I recently spent an hour trying to overcome some NoScript issues so The Fella could set up a Facebook account. To check things out, I signed into my own long dormant account

And I decided, despite my previous kvetching, to give it a try.

(I’m currently reserving Facebook, logically enough, for people I know face-to-face. It’s mostly to preserve the illusion of distance between the Elsa known to the professors and administrators and the Elsa who swears fluently and tells goofy stories in the hazy world inside the tubes.)

If nothing else, Facebook allowed me to message a friend who’s been otherwise unreachable, and to see the comment stream of a loved one who’s been too overwhelmed to use email or phone. I’ll cheerfully admit that’s handy.

Otherwise… well…

In a week or so, I’ve had exactly one flashing moment of illumination: I saw how this network could hook you but good, like buying scratch tickets or playing craps. I was idly looking up a grade school friend — a girl I hadn’t seen in 25 years and several thousand miles. To confirm that the profile was indeed my old friend and not someone else with her name, I check to see if her sister (also a one-time friend of mine) was among her contacts. She was

… and the sister lives here, in my small hometown, a town neither of them had ever heard of when we met in Texas.

It flushed me like a win at roulette, this odd little nothing of happenstance. I shook my head and thought “What are the odds?

And then I closed both profiles without contacting either, because, y’know, what’s the point? If we’d wanted to be in touch in the past 25 years, I guess I would’ve made an effort earlier, or they would’ve. But I didn’t, and they didn’t, and so we didn’t.

This pretty well sums up my response to Facebook in general: cool! But what’s the point?