Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 05.03.05
Stanstead, Quebec


Never been poked

First there were blogs, which you maintained if you felt the urge to share with strangers details of your love life and/or lunch.

Then came MySpace, mini-websites perfect for promoting your talents, your ideas. and your cleavage.

Next was YouTube, which to date is the ultimate way of embarrassing yourself on a global scale.

What these Internet technologies have in common is they are all about shameless self-promotion. They are a way to say to the world, "Hey, look at me, I'm here! And I've had my body provocatively pierced!"

Then there's Facebook.

Facebook is an increasingly popular networking website where you post your picture, name, birth date, your current or former school and workplace, and other personal details. You then search for other like-minded procrastinators who you ask to be your "friend."

If they say 'yes', their pages are linked from your page and so on. You can then write comments on each other's "walls," send messages, and "poke" each other. Yes, poke.

And that's pretty much it.

Facebook users aren't really promoting anything. The sole purpose of Facebook seems to be to see how many "friends" you can acquire.

In other words, Facebook is just like high school.

I wanted to evaluate Facebook as a communications tool for my work, so I decided to set up my own Facebook account.

I entered my name and information and, voila, I had an account - a sad, limp little account. No hipster-ironic bio, no pleas to "Sign my wall!!!!!!!" No checked box indicating whether I was married, single. or looking for "whatever I can get."

And no picture.

That's because the only recent photo I have of me is the one accompanying this column, which I don't particularly like for rodent-related reasons I've mentioned before. If ex-girlfriends are going to stumble onto my Facebook page I want them thinking "what if…" not "rat poison."

So I uploaded a picture of a skunk.

Now here's how I discovered Facebook is like high school: I had no friends.

Consequently, I searched among my workplace users to find a colleague who I safely felt I could ask to be my friend. This is like standing in a full cafeteria with your food tray looking for the least threatening, equally loser-ish person to join for lunch. (No offence to my colleague.)

With his consent, he became my first Facebook friend. Hooray! And he said I could poke him!

However, the only thing more pathetic than having no Facebook friends is having one Facebook friend. It's just sad. You might as well be friends with the lunch lady.

My trouble is I'm not comfortable reaching out to co-workers or former classmates and saying, "Hey, let's be Facebook friends for no apparent reason." It's like trying to work your way into a conversation by standing on the periphery and adding loud inappropriate comments like, "Yeah, not only that but the ground beef sticks to the fur!" And then the silence, the terrible, awkward silence.

In other words, just like high school.

Then I had a brilliant idea: my daughters. I asked my middle one if she had a Facebook page. "Sort of, not really. Well, I'm not on it that much." This is known as the verbal cut and run.

I asked my eldest daughter if I could be her Facebook friend - purely for research purposes, of course. She gave me a look like there was something hanging out of my nose and said, "I gue-e-ess," and then quickly left the room if not the house.

I mean, like, that would be so totally not cool to be, like, "friends" with your father. I can't be seen with him. I mean, ohmigod!

Yup: just like high school.

So rather than overtly demonstrate my desperation and neediness, I'll just sit back with a smirk on my face, post pictures of skunks, make like I'm only there for research purposes and pretend I'm too cool for this Facebook fad. Yeah, man, I'm not going to bother finding Facebook friends. I'll let them find me.

Someone? Anyone?