1. Facebook helps you stare at a computer screen and scroll in a hopeless manner down your news feed, which Facebook smartly made neverending, for hours on end. In this regard, Facebook helps you feel a new type of emotion; a sort of deeply unsatisfied longing for meaning, entertainment, or substance, for which you scroll endlessly, each status update somehow not good enough to fill your attentional reservoir, each comment somehow not scratching some incessant inner itch.
2. Facebook helps people you knew in high school ‘reconnect’ with you in what ultimately turns out to be a vaguely creepy and mostly annoying, drawn-out, and seemingly neverending event. This occurs such that now someone who knew you in that vulnerable period of your life during which you were awkwardly testing the boundaries of your vague identity without any meaningful concept of the future can observe from a safe distance how well that whole ’emo,’ ‘gangster,’ or ‘jock’ (for example) phase ultimately turned out for you. While it’s obvious that your high school friend cannot know what led you to Who You Currently Are, Who You Currently Are can, for some reason, suddenly feel embarrassing when your high school friend requests your Facebook friendship.
3. Facebook helps people you don’t know but friended for networking purposes think that you’re ugly. Likewise, Facebook helps you worry that someone at last night’s party is going to indiscriminately tag you in a bunch of photos they shot without taking care to edit out the ones in which you don’t look good. Facebook helps you seriously consider canceling your plans the day after the party so you can sit in front of your laptop, constantly refresh your Facebook news feed, and untag yourself as soon as the camera-happy partygoer finally uploads the pictures and indiscriminately tags you.
4. Facebook has ushered in the parental revival. It helps parents who haven’t lived with their children for over ten years monitor their children’s internet personas, to which their children feel close and of which their children feel protective. Facebook provides parents with new, digital types of parental worrying and the impetus to write stern, misinformed emails passively suggesting ways their fully-grown-adult children should live their lives. Facebook thusly helps these children experience acute feelings of paranoia and ‘being trapped’ under constant surveillance.
5. Facebook helps you feel embarrassed for others upon seeing them logically defeated on someone’s Wall in a political argument during which unseemly amounts of nationalism, pro life beliefs, faith and/or rage are displayed. Similarly, Facebook helps you feel seriously averse to ‘friends’ who you don’t know at all – you only know that they status update way too much, and that their updates are belligerently self-centered, approval-seeking, and/or self-promoting.
6. Facebook helps you understand what stage of life someone’s in: innocent child, obnoxious teenager, annoying college kid, idealist, married, mid-life crisis, divorced, or ‘unable to use internet because too old.’
7. Facebook helps you know who is a ‘Burning Man’ person.
8. Facebook helps you read into your ex’s comments on other people’s walls and feel emotionally crushed by what you discern.
9. Facebook helps sustain our massive appetites for scandal and the opportunity to complain loudly. In so doing, Facebook helps us spam our entire friend list imploring it to sign internet petitions (i.e. “to keep “Facebook out of our personal lives!!” and to “Stop Facebook from changing the state of social networking forever!!”). Likewise, Facebook helps us reach out to way more people than is functional, and as such, we receive ~20 event invitations a week to readings/ gallery openings/ parties happening on the other side of the country, which I must say is quite annoying.
10. Facebook helps you with your decisions about dating by providing a relatively wide picture of your crush’s internet persona. One can glean some amount of telling information from another’s Facebook profile, although it’s often worth nothing in face-to-face interaction.
Proposed new Facebook tagline: “Helping a lot of people you don’t care about connect with you in exchange for the meager benefit of having the ability to harvest low-quality information to fill your attention span, having an official point-of-contact with certain people for networking benefits, and providing a picture of the internet personas of those whom you are romantically interested in.