E-Friends – 2022

One of the coolest side effects of our society’s relentless technology is Social Media.  It has allowed us to turn our world into one gigantic village — which means we’re all cyber-neighours.  Everybody on this planet is now one tap, swipe or click away from everybody else, and billions of us have taken advantage of this.  Think about it!  We all know someone we’ve never talked to, never touched, never smiled at, or even seen.  These are the strangers who are our friends – our e-friends – and in the 21st century, we all have them.  There is still some debate over whether these e-friends are as good or even the same as IRL (In Real Life) friends, but in a couple of generations, this won’t even be a question … because … and here’s the best bit – e-friends are way better than real ones.  Let me demonstrate.

E-friends never waste your time with long, boring stories.   Regardless of how drawn-out their particular tale of woe might become, you don’t have sit there and listen.  The truth is, most people just scroll down to the end, type ‘awesome,” and move on.

E-friends never drag you off to places you don’t want to go.  When you live on the other side of the world, this never comes up on the panel – thank God.  So you don’t have to sweat the oboe recital, the fishing trip or what’s-her-name’s graduation – just to be polite.  All you have to do is make the right noises when your e-friends post the pictures.

They’re never mean to you.  E-friends are notoriously good-natured, and if they ever do go off the rails, all you have to do is delete them.

When e-friends talk about you behind your back, you’re never going to hear about it.

You don’t have worry about cleaning the house when e-friends come to visit.  In fact, you can talk to them in your pajamas if you so choose – and people frequently do.

You never have to put up with your e-friends’ annoying spouse, or know-it-all sister, or idiot dog who peed on your carpet or any of the other baggage IRL friends always bring along with them.

E-friends don’t force you make hard decisions like “Does this dress make me look fat?”  Normally, those photos are deleted long before they ever get to you.

E-friends never give you the flu.

E-friends don’t make promises they can’t keep.  Ganjit, from Chennai is never going to volunteer to help you move and then disappear the day the boxes are packed.  (I’m looking at you, Sam Newton!)

E-friends always listen.  When you’re talking to them they never get distracted by their phone – cuz you’re the one on the phone.

E-friends don’t borrow your stuff and forget to give it back.  You never have that awkward moment when you discover your e-buddy Betty is serving cake off a plate that she borrowed from you two Christmases ago.

But the best thing about e-friends is:

Age, gender, race, religion, nationality, income, etc., etc., etc. don’t make a damn bit of difference to e-friends.   They are the most egalitarian groups of people on this planet.  So, while most of the world is shouting and swearing and calling each other names, there are tons of little groups of e-friends, kicked back in various small corners of cyberspace, trying to get to know each other.  And that’s totally cool!

Facebook Desperado

I’ve always known that, despite outward appearances, I was a badass. Now I can prove it.

But you need a little background.

First, I’m on Facebook.  I use it to keep track of my friends and family without harassing them with “old man” telephone calls.  I scroll through, see what everybody’s doing, click “like” if I actually like something (weird, huh?) and move on to real life.  Handy as a hip pocket!

Second.  I live in Canada.  But I live in the one part of Canada (Vancouver) where it doesn’t really get cold and we hardly ever get snow.  When we do get snow, it’s an event — kinda like Carnival in Rio except with winter coats, a lot more swearing and traffic accidents.

Okay?  Stay with me.

This year, it snowed in Vangroovy – a bunch.  We had a White Christmas.  It was an event.  I posted it on Facebook.  Here’s the picture and here’s the caption.

 “Okay, Mother Nature.  Enough is enough.  Go Home.  You’re drunk.”

Then, a couple of days later, when there was more snow, I posted another picture – again with a caption.

“HEY, Mother Nature! Again with the snow? That’s it. I’ve had it. One more time and I’m taking legal action. How would you like a big fat Restraining Order, you bi … bad person?”

Me and my Facebook friends had a good laugh, and all was well with the world.

Then the snow went away.  And I posted this picture …

AND ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE!

My post was deleted because … wait for it … the Zuckerberg Police said, “Your post goes against our Community Standards on hate speech.”  Not only that, but I was warned that if I continued to flout these Community Standards, my account would come under review and my Facebook privileges could and probably would be taken away.  (No more “Thumbs Up” for you – ya Nazi!)    

