitters, per se.

Other side note: By the world, I mean approximately 200 people out of 7,125,000,000. In other words, an infinitesimally tiny sliver of the actual world.

Facebook allowed me to show 200 people how ironic my t-shirts are.
Facebook allowed me to show 200 people how ironic my t-shirts are thus inducing them to like me.

Another benefit / death trap of Facebook is that it allows a dangerously deep level of access to a pool of acquaintances. For a guy who has always been more comfortable finding a girlfriend / hostage / wife in the friend zone, Facebook is way better than Tinder.

I just disclosed a state secret.

Within a few weeks of joining Facebook, I was “dating” an old friend. Status change!!!

Within a year, we were “engaged.” Status change!!!

Within 2, we were “married.” Status change!!!

Within 5, we were “divorced.” Status change!!!

In the meantime, I had gotten off Facebook- then back on – and then off again.

A few weeks ago, I got back on Facebook for the 3rd time.

What the hell?

What possesses someone, other than a stalker, to get on Facebook 3 separate times?

Let me address the stalking thing real quick.

The guy in this picture appears to be a "full stalker" as opposed to someone with stalking tendencies.
The guy in this picture appears to be a “full stalker” as opposed to someone with stalking tendencies.

I’m not a full stalker. I do, however, have some stalking tendencies.

What’s the difference?

Mostly my own resistance to admitting I’m a stalker, but indulge me please.

For example, I’ll stalk someone’s Facebook page. Why not? That’s what it’s there for, right? But I don’t put spyware on their computers or anything. Full stalkers use spyware.

And I’ve even been known to do a nostalgic drive by an ex’s house. Which, after I typed that suddenly seemed creepier than when I did it. But it’s not like I waited in the bushes. Full stalkers wait in the bushes.

And OK, I’ve read some emails that weren’t addressed to me. But they were left open. It’s not like I hacked into the computer or anything. Full stalkers hack into the computer.

Subtle distinctions, perhaps. But nobody wants to be a stalker so please allow me to also point out that I’ve never  (a) tapped anyone’s phones, (b) waited in the shadows of a parking garage, (c) set up surveillance cameras or (d) boiled a bunny rabbit.

I’m capable of most of those things – but pride and good fortune have kept me safe thus far.

So again, other than being a full stalker, what would provoke someone to get off Facebook twice – and then back on again twice?

The first question – in my case – is actually pretty easy to answer.

Pathetic, deluded, fearful self-righteousness.

When I close my account I can announce to the world my moral superiority.  I am suddently off Facebook.

The unoriginal I’m off of Facebook Rant: Now hear this!  Facebook is purely ego. It’s a bunch of people seeking approval. Pathetic self aggrandizing. Transparent. Shallow. Disgusting. Makes me sick. People showing only the surface of their life to make themselves feel better about their pathetic desperate lives. Facebook is a bunch of judgmental, fake, amateur philosophers, amateur theologians, political pundits, relationship experts. ex wives and girlfriends, attention and intrigue seekers. Predators. 

But there’s a problem.

Back in the real, non Facebook world, I’m judgmental. I’m fake. I’m an amateur philosopher, an amateur theologian, an amateur political pundit. I’m a relationship expert, an ex, an attention and intrigue seeker. I’m a predator.

I make me sick.

I’m a pretty big hypocrite.

Getting off Facebook doesn’t change any of that. It doesn’t change who I really am.

Actually most of the time I’m on Facebook, I don’t fully show this side of myself. I don’t fully participate. I hold back. I’m more of a lurker. A tendency stalker.

Being a tendency stalker is perhaps the greatest facade of all.

So as an admitted amateur philosopher, allow me to quote Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”

If Ralph Waldo Emerson were alive he'd see right through my bullshit.
If Ralph Waldo Emerson were alive he’d see right through my bullshit.

So despite my protestations about the evils of Facebook (what I say), I always get back on Facebook (what I do).

Why? Why do I always get back on God Damned Facebook?

For all the wrong reasons, mostly. For the little red dots and the sense of power they produce. For self-aggrandizement (Read my new blog!). For predatory purposes (leads on the next status change – entering through the friend zone). For tendency stalking, a new term just coined to indicate stalking behavior that does not rise to the level of full stalking.

Oh – and did you know you actually have to have a Facebook account to sign up for Tinder?

So there’s that too.

But again, for friend-zone tendency stalkers, Facebook is better than Tinder.

I think I’ll stay on Facebook a while this time. My pride can’t stomach another obviously self-righteous quit. I can’t risk feeling compelled to jump in for the 4th time.

Maybe I’ll even quit lurking and let loose with a few dog pictures. Maybe I’ll “like” things without restraint and post some wise, philosophical text images that I pull off a Google search (like the images for this blog entry). Maybe I’ll make a political post about how both parties suck. That’ll show them. Maybe I’ll talk about my day. Maybe I’ll make a vague reference to some vague personal crisis that nobody cares about.

These are crack rocks, which studies may one day prove to be less addictive than Facebook red like dots.
These are crack rocks, which studies may one day prove to be less addictive than Facebook red like dots.

It’ll be worth it, if people genuinely like it!

I’ll certainly keep posting links to BBALLJONES.com – because after all, look at how creative I am!

But here’s the thing – maybe it’s all OK. Maybe it’s just 2015 and Facebook, which can certainly reveal egotism, can also deliver from that prison.

Maybe Facebook and I are settling into a better rhythm.

Maybe it can work out after all.


UPDATE: 10 minutes after posting this, nobody had liked it.

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: After a few people started liking it, I felt guilty for manipulating them into liking it. So please only like it if you actually like it. 



5 thoughts on “On Facebook, Stalking, & Ralph Waldo Emerson”

  1. Seriously man, you’re a really talented guy. This article was entertaining, insightful and most importantly, factual! I love it. You found a real talent you’ve always had within you.

  2. @ Taylor – great point and I totally agree.
    @ Scott, @ Curt – thank you – that’s very nice of ya’ll to say.

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