Sunday, May 18, 2008

Addicted to Facebook

When Hannes first suggested it, I scoffed. Facebook is for teenagers. What was he doing on Facebook so much? Months went by. He was still glued, locked in a trance. Eventually, he picked up my computer, gave me a username and password, and I was in.

I now have 163 "friends" and believe it or not, all but about three people are actually friends. There is Patrick Ochieng, of course. I know a Patrick Ochieng, but evidently not the one who is my Facebook friend. I met the "real" Patrick Ochieng in Kenya. He runs an NGO in Mombasa. I accidentally befriended Patrick Ochieng of Toronto -- half Kenyan and half Ugandan. I know nothing more about him, but when we discovered the mistake (he discovered it rather, wondering with great interest why a whacko from New York would want to be his Facebook friend) we decided to remain friends. Every Kenyan-Ugandan-Canadian should have a New York whacko, like me.

Truthfully, my 163 Facebook friends are not demanding of my time. And Facebook has helped me reconnect with some incredible people, including my high school photography teacher. But who could have predicted that I would be on Facebook for hours waiting for my friends to make a move in my many ongoing scrabulous games? The addiction escalated quickly. I browbeat others who were staunchly opposed to wasting time on social networking sites into joining Facebook. I started scrabble games with them. I feel kind of sad when I see those friends lurking online, waiting for me (or some new Facebook addict I've introduced them to) to take my next scrabulous move.

I took on new Facebook hobbies. There was Dope Wars and Texas Hold 'Em. Now I had never played poker in my life before Facebook (nor had I been a drug dealer for that matter). Poker was too complicated. But there I was in the midst of an adreneline rush, sitting at a poker table with a bunch of strangers and trying my best not to lose the free 500 chips I'd gotten for the day. I still have no idea how to play poker, despite I find myself in the virtual Bellagio Hotel or Mirage at least once per day. Somehow I actually won today, which is I attribute entirely to random luck.

I'm not sure what the lesson is here. Talk to my husband more rather than pestering him to take his next scrabulous move from the next room? Perhaps I should invent my own social networking site so that at least I can become a billionaire with an addiction.

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