From The Archives: What’s Your Status?

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October 17, 2014 by T. Gregory Argall

This is a rant I wrote about five years ago.
Things have only gotten worse since then…


A couple of days ago I heard a commercial on television. (I say I heard it rather than saw it, because I had left the room when the commercials came on and was in the kitchen by that point. Broadcasters know that people leave the room during commercial breaks. That’s why they raise the volume on ads, but say they don’t. They’re liars.) This particular ad was for an I-Phone or J-Phone or K-Phone or whatever letter they’re up to now.
A blindly enthusiastic voice bellowed from the living room to tell me about the unbelievably convenient features of whatever unnecessary phone package they were flogging on an innocent viewing public. “With my phone,” he proudly declared, “I can access the internet and log on to Facebook to check my friend’s status.”
I was immediately struck by the utter stupidity of such a pointlessly redundant activity.
It’s a telephone. Use that telephone to, oh, I don’t know, PHONE your friend and say, “Hey, how’re you?”
Because, as a friend, that’s what you really want to know, isn’t it? How’s your friend doing. You use the word status to make it seem cooler, like you’re both spies and you’re getting a mission update from him.
“Agent Timmy, what’s your status?”
“Battling ninjas onboard an unpiloted airplane. I hate Mondays. LOL.”
“Acknowledged, Agent Timmy. LMAO.”
But in reality it’s not a mission-critical sit-rep. It’s hi-how-are-you. That’s all. Just phone him on your phone. That’s what it’s for.
  But I can’t phone him, the Internet Generation whines in response. I don’t have his phone number. He’s my Facebook friend.
Oh, well, that’s entirely different. Let’s consider that for a moment.
Nope. Still stupid.
Facebook friends aren’t real. They live in some far away place, do unusual things, no one has ever seen them and they only talk to you when no one else is around.
Does that sound familiar?
They’re the Internet Generation version of imaginary friends.
Yet, as a child of the internet, it is still vitally important that you are kept up to date on the status of some person in Lower Rotunda, Indonesia with whom the only thing that you have even remotely in common is the crucial fact that you both think Dragonball Z is awesome but the movie was crap. You can’t even pronounce his name.
But you are willing to spend $600 plus an extortionate air-time package for a shiny bell-and-whistle encrusted phone that doesn’t even fly just to keep track of an imaginary Facebook friend.
It’s not reciprocated, you know. Your imaginary friend isn’t obsessed with checking your status, not the way you’re obsessed with checking his. He just doesn’t care that much about you. In fact, he is ignoring you.
If you check his Facebook status right now, it says “Siddartha Gujhthalli is specifically ignoring Larry Morganston.”
Enjoy your phone.


Try to be nice to each other.


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