in which the facebook proves it is good for more than farmville and discreet stalking

If I were to make a pie chart of things I do when I’m not at work or exploring the windy city, it would probably look something like…oh hold on, let me whip out some Paint action and show you1.

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As you may or may not have noticed, there is a large chunk of that pie chart devoted to the facebook. Which makes me very angry at myself.

I HATE how much I am on the facebook2. I hate how I compulsively log on without even realizing it, like a Pavlovian response to opening an internet browser. I have made several successful attempts in the past to reduce my dependence on the facebook, and though it worked for a time, Zuerkberg’s monster inevitably crept back into my life, minute by minute, until I was sucked in the vortex once more. I would really like to go on a facebook fast, just to try and break myself of the habit, but at the moment I feel the book of face to be my most reliable connection to both the world I left behind me and the one I currently inhabit. This is a connection I don’t want to lose.

But I hate, hate, hate being this dependent on anything, especially something so petty and vain. If I was compulsively losing myself in a Bronte novel or couldn’t stop myself from listening to Florence+The Machine3, I would feel better about the situation.

But no, it’s the facebook that has snared me. And every time I log on, I feel like punching myself in the face.

But, on Saturday, my addiction finally paid off.

Those of you with good taste will know the band Neon Trees. Even if you don’t know who they are, you probably know their music, since you can turn on the radio at any given moment of any day and it is almost a guarantee that “Everybody Talks” will be playing on at least one station. I am a great lover of the Neon Trees, and I express this love in the best way my generation knows how: liking them on the facebook.

Around Thursday of last week4, when I did my customary every-five-minutes log on to the facebook, up on my newsfeed popped a post by the Neon Trees that looked like this;

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A secret concert in Chicago, free to the first three hundred people to register. Wait, really?

Since I am compulsive facebook logger oner, almost everything I look at is only a few minutes old. Including this post. Meaning that I might have a shot at being one of those first 300 people. I immediately rushed over to the link and registered for my free tickets.

A few days later, I received an email: CONGRATULATIONS! It said in big letters. You are on the list for the secret Neon Trees concert, it said in slightly smaller letters. Then it told me where and when me, my photo ID, and a guest should show up.

Sweet, I thought, and immediately went about starting to recruit my plus one.

My plus one is a girl from the YSA, TheyCallTheWindMaria. When I texted her to ask if she wanted to go to a Neon Trees concert, she replied, “Where? I googled it and I can’t find that they’re playing in Chicago tonight.”

Which is when I got suspicious. Because I suddenly realized that this sounded almost too good to be true.

I continued to be suspicious as we lined up outside a little bar in the loop where the alleged concert was supposed to be held. It looked way too small and way too seedy to be somewhere that the Neon Trees would play. TheyCallTheWindMaria and I were concerned that we were about to be rounded into a back room where we would either have our credit cards stolen, or be made to fight to the death Hunger Games style. The second one especially because there were, inexplicably, cameras everywhere.

At the door, there were two people you had to get by before you were permitted in. One, the guy checking IDs. Since I am not yet of the legal age at which one can consume alcohol, he drew two large black X’s on my hands5. The second was the woman with The List. As explained by the email I received, you had to be on The List to get in.

And guess what. I was on The List6. I haven’t felt so legit since that time I rode in a taxi. But I was also still suspicious this was not real.

My suspicion did not go away once we were inside. We were ushered into this tiny backroom with a tiny stage, not the sort of stage an internationally successful group with two platinum singles would play. Maybe where they played before they were big, but it’s more the sort of place singers try to run away from. To make matters more suspicious, there were only about two hundred people there. We didn’t even fill the small backroom. Is this the real Neon Trees? I started to wonder. Maybe it’s a knockoff. Maybe it’s the Kneon Tees, and I just didn’t make the connection. Either way, TheyCallTheWindMaria and I were both suspicious. As we waited for the concert to start, we mused on what the catch was going to be, and the phrase, “If it seems too good to be true, it is” was tossed around several times.

Then the lights dimmed. And these guys walked on stage.

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Then I sank deep into concert nirvana.

Because yes, it was the real Neon Trees7. And yes, they played for two hundred of us. Two hundred people who were not drunk or stoned or crazy, who were not moshingor rushing the stage or trying to push people over because they are teenage idiots who think that’s funny. It was two hundred people who were genuine fans of the music, who were singing as loud as they couldand jumping up and down and dancing and just having a good time. Nobody pushed me. Nobody spilled beer on my shoes. Nobody landed on me.

It was exactly my kind of concert.

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So the moral of this story is that the facebook is not purely a time-sucking force for evil. It can be a good thing, too. So here’s to you, Zuckerberg. Thanks for one of the best Saturday nights of all time.

  1. Skills. I have them.
  2. Facebook is so a word, spellcheck. Try to keep up.
  3. Oh wait, those things are both real.
  4. I know these stories are coming kind of late. This weekend was busy, and thus yielded a huge amount of blog-worthy stories that shouldn’t be jumbled into one ugly summary of my life post.
  5. Which sort of made me feel branded, like a Jew in WWII, forced to wear bright yellow stars on all my clothes. Everyone who looked at me knew I was just a kid. It made me want to keep my hands in my pockets. Except I was wearing a dress with no pockets.
  6. The woman asked my name, and I told her. She laughed like she thought I was kidding, and said, “Well that should be easy to find.” It was. For those of you who don’t know me in real life, my last name is comically long.
  7. Sadly sans their badass Mormon drummer, Elaine Bradley, who is my hero. But she’s eight months pregnant, so it’s okay. She probably shouldn’t be drumming.
  8. How on earth do you spell mosh, as in mosh pit? Maush? Mash? No, that’s mash as in potatoes, that can’t be right….
  9. Screaming the lyrics to “1983” with Tyler Glen ten feet away is an experience I will not soon forget.
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2 thoughts on “in which the facebook proves it is good for more than farmville and discreet stalking

  1. Billy says:

    Two comments for you.

    Drawing pie charts like that you should be an accountant. Except you are the most anti-accountantish person I know.

    The social phenomenon, or dare I say the psycological dependance, on Facebook for self validation(1) is the source of the next multi-million dollar study commissioned by,wait for it, the US Government. There is discussion on the Net of psycologist who are prescribing Facebook(2) for people with low self esteem(3).If you would ever email, call (no bloody Oxford coma) or Facebook me(see 3 again in a different context) we could probably spend an hour discussing “The Psycology of Facebook” which should be the topic of your masters thesis. BTW “Don’ta take a no taxi. It’s too spensive.”(5)

    (1) You don’t have to talk to the garage attendant when you have Facebook. But you have a doorman to validate your worth everytime you go in or out of your apartment building.
    (2) I capitalize facebook in deference to the culture, nay, world changing icon Mark Zuckerberg and his psycophenomenon Facebook.
    (3) Like me who has been on Facebook for years and still only has 14 friends most of which are my family members who feel sorry for someone with so few friends.
    (5) Giovanni

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