A recent morning’s posts on Facebook included messages from people in France, Colorado, Texas and Hawaii, along with one from two blocks away.
The information was fascinating. Two people were having breakfast, one was on the way to work and the others were delighting that they were on vacation.
Receiving these messages excites me, because I can vicariously live several lives at once without being schizophrenic.
At one moment in time, I can read reviews of restaurants I will never go to and see photos of people I will never meet. This is in addition to knowing
details about things that I never knew I cared about.
Here, while working on my laptop, I can take a break and rummage through the lives of other people, just as I surf for weather reports. Thanks to a man named Zuckerberg, I can feel the pathos of being someone else.
This is handy — while I am being them, I do not need to experience my own pathos, as pathetic as it is.
Then again, there are people who lead interesting lives. When they get up in the morning, they look forward to their busy day. When they go to bed, they are grateful for substantial victories. I share in it all while I also consider un-friending them due to envy.
There was a time when I just had my own interests to worry about. Now I can worry about so many others.
I suppose you might say that I could stop this at any time. All I’d have to do is erase my profile and stop lurking around the profiles of others.
But it is not that easy.
Many of us no longer really care — we are now afraid that we will be left behind.
People’s lives might soon have a plot change, and we will miss it like we missed the final episode of “M*A*S*H.”
We will no longer be informed.
All right then — it is an addiction.
It is similar to being hooked on soap operas or serialized novels. Facebook is immediate gratification for the reality-television age in which we live. What if something important happens without us?
We stalk the information of strangers as if they were Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton. What if a friend knows something we don’t?
Indeed, Facebook has brought us closer. It might not seem important to some to know what I am doing right now — which is lying about having such a fun life — but it is important to my friends.
• Mike McLellan can be contacted by calling and leaving a message at 830-4231 or emailing him at DrMikeM@sbcglobal.net.