Love In The Time Of Facebook
I love ‘poking’ you on Facebook. Because of you, suddenly Facebook ‘pokes’ seem less stupid. Until I met you, the ‘poke’ was just an annoying relic to which the Western world’s most mature social network seemed stubbornly to cling, an element to imagine as interesting only to ‘tweens,’ but now whenever it says you have ‘poked’ me I want to poke you back immediately. I want you to never again have to wait long for me to click ‘poke back,’ because I want you to kinda smile the way that I do and I log in and it says “[You] have poked [me],” with your name in luminous, linkable blue text to remind me that you are a real person who is thinking about me.
You make me wish that there was some kind of ‘next level’ Facebook poke, like, a special poke that was somehow more distinct or recognized than the standard, and you even kind of make me wish all of our Facebook friends could see how much we poke one another so that they could tease us about it. I have irrational daydreams about having a wedding with you where our internet friends are there and someone stands up to make a toast and says something like, “I totally knew this day would come from the first time I saw them exchanging hundreds of poke notifications.”
I want to ‘like’ literally every single thing you post just because it came from you. I knew I was really into you when I stopped worrying about what your Facebook friends would think of me ‘liking’ almost all of your status updates or links or photographs. And when you post something on my Wall, I wish I could ‘like’ it a little harder than I ‘like’ things that other people post; I wish there were gradients of ‘like’ so that I could like all of your activity in a more distinct and emphasized fashion.
I want you and everyone else to know how ‘liked’ you are by me. I go back in my feed to the day we changed our relationship status and I wish I could ‘like’ “[I am] in a relationship with [you]” multiple times. I often feel like ‘unliking’ it just so I can ‘like’ it all over again. When I see you at the top of my chat list with a green dot beside your name I feel fulfilled somehow.
When I haven’t talked to you in a little while I read your Twitter feed to see what you have been doing. I like to click on the links you post to see what you have been reading and watching since the last time we talked, so that we can talk about it later. When you Tweet about me I want to RT and I don’t even really care that I lose followers from people who are sick of me Tweeting the funny things you say or RTing things that only we understand. I follow like hundreds of people but when I’m scrolling through the feed of people I follow your posts jump out at me immediately, like I have a mental bookmark of your avatar.
When I’m falling asleep at night and I bring my iPhone to bed I always pull to refresh my mailbox and my Facebook a couple extra times just to make sure you aren’t there. In the dark of my room I associate the sound of my touch screen clicking when I write you before bed with a certain kind of intimacy between you and I.
When I’m out I’ve become that person asking if the bar or the restaurant or the store or coffee shop or anything, whatever, has WiFi. I want to refresh things and see if you have been online. I want to use Facebook Places to ‘check in’ where I am so that you know. When I refresh things on my phone and I get a notification there is a measurable elevation in my heart rate or breathing, and a distinct sentiment of deflation if it’s not you, if it’s just me having been invited to some remote acquaintance’s dumb art show or some stranger also commenting on something I commented on. Sometimes I feel like wouldn’t Facebook be even better if you and I were the only ones on it, so that when it said I had seven notifications or nine or that I had two unread messages I could just be excited because it couldn’t be anyone but you.
I often find myself reading back through your feed to the time we met, and to before that, so I can see what your life was like before you loved me. I have the discipline not to click on any girls’ names or stalk them too intently just in case they’re prettier than me, but I feel pretty happy that a cursory judgment of their profile pic thumbnails suggests they’re not. Besides, you once ‘checked in’ to a made-up location called ‘in love’ and tagged me and only me, and I don’t think you’ve ever done that with anyone else.
I especially love when the notifications say that you have ‘liked’ some picture of mine that I posted back before we met, because then I know you were just kind of looking through pictures of me for no reason. I like when you leave comments or you ‘like’ all my stuff just as much as I like yours. I haven’t ever wanted anyone else to do that before, to ‘like’ me so visibly, because what if there’d been someone I liked more and they were deterred by my being visibly ‘liked’ by someone else?
But there isn’t anyone I like more than you. I don’t care who sees us ‘liking’ everything about each other. I almost want to change my privacy settings to ‘public’ so that even people I don’t know can see us ‘liking’ everything about each other.
I wish Facebook let you just ‘like’ individual people, like not elements of their profile or their updates or photos, just them. I would click ‘like’ on you every day.
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