Status update: He's new to Facebook

The Baltimore Sun

Not long ago, looking for ways to waste even more time on the Internet, I joined Facebook.

Facebook, of course, is the popular social networking site where people go to connect with one another, which seemed problematic at first because I didn't really want to connect with anyone, and I didn't really want anyone to connect with me.

But I joined anyway, mainly to torture my three kids, who were mortified at the prospect of their middle-aged dad cavorting in the online playground of the young.

As of this writing, I have 28 Facebook "friends," two or three of whom I actually know, and the number is growing rapidly.

This is because I have no standards when it comes to friending.

I'm a big-tent guy and my policy is: Hey, you want to be my friend? Sure! C'mere and give me a big Facebook hug!

This kind of promiscuous friending could lead to problems down the road, I suppose.

I don't know who monitors Facebook. But I bet if you comb through my friends list, you might find people like the Unabomber and Rod Blagojevich and maybe even A-Rod's cousin, the one who gave him the steroids he shot in his butt.

Actually, it doesn't really matter who my friends are, since I have no plans to communicate with most of them anyway.

(Note to the FBI: If the Unabomber is on my friends list, how's he getting on Facebook from a prison cell anyway? Might be time for another contraband sweep of that cellblock.)

Some people have hundreds and even thousands of Facebook friends, which is really amazing. You must have to practically live on the site to put up those kinds of numbers.

One of my kids, the 17-year-old, has 597 friends. I asked him about this.

"What can I say? I'm a popular guy," he said.

He figures he actually knows about 30 of those people, meaning he has about 577 anonymous strangers as friends, which happens only on Facebook.

On the other hand, my friend Lori has only 294 friends and she still describes herself as a "friends whore," meaning she's easy when it comes to friending, too.

But, look, the way I'm going, I could be up to 294 friends by breakfast tomorrow. So I won't be ridiculing anyone for serial friending, that's for sure.

Getting back to the issue of wasting time, boy, you can really do that on Facebook.

One of the best ways to waste time is by issuing "status updates" that let your friends know what you're doing at that moment.

I can tell you, with some degree of certainty, that you'll never, ever read anything as boring as your average Facebook status update.

Here are some actual ones I've received, with last names deleted:

"Bill is wandering around the mall, waiting for his car to be done at Sears."

"Jo really wanted a slab of cake, but is chewing some Doublemint. It's inadequate."

"E hates when people snore on the train. She's tired, too. But she doesn't snore on the train."

And my absolute favorite:

"W was doing dishes and cut her hand on a broken glass and didn't notice until things turned a little bit too red."

Sure, what's the first thing you do when you slice open your hand?

Run to the computer, smear blood all over the keyboard, and tell all your Facebook friends!

I wonder if people with gunshot wounds will now stagger over to the computer and post a status update before calling 911?

Hand-slicing incidents aside, most of these status updates will make your eyes glaze over. And they might eventually turn me off to Facebook altogether.

It took me about a week to get up the nerve to post a status update of my own.

Oh, I had plenty of mundane things to post. Look, you already know I have no life, by virtue of the fact that I joined Facebook.

So you weren't going to get "Kevin is traversing the Arctic Circle by dog sled" or "Kevin is fending off a berserk chimpanzee."

Finally I came up with this: "Kevin is looking for a column."

But that seemed too racy.

So my next status update read: "Kevin is enjoying a small garden salad for lunch. Ken's Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing, if you care."

I know, I know . . . you couldn't get more lame.

Facebook has something like 175 million users. And I imagine that in the entire five-year history of the site, that was the single lamest status update of all time.

Oh, look at that!

I just logged onto Facebook and I'm up to 32 friends.

I'd throw a party, if I only knew who most of them were.

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