By Kyle B. Stiff
It’s come to my attention that you guys are logging in and out of Facebook twenty times a day and checking your notifications rather than being hardcore winners at life. This is not going to work out for me; I don’t want to live on a planet populated by people who got played like a game of FarmVille. I want to live in a world filled with badasses. To that end, I’m going to show you how I use Facebook.
What’s the big deal with my Facebook technique? Why do I think it’s superior to everyone else’s Facebook technique? And why should anyone be using Facebook at all? Or at the other extreme, why not let Facebook win?
The thing is, you can use Facebook and still achieve victory in life. It is possible. In fact, it’s been my experience that once the Book of Faces has been opened, it cannot be shut. The best we can do is limit its power over us. I’m going to show you how to enjoy using it without letting it use you.
First, we’ve got to talk about your friends. Let’s face it: Most of them aren’t that interesting. Don’t you know that you’re only truly friends with a few people on your list? The rest are family, coworkers, acquaintances, and people you’re stalking. Just seeing their status updates makes you feel anxious. To make things worse, a surprising number of people that come up in your newsfeed say things that piss you off, or make you resentful, or you look down on them, or sometimes they even give you a non-specific and generalized sense of feeling like shit.
So what do you do, unfriend them? No, that’s not necessary, and it could lead to a backed-up toilet full of drama. Here’s what you do: When you browse through your news feed, hide a couple of people. Only a couple. The next day, hide a couple more. Don’t think about it too hard, just hide the biggest loudmouths that post the dumbest shit. It’ll be easier than you think, because your feed is most likely an un-weeded garden filled with schmucks with nothing to say. I know it sounds harsh, but the truth is that once those dimwits are gone from your feed, you will never, ever miss them!
Question: What if someone finds out I hid them? Won’t they be mad at me?
Answer: No one will ever, ever find out that you hid them from your newsfeed. For one thing, they post so much stupid shit that they have no way of tracking who sees what. For another thing, everyone’s newsfeed is so jam-packed with stupid shit that if some moron says, “Did you see the awesome thing I posted?” then the only honest and air-tight answer truly is, “No, I have too much dumb shit in my newsfeed, I missed the awesome thing you posted.” (Note: Try not to roll your eyes when you say “awesome”. In a real-life encounter, you must lie through your teeth in order to avoid drama from needy simpletons.)
In a few days, this seemingly difficult first step will become intoxicating. You’ll start hiding people from your feed left and right, and it’ll get easier and easier as you go. In time, only a few people that you truly like, or who actually have something to say, will be left.
Once you’ve finally cleaned up your feed, it’s time to make your feed impressive; after you weed a garden, you gotta put some roses in there. The second step toward using Facebook like one of life’s winners is to start friending or subscribing to groups or people (rather than friends) that represent your interests. This step is necessary… but it’s also dangerous.
For one thing, don’t interact with these people. In fact, it’s necessary that you not think of them as people. They are not your friends and they will never be your friends, and that’s exactly how you want it. Why? Because you’re too busy achieving victory in real life to make friends online.
Another danger lies in the fact that you might subscribe to interests that don’t add to your joy of living. You’ll want to subscribe to groups or people who post stuff ONLY if it relaxes you or engages your brain or your soul. This is easier said than done. For example: Are you into politics? Then you should subscribe to a feed that’ll keep you up to date on the latest political news, right? WRONG. Better yet: DEAD WRONG. If you’re into politics, then by all means go to a protest, debate with someone, vote and pray that the voting machines haven’t been tweaked. But DO NOT clog your feed with a bunch of nonsense that’s only going to get your pulse racing and heighten your anxiety.
You might be shaking your head, but trust me. When it comes to your Facebook feed, you’re going to have to skirt around a lot of nerve-wracking horseshit. Politics is the worst offender when it comes to ruining Facebook feeds. It’s been said that the revolution won’t be televised; I know you want to be informed, but believe me, the revolution isn’t going to be on Facebook either. Conservatives, try not to subscribe to groups that post pictures of dead babies and feature misspelled warnings about Obama making abortion mandatory for all heterosexual couples (note that If those babies were born, you would just end up friending them on Facebook and their status updates would clog up your newsfeed). Liberals, try not to subscribe to groups that whine about how teachers need to make over a hundred grand a year (note that those teachers would end up buying the same cars that rappers drive and they would still complain about their jobs).
So what should you subscribe to? Anything that won’t make you feel anxious, but shows you something you might not have found on your own, is fair game. When I began cleaning up my feed, I subscribed to a lot of people who do nothing but post pictures of art all day long. I stick to old paintings done with a level of skill we don’t have these days, with a few comic book artists thrown in for fun. Once you manage to find a few feed-enhancers, you’ll find better ones later by accident. Trust me, logging into Facebook and seeing a work of art done by Michelangelo or Moebius is a thousand times better than reading a status update about someone’s car taking a shit and making them late for a job they hate or perhaps don’t deserve to have.
(Note: Try to stay away from abstract postmodern shit. Nobody’s going to take the time to look through your profile and judge your interests, so you won’t get any brownie points from anyone by clogging up your feed with pictures of colored blocks that cleverly use empty space to get across a message about man’s inhumanity to man. You won’t be taking more than five seconds to look at this stuff anyway, so find stuff that looks nice and doesn’t jack-hammer your anxiety levels.)
But that’s just a starting point. What about cute animals? It’s never a bad idea to have random pictures of kittens and baby ducks and lobsters show up in your feed. The only thing to watch out for is that you don’t want cute animal pictures to have any stupid meme text pasted on them – you want to smile involuntarily because you got surprised by somethin’ heartwarming, not smirk like a dipshit because you “got” some other dipshit’s lowbrow joke.
What about handmade goods? Futuristic crap? Books in general? Pictures of mountains with lava spewing out of them? Famous corpses? Clouds that look like nothing other than clouds? Guns made to shoot bullets rather than act as political argument pieces? That’s fine – all of that stuff is perfectly acceptable to have in a feed, and can enlighten the hell out of you when you’re in the mood to waste time in style.
That’s it: Two steps toward tailoring Facebook to suit your needs. Few of us are strong enough to simply walk away from the Book of Faces, but that doesn’t mean we have to be notification-whores click-click-clickin’ away until we find ourselves on our death beds with no victory to show the gods. When Death Itself clicks on the notification that says our tomorrows have ended, none of us wants to go through a life-review filled with moments where we habitually checked something that only brought us down and made us feel like something less than the badasses we truly are. When we go out in a blaze of glory and stand before the gods in judgment, and they look at how Facebook affected us, let’s be ready to tell them, “I didn’t get bent out of shape over status updates written by needy simpletons. I remade Facebook in my own image; and there I saw volcanoes raging, and the cuteness of kittens, and art made by masters long since passed away, and many other badass things full of wonder.”
Hey readers! If you liked this post, you should check out some of my books. I’ve got an epic series called Demonworld, which is equal parts Mad Max and Lord of the Rings (think “science fantasy”), and a much-loved gamebook series called Heavy Metal Thunder which is currently a hyperlinked Kindle book but will be a fancy phone app any day now.