Tag Archives: reach out and touch someone

why i hate facebook, part #49502


so. in case anyone reading doesn’t know, i really, really hate facebook. i was on it back in college and i deleted it because i wanted to spend less time on the internet and now everyone’s on it, all the freakin’ time. yada, yada, yada, you know the drill, status update this, farmville that, whatever.
facebook is creepy and frustrating for me for a lot of reasons that i won’t get into here, but i read something in the paper on friday that just seriously pissed me off. perhaps you’ve heard the tragic tale of tyler clementi, the 18-year-old in new jersey who committed suicide after his dormmate taped him having sex with another man. this is, of course, awful on so many levels. but one part of the story really made me sad: before committing suicide, clementi updated his facebook status to read: “jumping off the gw bridge sorry.”
is that a suicide note? or a request that someone stop him? i feel like posting something like that on a public site suggests, at least subconsciously, that he wanted someone to intervene. but when everyone has a zillion friends, posting a status update every time they sneeze, watch “glee” or eat a cupcake, it’s easy for his status update to get lost in the shuffle. and there are so many cryptic status updates it’s easy to think that he was kidding, or that it’s a weird inside joke. did he check his iphone one last time before going on the bridge, to see if anyone commented? to see if anyone texted to see if he’s okay?
it makes me think of something that happened in 1999, when i was 16 or 17. i called my boyfriend-at-the-time and he didn’t want to talk because he was playing video games or something stupid. i hung up, annoyed, and a few minutes later an aloof-straight-dude friend called me up sobbing because some girl had rejected him and it was the last straw, he wanted to kill himself. i dunno how truly serious he was, but we talked for a long time, i let him cry and suggested reasons he should keep on living. after we hung up, i had a chilling realization: what if my boyfriend had actually wanted to talk and my friend had gotten a busy signal? (yes, in 1999 my family STILL didn’t have call waiting!) what if that was enough to send him over the edge? at the time, i would have been happy to talk to my boyfriend. i would have had no idea what i was missing. my point is, if tyler clementi existed in a world where people actually fucking talk to each other, would he still be alive?
don’t be silly, i’m not saying facebook is responsible for his death. i’m saying that every year people talk less and type more. i’m saying that talking is important. i, too, have embraced texting, for the convenience and lowered social anxiety, but i’m afraid it means i’ve forgotten how to call people besides my nearest and dearest. i, too, go on my boyfriend’s facebook sometimes to check on people, because some days it feels like nobody communicates in any way outside of that stupid website, nobody posts their pictures anywhere else, i don’t know what is going on with anyone because nobody tells me because people assume that i read it on facebook. and it’s annoying. and it sucks. and i wish, i wish tyler clementi had used his phone to call someone, or even text someone, before he drove to that bridge and jumped off. i wish his last sentence was at least a complete sentence, and i wish someone had read it before it was too late.