To be fair, it wasn’t the picture that pissed them off; it was the caption.  I can’t write the caption here just in case the Algorithms are still watching me (they probably are) but here’s the gist of it:

First word – D** — cease to exist.
Second word – Y** — not me but …
Third word — W**** — the colour of snow
Fourth word – D***** — residents of Hell

Apparently, if you’re going to criticize snow, you have to play nice or – uh – the snow? — will be offended?  I think?  (The Zuckerberg militia didn’t actually explain.)

Now, I could go on and on about the mindless, senseless, cyber monopoly called Facebook and how it has slithered its soulless tentacles into every aspect of our daily lives.  I could mention that “the Big F” answers to no-one, and that Biden, Putin and the Pope combined don’t have the kind power Zuckerberg’s minions do.  (Don’t they wish they did!)  Or I could suggest that — of all the bizarre, stupid, ridiculous, hateful and downright harmful things I’ve seen on Facebook — controlling hate speech against snow doesn’t strike me as a top priority.

I could do all those things.  But I’m not gonna.  Cuz I’m a badass now.  I’m walking tall.  I’m talking tough.  I’d drink my juice out of the carton if my wife would let me.  Maybe I’ll just get a neck tattoo: “Born to flout Community Standards.”  Yeah!  And I’ll misspell “flout,” cuz that’s the way guys like me roll!

7 People To Avoid On Social Media

I love Social Media.  It’s like waking up in the morning and a couple of thousand people climb out of bed with you. Then, before you know it, there’s this gigantic cocktail party going on.  However, as with all social gatherings, there are a few people you kinda want to avoid.  Here’s a quick and dirty guide to the folks you need to stay away from on Social Media.  (FYI — I’ve managed to steer clear of some these folks, but the rest is bitter experience.)

Games R Us — I’ve got nothing against playing video games, but these people are the crack addicts of the Internet.  They’re constantly posting their achievements, sending you points and invitations, and generally cluttering up your cyberspace.  Why?  They want to get you hooked, too — so you’ll send them points and power-up crap and we can all be junkies together.

Puppies, Cats and Babies — Whatever you do, stay away from these people and their photos, their GIFs and their videos.  The cute will overwhelm you, you’ll end up giving all your money to the Save The Children Fund and your house will be overrun by 9 cats, 4 dogs, an African Grey parrot and a colony of hamsters.

I’ve Got My Caps Lock On — These folks are permanently pissed-off.  They post things like:  “Some people just need a high-five, in the face, with a chair!”  Or they’ll rant on (in capital letters) about how the kid at Starbucks™ misspelled their name, or the traffic was horrible, or work is torture and on and on and on.  And don’t get them started on politics!  If you hang with these snarly buggers, you may never smile again.

Share Bear Comedians — These are the people who think they’d be really good at standup (if only they had the chance.)  They post funny memes 10, 12, 16 times a day and an assortment of videos where some unsuspecting somebody gets nailed in the jewels.  Sometimes this stuff is funny, but eventually you realize these folks have nothing to say and they say it all day — every day.  Can you imagine how much time they spend online just finding this stuff?

I Have An Infinite Soul — These are the people who believe they live on a higher plane of consciousness than everybody else and have a burning need to share their awareness.  They’re continually posting platitudes to demonstrate their deep thoughts.  Mostly these are meaningless, self-help homilies.  This is easy — stay away from these pompous assholes.

I’m Going To Ruin Your Day — These are the people who post videos of blind dogs with no legs or kids with tubes in them or lonely old people on park benches or … Sweet Jesus! Just kill me now!  How the hell do you respond to this stuff?  “Gosh, I never realized the world was so full of torment and suffering.  I think I’ll just turn off my computer and cry for an hour or two.”

And finally:

I’m Old And You’re Stuck With Me — These are those sweet old friends and relatives who are still trying to figure out The Google.  Somebody set them up on Social Media and you friended or followed them to be nice.  Now, they think every time you post something, they’re required to make some lame ass comment.  Plus, they’re somebody’s mom’s friend or an Uncle Bill so you can’t get rid of them without feeling like a shit.  The best thing to do is just lol them once in a while and carry on.  (Most of them think lol means Lots of Love, anyway.)

GOOD LUCK!