Maron on Facebook: “Please Validate Me”
Patricia | Sep. 30, 2009

marc-maronI’ve been listening to the free Marc Maron podcast since it started a few weeks ago. Maron, a former member of Air America’s “Morning Sedition” show, interviews other comedians and provides general commentary on subjects ranging, so far, from Whole Foods to Facebook. And his comments about Facebook have me thinking.

Even though I’ve been on Facebook for about a year (I think), and Twitter for a little less, I’ve been suspect of the imperatives to heed the supremacy of social networking. Is social networking the means or the goal? Maron, a self-described 12-Step program member, has an answer. (Warning: Maron’s podcast is adult-oriented.)

…now I’m beginning to become concerned with the addictive nature that I have with other things because the amount of time I spend on these things. I’m gonna cop to this. I don’t even know how many times I check to update my status update on Facebook. I don’t even know.

I’m ashamed of it. Because I’ll put something up on my status bar and I will sit there and I’ll wait for people to write in, and I’ll watch what they say. And it’s like a speedball. Like, “Oh that person likes me. Well that was a little negative. Maybe I should respond to that. Oh fuck that guy. I’m definitely gonna respond to THAT.” I mean this goes on all day long. Twitter? The same thing.

These are like – it comes out of this neediness to connect. It comes out of the neediness to avoid myself. It comes out of the neediness to reveal myself, and also just a need to be distracted and to feel the excitement of people responding to me…

Every status update on Facebook should just be, “Hey, would somebody please, uh, validate me please? Let me just update my status. I need validation. Hold on, let me update my status. Hey I’m here. Is anyone else out there? Hold on, I have to update my status. How great am I? Am I pretty good? Hold on, let me update my status. Look, this is something I thought of. Isn’t it wonderful? Hold on, I’m going to update my status. I’m a little sad. Could somebody throw me a line?”

It never ends. It’s a waste of time. But it’s what fuels this entire technological boom. I’m not sure this social networking means anything, other than people need to be validated, even if it’s ever so briefly.

With most Facebook updates alternating between a recitation of people’s to-do lists, reactions to celebrity deaths, inane quiz results, and advice about business (“Gain the market edge through social networking!”), I think Maron is right. As we pursue quantity, not quality, in our “friends” and “followers,” we either keep our updates to the mundane and meaningless, or make our not-really friends cringe at too much information. In the end, all anyone wants is to be told they’re doing O.K., they’re keeping up, they’re on the path to…whatever. And that’s all people wanted long before social networking came along.

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