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Oooooookay children, gather ‘round Mama Rampaige…

Once upon a time in 2004 a little social network (now called Facebook) opened itself to a bunch of university students. Those of us who were in school at the time heard about it and signed up and we all lived quite happily posting about drunken debauchery and study groups and hookups and classes. We remember when your status had to include “is.” As in “Jane Doe is excited for the weekend” because otherwise it would show up as “Jane Doe is I’m excited for the weekend.” We were around before notes and games and banner ads and fan pages. We loved it when it was “the Facebook” even though we could do very, very little with it by today’s standards. We thought it was awesome.

And it WAS awesome… until Facebook was opened up to the unwashed masses. That’s when shit hit the fan. Anyone 13 or older could have an account. Fake accounts popped up left and right. Games came out of nowhere and clogged up our newsfeeds. Our parents and grandparents and coworkers started friending us. We stopped being able to liberally post whatever we’d like and started having to censor ourselves for delicate eyes and ears.

We all knew it was too good to be ours forever, but the opening of Facebook to the general public was still brutal. My worst nightmares came true the day my father-in-law joined Facebook. I dealt with everyone prior to that with as much grace as I could muster but my father-in-law ushered in a new era of awfulness where Facebook is concerned. Firstly it opened the floodgates for all of my other in-laws and their weirdo friends to send me friend requests—all of which I had to accept because they’d take it personally if I declined. Secondly my husband began to monitor the “appropriateness” of my posts thanks to my unwillingly befriending his entire family and their circle of friends. So I had to (and still have to) endure constant scrutiny over everything I post. Hell it’s part of the reason why I started this blog: I needed an outlet where I could speak my mind since my Facebook platform was taken away.

By far the worst thing about having my father-in-law and his cohorts in my newsfeed is the constant bitching and moaning about EVERYTHING Facebook. They whine that they don’t know how to do what they want. They whine that they don’t like seeing game invitations from their friends. They whine that Facebook changes things too often. At one point my father-in-law claimed he was leaving Facebook (for Google Plus, which is fucking hilarious) because they kept “fixing things that weren’t broken.” Give me a break.

Recently Facebook updated to the new timeline format and my father-in-law and his knitting circle lost their damn minds. I read through a dozen or so statuses and comments about how “young people don’t know what they’re doing” and “nobody listens to what people want” and so on and so forth. I bit my digital tongue so hard I had blood in my mouth.

First of all: Fuck EVERYONE who says “young people are messing up Facebook.” We were the ones who were here from the beginning. You old farts have no idea what Facebook used to be like or how drastically it changed in those first two years. If anyone doesn’t “get it” it’s you, not us. I’ve had a few 50+ year olds try to tell me that I’m using Facebook wrong. Excuse me? I’ve been on Facebook longer than you. Shut it.

Second: Facebook is free. Don’t bitch about shit that’s free. Nobody feels bad for you. Seriously. People who provide a free service to you DON’T OWE YOU ANYTHING. You don’t like timeline? Tough shit. It’s free. Nobody cares what you think about the free service you’re taking advantage of.

Third: You’re not chained to Facebook. You don’t have to put up with anything you disagree with. You can leave at any point. Hate the timeline? Fucking delete your account. It’s not rocket science. The problem is: Most folks are so dependent on Facebook now that they never follow through with their empty threats and instead continue to clog up everyone’s newsfeed with complaints about a free service that they weren’t even aware of until a few years ago.

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