Sunday, October 31, 2010


The photo above was taken on a night on the town back in early 2009 in Perth, Western Australia. I’m the douchebag in the stupid “Drunk Chicks Think I’m Hot” t-shirt (truth be told, that shirt was a great icebreaker at the pubs). The young lady in the photo? We’ll call her Julie (not her real name). Julie was a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend. If memory serves we shared a few drinks, danced a bit, mugged for the camera, and parted ways. My friend Anthony (pictured on the right, whilst texting) tagged me in this photo on his Facebook page. I promptly de-tagged myself from the photo, but have now resurrected it to make a point – the world needs to see FEWER photos of me like this, not more. In all likelihood, I will never see Julie again since she lives on the other side of the planet. I wish her well. However, I don’t need for all of my Facebook “friends,” including co-workers, 12 year-old cousins, and Mom, to see unflattering images of my fleeting shenanigans from a long time ago, in a country far, far away. For that reason, and more, I am quitting Facebook.

I know what you’re gonna say – Mike, why don’t you just adjust your privacy settings?
Here’s why - There are 173 photos and 4 videos in which I am currently tagged, and I never uploaded a single one of them. They are how the world sees me, for better or worse. I don’t have the damned patience to go through each one of my 335 “friends” and decide who is worthy or unworthy of seeing this photo or that video. That an image can be tagged and put on semi-public display without a tag-ee’s prior full consent has always been my main quibble with Facebook.

Another gripe (although it’s not really Facebook’s fault) – Some people put interesting links and intelligent comments in their status updates… and some others don’t. Actually some others put up unbelievably mundane crap about their lives about which absolutely no one needs to know. No, I don’t care if the baby wouldn’t let you sleep! No, I don’t care how many calories you burned in your aerobics class! No, I don’t care about your hangover! And no one else cares either! Just because something is up on a computer screen doesn’t make it amusing or important! Get back to work and shut the fuck up!

Phew! Okay… calming down.

Speaking of work, Facebook became a major sucker of time and productivity for me when I was unemployed. Many days when I could have been aggressively job hunting, writing, or educating myself, instead I was nostalgically (read: voyeuristically) looking in at other people’s more interesting lives rather than improving my own. It was my own damn fault for getting sucked in, but how many millions of others are doing the same thing? No wonder the economy’s in the crapper.

A big question… If I stayed on Facebook, what would happen to my page after I died? Someday all 500,000,000 of today’s Facebook users will be dead. Will our descendants care that we “liked” Waffle House or thought that the Patriots played a shitty game one day back in 2010? When he’s having a quiet day in the Oval Office On The Moon, will Michael Moran III check out old photos of his namesake and Julie and wonder - if things worked out a little differently, could that Australian chick have been my Grandma? I dunno. It’s all a bit creepy. (I didn’t mean you, Julie. I meant the concept of a digital pseudo-autobiography that lives forever in cyberspace was creepy… not you. You're just fine).

Oh, but Facebook has its good points, too. If it had never existed, Betty White might never have hosted SNL, and I might never have gotten to work for (cue shameless namedropping) David Fincher. One year ago, I was working as a production assistant on the “The Social Network.” The movie turned out great and I am proud to have worked on it (although it is difficult to prove that I actually did work on it, as my name isn’t in the credits). So, thanks for that, Facebook. Also thanks for re-connecting me with one of my best childhood friends and for vindicating my theory that the girl I had a crush on in 3rd grade would grow up to be a stunner. But in the end, the bad stuff outweighed the good for me and I’m pulling the plug.

Among many great lines in “The Social Network,” one that stands out is “The Internet isn’t written in pencil; it’s written in ink.” If so, I’d like more control over the pen. So, I’m regressing back to a time when if there were embarrassing photos of me floating around, I was blissfully unaware of their existence, as were my family, friends and casual acquaintances – a time when it took a bit more than sharing a beer at that party that one time to qualify as my friend – a time when people didn’t feel the need to inform everyone they know that the baby just farted. Ahhhh.... 2005! It's good to be back!

So folks, if you have something to share with me, do it as nature intended… with a letter, phone call, email, text message, or - ahem - blog comment. And please, for the love of Gawd, “follow” my blog. I still crave some attention!

AN AMENDMENT (11/01/2010): In case I offended any parents of babies on here, let me clarify my point of view. Maybe "shut the fuck up" was a little harsh. I have absolutely no problem with parents taking cute photos and videos of their children and showing them off to close friends and family on Facebook. Nor do I mind it when people write things like "Junior said his first word today! It was 'platypus!'" in their status updates. That stuff is fine and good. I love kids, especially my adorable niece and nephew and I cherish every photo that their parents send me. Its when parents (particularly new parents), write down every single detail of their progeny's development, no matter how trivial, (ie "the baby cried all night, the baby won't eat peas, the baby has diarrhea") and broadcast it throughout the world that I get annoyed. Someday, those kids are going to grow up, and not all of them are going to like the fact that their childhoods were on display, especially if their parents were complaining about how irritating they were or are. I am not yet a father, so I cannot speak to the joys and frustrations of parenthood. Facebook allows parents to share those joys and vent those frustrations. I just wonder who's really listening, and who might get hurt. 


Anonymous said...

Interesting and I agree with many of your comments, especially the boring statuses and the lack of productivity because of fb addiction! The latter one is definitely me alately....hopefully not the status one! But yep I will continue to use it but maybe try to curb the usage.
Happy fb retirement, mate.

Jason Comerford said...

Oh, man. I totally agree. You know what else I hate? People who quit Facebook in a loud huff. I mean, fuck those guys.