I’m In An Open Relationship With Facebook… And It’s Complicated
Listen, Facebook. I know we’ve had our ups and downs… more “downs” than “ups” recently. We’ve had tiffs and spats, but also moments of sublime social happiness in the form of friendly re-connections and GISHWHES-ing. So when I tell you that things are at a tipping point, I would like you to take it very seriously but remember that I’m saying all of this out of love.
No, I’m not breaking up with you. All I’m saying (besides “give peace a chance”) is that, in order to move this relationship forward at all, we need to re-draw the boundaries. Facebook, what I’m saying is, I think I’ve got a thing for the new neighbors, Twitter and Tumblr. That uber-cool hipster down the street, Instagram, and the loudmouth couple upstairs, Vine and Pinterest, they fascinate me. I think it’s time we say what we’re both thinking: it’s time to expand our minds a bit and consider the reality that we’re destined for an open relationship.
Don’t worry. I’m not leaving for some buttoned-up version of you, like LinkedIn. I just want us to be able to have some fun on our own and come back to each other when we can. You see, I’ve outgrown our childish relationship, Face. We used to have such a good time posting gossip and photos of kittens on one another’s walls. We spent all our days writing absurdly emotional status updates about how “life is just so hard when the local coffee shop doesn’t carry the latte flavor I want”. Nowadays, I’m just not interested in the silly invitations to play Candy Crush and Zoo World on a Friday night. No, I don’t want to buy a Starbucks card or sign up for a shoe-of-the-month club. Instead, I think a little bit of retrospection in this situation would help.
I was with you before you became known as “Facebook”. Back when you were still going by the name, “The FaceBook”. We talked crap about each other. We spouted nonsense. We swore no one would ever find out truly nerdy we were. We thought we were superstars. Then, you became a phenomenon. Bosses, neighbors, parents even—they were suddenly eyeing you up and down. In a panic, we anxiously tried to delete all evidence that we were, in fact, still just a pair of love-addled teens. Advertising about adult topics, like car loans and online dating, flooded our lives. I scrambled to hide all old posts that used only song lyrics to describe the elegant pain of your crush not returning your affections. At once, you went from being a personalized blog page, to being a platform for bragging rights—who had the cooler grown-up job, who just got back from a vacation in the Maldives. You were starting to remind me of my ex, MySpace.
Then one day a little birdy flew down and told me all about this new thing called “Twitter”. I was wary. I had assumed that the only people on Twitter were self-absorbed Facebookers who just wanted to shorten the “hi-how-are-you” into “LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME” and connected the two accounts so that their Facebook posts just read, “Sally twitters: ‘OMG, PUMPKIN SPICE LATTES ARE BACK!’”. But Twitter seemed nice enough, so I invited him in for brunch one morning… and that was it. I was a goner. He was so smooth and understated. He was a bit short-sighted, but liked to get to the point. He told me, in 140 characters or less, how I deserved a fuss-free relationship. I bought it, hook, line and sinker.
The rest, they say, is history. Twitter was my gateway drug to the world of Tumblr, where the party was still rolling along at 4 a.m. on a regular basis. I started using words like “fandom”, “SuperWhoLock”, “Reblog”, and “gif”, first in secret, then brazenly in front of you. Pinterest came along like a white knight and swept me off of my feet with photos of Darth Vader and Son, scalloped-edge lace shorts and messy buns, bird tattoos and 7-Layer Dip. I’m still flirting with the idea of Vine, but I’m sure we’ll get along swimmingly.
Listen. The point I’m trying to make is that we’re past the age of innocence, Facebook, where we can just stroll along hand in hand like nothing has changed. It’s time to come clean and admit to ourselves that we’ll never be that golden couple anymore… but we can still make it work. I’ll spend my days with Twitter and my nights with Tumblr. You can be the regularly scheduled programming that I go to when I need to do what initially made me fall for you, reconnect with lost acquaintances and catch up with friends from specific events or moments. No more kidding ourselves with obligatory, shameless selfies. No more rants about political stances or social problems. Just simple, healthy admiration from afar.
Don’t cry, Facebook. You know I hate it when you get sentimental. We’ll still be together, you and I, but maybe in a better, more grown-up way. It’s time we’re honest with ourselves and admit that we’ll always share a special bond, but the times… they are a-changin’, and you know I’ll always come home to you. After all, you never forget your first love… right?