Online Social Networking

Though I created a Facebook profile of my own free will, I nonetheless have no idea how it is supposed to serve or entertain me in any way. I joined because several people suggested I should, and I thought I might as well find out what the big deal is.

Here's what has happened so far:

Various people have requested to be my "friend," and I have chosen to "confirm" their friendships. Many of them are people who have been friends of mine for years, though we never formally announced our friendship on the Internet until Facebook came along.

Some friendship requests have come from people I am only remotely connected to, such as some guy who went to college with some woman I dated eight years ago. Other requests come from people I'm not sure I've ever met in my life.

I have chosen to confirm all of these requests. I don't want to be rude and "ignore" people who want to be my friend, even if I'm sometimes not sure who they are or what their motivation is.

Sometimes I visit the profile pages of mysterious people who seek my friendship and try to figure out if I've ever met them before, just in case the clerk at my neighborhood grocery store expects me to acknowledge that we are now "friends" since she found me on Facebook.

Usually, once I become Facebook friends with someone, nothing else happens. They become a name and picture on a list. If I want, I can read their "status update," so I know if they're "restocking the refrigerator" or "recovering from a great weekend!"

Some of my "friends" invite me to play games on Facebook. They want to "see how alike" we are or challenge my knowledge of "animals in movies." I have no interest in that, because I completed junior high school in 1988.

Other people try to "poke" me, "high fiiiive" me or "use the force" on me. I don't know what any of that means, but it nonetheless makes me want to use Facebook to invite them to "drop dead."

Maybe the reason I don't get any enjoyment out of Facebook is that I can't even imagine how it could possibly be useful to me. I simply don't understand it. All I know is, with "friends" like these, who needs the Internet?

Paul Lundgren is a newspaper columnist and a very nice man. His e-mail address, paul @ geekprom.com, works just fine, so there is no need to write anything on his Facebook "wall."