Tech-nified Chain Letters

Is it just me, or does Facebook feel like a 21st century technical version of a chain letter?

I don’t know about you, but every time I get a request to poke, prod, gift, pot, super-wall, rank my friends, throw Chuck Norris, chuck a sheep, or toss my cookies at someone, I start by clicking the link, and then it reminds me that in order to reciprocate, I have to check five different boxes. And Facebook conveniently checks all the boxes for me, so all I have to do is click an innocent little button.

It’s then that I pause, and I think: hmm? Do I really want to add a new toy? What does that toy do? What information will Facebook send about me? What does Facebook already know about me? What are the Application Terms of Use, and does anyone really read those things?

Then, I think about my Wall. I like my wall, but 2/3rds of my friends have the super wall. What’s so bad about my wall? Why do I need a super-wall? Should I get the poke or skip it and jump straight to the Super-Poke? Or should I wait to see if someone develops an Uber-Poke? Which simply begs the question: Where does it end?

And then, I wonder, what if I don’t click the button? What will my friend think? Have I just insulted my friend? Is that person really a friend? . . .

You know, [I’m thinking to myself, which explains the italics], he really isn’t my friend . . .┬áis he? I mean, I’ve never met him. But then again, a real friend of mine said I should be his friend, and shouldn’t I trust my friend’s choice in recommended friends? After all, Joe Schmo has 96 friends, and I only have 35 friends.

So now, I’m feeling a shadow of guilt creep over my shoulder. It’s the same feeling I used to get when email was all the rage, and an acquaintance told me to fill out a survey about myself and forward it to 10 people, so I could have good luck. And that reminded of me the time, I got the Amway sell from my friends’ brother-in-law’s neighbor’s cousin. Or the time I was threatened to have a ghost hang out under my bed, or the letter I got warning me of dire consequences if I didn’t forward it. Hmmm . . . I guess it’s nothing new.

What I really want to know is who thinks up of these things and who falls for these things? So, the next time you invite me to poke or prod back in retaliation for throwing a Simon at me (that’s my son’s name, and I’m offended), please, don’t hate me for not responding. And the next time you suggest a friend, and I leave that request sitting in my request box because I have not met the person and still have this old-fashioned idea of making friends by actually meeting them in real person (the phrase itself is becoming arcane in this day and age). Or the next time you want me to adopt a virtual snake (my real life has enough responsibilities for me to take care of some digital daydream), please don’t get offended. And if you do, just throw a pillow at me.