By Liz Lowe and Roz Warren
Since Facebook isn’t going to start charging us for membership, I’ve decided to go ahead and institute my own membership structure and allow my Facebook friends to pay me directly via PayPal. If I don’t receive your generous donation before midnight tonight, I will confiscate your icons and “unlike” your updates. If I do receive an appropriate payment, you will receive a lovely “Facebook Friend Certificate of Authenticity” adorned with faux gold flecks.
You can proudly display your Certificate in a prominent place in your home, where its dazzling beauty will grab the attention of all your guests. It will serve you well, not only as a conversation starter but as an informal face-to-face Facebook Friend evaluation tool. While your visitors are admiring your Certificate, your casual conversation can turn toward more rigorous questioning such as:
l) Do you agree that the more Facebook friends you have, the worthier you are as a human being?
2) A day spent on Farmville herding pretend sheep around a pretend field is a day well spent. True or False?
3) Do you spend most of your time on Facebook, or all of your time on Facebook?
4) If you sign an online petition, there is no need to take actual political action or donate money to a worthy cause. True or false?
5) When you are “unfriended” by a FB friend, the appropriate response is:
D) Setting loose your most unruly pretend crop-crunching cows in their pretend field?
6) Your knee-jerk response to an online survey is just as important as carefully thinking through any issue. True or False?
7) Isn’t it true that the ability to view cute baby animals 24/7 is the activity toward which all of civilization has been progressing?
8) What do you do if a Facebook Friend fails to wish you a happy birthday?
B) Submit an “abuse of terms“ report.
C) Post the following as your status: “I am cleaning out my FB Friends list. If you wish to remain my friend, please upload a photo of the hand-made card you laboriously crafted to celebrate my birthday — which is today!”
D) Realize that if you care deeply about this, it’s time to turn off your computer and get a life.
9) Your favorite FB links to YouTube are:
A) Music groups from the past that no one listens to anymore.
B) Music groups from the present that no one listens to now.
C) Anonymous dogs and cats behaving badly.
D) A lecture on the dialectics of Farmville.
10) My idea to “monetize” Facebook by charging my FB friends to continue their online relationship with me makes me a brilliant genius in the true pioneering spirit of American innovators like Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs and not a slothful mooch who intends to get paid for camping out in front of her computer, gobbling tasty snacks and “liking” things that don’t exist while the real world goes to hell around her. True or False? (Be very careful how you answer this one!)
Evaluating their responses to these questions is an excellent way for the true Facebook aficionado to rule out those pesky “real” friends.
Meanwhile, may I ask a personal favor of you, my very closest 11,837 “Friends?” If you like this essay, please share it! If you don’t “like” it, you’d just better guard your pretend field of crops! Because my pretend crop-crunching cows are on their way over there right now, and they’re feeling very hungry.