As of now, I’m loved.

I happened to be browsing the ‘Current Events’ section of the interweb and came upon another article on Facebook.  Despite the fact that this social site has basically taken over my life due to Scrabulous, I sometimes wonder at what other people are doing with/on it.  I mean, if you don’t have about half your work day to squander playing online, when do you find the time for this stuff?  Of course, many users are young college students with plenty of time to squander.  Still, I was quite surprised at the article, which focuses on relationships and Facebook as the real way to know you’re in one.  Interesting.

I understand the appeal of Facebook as a means to keep in touch with people.  It’s great for keeping up ties if you’re living far from your friends, or extended family.  It offers a variety of services (such as ‘events’ or ‘notes’ or ‘mini-feed’) that allow users to keep up on the happenings and mundane details of a range of acquaintances.  It’s a tool that begs to be used.  But at the same time, like other innovations of the internet, it allows communication to become increasingly indirect.  When you can avoid discussing being in a relationship and what that implies  by simply posting it on Facebook and waiting for a confirmation, that’s not necessarily a good thing.  It reverts our social growth to the note-passing we did in middle school to ask people out, fearful of a direct rejection.  It dehumanizes a part of what should be a close and personal bond between two people.

I must admit, I was only recently aware that the ‘in a relationship with______’ function required authentication form the other party.  I had changed my status sometime last year to reflect that I was serious about Mike, and then promptly put the whole thing out of my head.  He only recently accepted the modification, possibly because he’s one of those who is rarely on the site what with his ‘real job’ and all.  What if I had been asking him out with that little change?  Would the consequent lack of response spawned negativity and confusion?  I hope not.  After all, a relationship should at least be more serious than the click of a mouse.

A Smarter Facebook

I am, by nature, only a somewhat lazy person.  I say ‘somewhat lazy’ because there are a few key laziness signs that I do exhibit, though I am on the whole a fairly motivated and active person.  I don’t pick up or clean my apartment as often as I should, though I do occasionally do a full cleaning when the grime gets too thick.  I haven’t yet taken the time to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life, though I do try to broaden my skill set with outside classes and my current job.  I haven’t gotten a book published yet, but I have at least finished one (crappy, mostly unedited) novel.  So I’m not a complete bum.

However, one of the things I don’t do is constantly check whether or not my old acquaintances and friends are on facebook.  Fortunately for the half-lazies like me, there are new programs that take care of this.  Somehow, that wonderful sphere of technology has broadened yet again.  Some lovely algorithm is out there every day, comparing my friends to each other.  When some of my friends (I’m not sure how many) are also friends with the same person, it pops up this little ‘People You May Know’ box tot he right of the main page.  How wonderful!  Now I can friend all those semi-acquaintances I’d almost been able to put out of my head!  Pretty soon, that random guy you saw in the train last Tuesday will automatically pop up for stalking on facebook since you did (if accidentally) make eye contact.  That totally counts as a friend-worthy experience.

Scrabulous? Perhaps

Though I was pulled kicking and screaming into the Facebook world by my two younger sisters (Thanks, both of you, for the giant GAPS on my Myspace Top 12), I have found my permanent niche there. That niche is online Scrabble. I love it, I’m addicted, and I’m half-torn between admitting I have a problem and dancing with joy at the thought of procrastination which may actually sharpen my mind. And while it’s probably not so good to be constantly online checking on the multiple games I have going at once, it is nice to have a little brain bender to turn to when I need a little break. Call it the World Wide Water Cooler.

In addition I have recently encountered a new type of Scrabble that makes clear what I love about Facebook’s online version, Scrabulous. It’s called Scrabble Scramble. In some unknown way it differs from Scrabble Express, which I have no experience with. Anyway, the point of this game is speed.  No more waiting for the slow one to tediously spell out three letter words. No more dancing around the room hoping that your perfect bingo is not destroyed before you can play it. It’s a roll-and-go game that forces you to think on your feet and adapt to changing situations under pressure.

While I do still love and cherish the online dictionary of Scrabulous, some have said that checking your words in such dictionaries is tantamount to cheating. I prefer to think of such use as a way to learn new words and expand my mind, but I will say it’s rare for me to actually look up the words I’ve discovered. Still, what really draws me to both Scrabulous and Scrabble Scramble is the flexibility of the game. Both take up just a little bit of time, are portable or readily accessible from multiple locations, and demand flexible thinking as well as game strategy and a large vocabulary. Where could you go wrong with that?