I am not a Hipster. And even though this is the “What’s Hot” issue of Bar Tab Magazine, I am not going to pretend to be one. In fact, I am not even cool enough to be a part of this issue, but the longevity of my professional relationship with this magazine’s publisher (and the fact that he still owes me for recently providing transportation and “check out fees” at the Stock Island Hilton) dictates that I participate. So here it goes:
I am not certain when exactly it happened, but sometime between the Reagan administration and the Tae Bo with Billy Blanks craze, I went out of style. There was no singular, clear indicator that marked my exit from “Modern Generation X-er” to “Lady with Nostalgia-based Tourettes, a bad hip and three cats.” It must have occurred slowly, over time, like walking down a long hallway strewn with the shed belongings of one’s former glory days…
The six pairs of Guess jeans.
The cute little coupe with the turbo engine.
The Pioneer stereo with 5-CD changer.
The interesting array of body piercings.
The Sub Pop t-shirt and killer CD collection.
The 9 pound cell phone.
But those days of basking in the the glow of my Ban de Soleil self tanner, listening to Ace of Base on my jeep’s tape deck are long gone. Now I am just a working Key West stiff with an antiquated taste in music and a tragically unhip wardrobe. And I’m not merely behind the times with just fashion and music, I’m resisting the changing tides of technology. Don’t get me wrong, I love computers and smart phones, I’m just not comfortable with technology entirely replacing the traditional ways in which humans communicate.
Call me crazy but I like hand written thank you’s, tangible invitations that arrive by snail mail, the occasional phone call and once in a while, live conversation over a hot or cold beverage. Oh I’ve tried to roll with the times. I’ve gone digital, paperless, wireless; I’ve even cancelled my land line and learned to text message with the best of them. But now, my old friend The Email seems to be on his way down the halls of defunctness along with your parents’ 8-track player and your brother’s Atari. This is where I have to draw the line.
People don’t read their email anymore, giving exclusivity of written communication now to Facebook and I am resisting the damn social network like the state of Texas resists sex education.
Last Christmas I made the mistake of sending a Christmas party invite via email requesting an email RSVP reply. With only 2 responses to the invite, I cancelled the party due to lack of interest. When the invitees eventually (a week later) read their email invitations, my phone began to ring and my email inbox filled up with responses. I was repeatedly quizzed as to why I had not put the invite out on Facebook.
“Because,” I said, “I emailed you.”
When did email become passé? You’d have thought I’d asked my friends to page me from the arcade at the mall.
I get that there’s 500 million people on Facebook and I understand that you cannot hold ANY social gathering and expect people to attend without going through Facebook first. Yes, it is a great way to share your photos and promote your artistic and business endeavors. Most of my friends and family are on Facebook. In fact, most of them friggin’ love it. That doesn’t mean I have to like it too. But since I’ve already resigned myself to being a feisty troglodyte, I may as well explain my beef with Zuckerberg’s pesky international contagion.
First of all, the very format which makes Facebook so popular is what makes it terribly public. All that linking of comments invites 500 million people to your page and your personal business. If your page isn’t already set to private, tell me who you are so that I can stop by your page, gather your personal info, look at your photos and friends, and then quickly commit a little identity theft. I’m pretty sure I can figure out your mother’s maiden name, the high school you attended, and by all those enthusiastic birthday wishes, your date of birth. Oh, and if you “check in” at a bar or restaurant, It’ll be easier to break into your house without getting caught. And since I’ve looked at all your photos, I already know where all the valuables are located.
The other thing that really chaps my hide is how the entire institution encourages users to cyber stalk their friends, their friends’ friends and people they will never actually meet. Whether we choose to admit it or not, cloaked in internet anonymity we all quietly spy on our estranged classmates, colleagues and lovers. Worst of all, Facebook is working hard to ensure that every goddamned person you’ve ever met, from your buck-toothed neighbor in Fourth Grade to your colonoscopy technician, has the ability to connect with you, should you choose to accept their friend request. Then of course, should you choose not to, you look like a snobby douche.
Every second, Facebook is updating the latest newsreel comments as users are commenting and commenting and commenting. It’s a verbal diarrhea at the fingertips which lets you know what everyone is thinking about, from an important upcoming vote in the House to what flavor of bagel your sister ate for breakfast, and there’s no filter.
I feel like we never truly talk anymore. Maybe there’s the rub. 500 million people talking all at once leaves me feeling lonely and left behind.
I just want someone to talk to me. Just me. Not someone to comment on my pictures, or sign me up as a member of some cyber fan club or to virtual-poke me. And if you happen to be reading this from my blog’s Facebook feed (yes, I’m well aware that I’m a total hypocrite,) please don’t “poke” me. That’s just weird, man.
I don’t want to just be Facebook Friends. I want to be unfashionable, real, live friends who meet at The Porch and go interesting places together. Who knows…if we hit it off, I may let you borrow my polyester double knit leisure suits and Barry Manilow albums.
(Hipster artwork at top by Pat Harpin)