Okay, you fans of Facebook, I shall put this in language you might recognize. My drag-queen name is I Hate Facebook. My top five favorite movies are I Hate Facebook. The last ten books I read were I Hate Facebook. The Brady child I would be is Marcia, HATING FACEBOOK.
I wanted to participate, I truly did. The twenty-first century wasn’t going to move on without me. I spent a few months dabbling in discovering that friends of friends of mine were eager for me to see their Equity-waiver plays and waiting for the plumber to arrive and I said something like “Eh.” And I thought I had closed the account, but it turns out that when you think you’re closing the account you’re only sending it into suspended animation.
So when a year later my editor and agent suggested Facebook for networking and helping to sell my book, I opened up Facebook and thought I’d start a new account but look! There is my old account, looking fresh and rested after a year of being ignored. And there are friends of friends, who are now waiting for electricians to arrive. I started again, and I got poked and tickled and I heard from people who like the blog and people with whom I went to grade school and every once in a while I got an e-mandala or a petition to sign. I didn’t quite see the point to most of this activity but I gave it the benefit of the doubt. Somehow, this would help me sell books by being available to readers.
Then, two months ago, something weird started happening. I’d get a friend request email and when I went to click on it, there wouldn’t be an actual friend request on the Facebook page. Sometimes it was people I knew; sometimes it was people who had figured out that Quinn Cummings was probably Quinn Cummings and just wanted to make contact with me. Friends, classmates, strangers; all were ghosts in the machine. I thought, “Ah! Facebook will be able to explain that!” because I was young and stupid.
This was when I learned that Facebook wants all of us to communicate with the whole wide world, but not them. There was no FAQ for this little problem. There is no contact number for Facebook problems. Facebook claims to be based in Palo Alto, yet when you call information, they are unlisted. In the meanwhile, I was getting plaintive friend requests like, “I’m sure you’re not interested in making friends with your readers, but your book made me so happy and I just wanted to let you know that. But I’m just bothering you, I guess.” No, reader, YOU aren’t bothering me. Facebook is bothering me very much. And Facebook couldn’t care less if I had sent them an e-cupcake.
I left a note on Facebook to the effect of “I hate Facebook very much because they are eating friends and business contacts.” Many people tried to help. Emails flew back and forth like this:
HELPER: Oh, you just need to click on the “Receive” button [It wasn’t receive, but it was something like that.]
QUINN: I don’t have a “Receive” button.
H: Sure you do. It’s under the “Decorate Cupcake” button and above the “Alphabetize Your Favorite Taylor Swift Songs” and “Create Timesucking Quiz” button.
Q: Got “Cupcake,” which is right on top of “Taylor Swift.” Between there’s nothing.
H: Oh. You might be screwed.
Yeah, that sounded about right. Time to kill me in Facebook land, if for no other reason than I needed to stop appearing to ignore people. I did some research and found out how to kill your page in Facebook. It’s crazy-hard, almost dissertation-in-Theology hard, and nearly as contingent on faith, but I did everything. I finally reached the last thing I had to click, which said something like “ARE YOU REALLY REALLY SURE YOU WANT TO LEAVE (LISTED EVERY SINGLE FRIEND THEY HAD DEIGNED TO LET ME HAVE)?” I smiled as I clicked “Yes.”
And then another page came up.
“Well, okay. As long as there is no activity on your page for two weeks, we’ll close your account. If there’s any activity, we’ll assume you want to keep your account open.”
I heard a sullen tone but I didn’t care. Facebook could go off and quiz itself over who was the hotter Darrin on “Bewitched,” and I could rest confident knowing in two weeks my nightmare would be over. I’d go back to unintentionally insulting people in my usual ways and leave Facebook out of it.
But oh, didn’t the book of faces have the last laugh. Because while I didn’t touch Facebook, people continued to try to friend me, and every time they tried to friend me, it reset the two-week clock. I will never be free of these fools. I can’t even get on my account and leave some message to be read by all comers about how it’s not them, it’s me and how much I hate Facebook and why not? Because my account information no longer works.
So if you’ve sent me a friend request and have been rewarded with silence, please know that silence is filled with pain and frustration and futility. And daytime drinking.