Buzzkill: Phacebook Phanatics

Rob Wilber

Approximately 250 times a day, I open up my lightning-fast, completely free-of-charge, never-malfunctioning Villanova laptop to access the internet.  I would estimate that out of all my time online, about three percent is spent on things related to school, 32 percent on various blogs and news Web sites, with the remaining  65 percent devoted to mindlessly clicking around on Facebook.  The moment before I log in, I envision an alternate universe where, thanks to my social adeptness, my home page is littered with dozens of notifications, friend requests and invitations to social gatherings that would make Nicole Richie green with envy.  Unfortunately, this scenario rarely becomes reality, and instead, I am bombarded with what has become the bane of my e-existence: fan pages.  

For some reason, Facebook decided that having a portion of each member’s profile specifically devoted to one’s favorite hobbies, music, movies, etc. was not a sufficient forum for users to express their individuality.  On paper, fan pages seem like a decent idea.  Restaurants, bands and such can have a somewhat direct line of communication with their main supporters, making it easier to promote themselves.  

For example, I am a fan of “Cumberland Farms Chillzones.” If you have never had a Cumby’s Chillzone, as they are affectionately known, you don’t know what you’re missing out on.  In the world of slushies, they are the 2pac to 7-11 Slurpees’ Bubba Sparxxx. One day last summer, all the members of the fan page were entitled to a free Chillzone, which was one of the more exciting days of my break.

However, the fan page concept quickly fell victim to the immense lack of intelligence found on the Internet and became a haven for people to illustrate their worst features.  Many, it would appear, do not even have a grasp on what the word “fan” means.   One such facet of the fan page universe is devoted to pages with names such as “Not realizing how bad what you said was until you actually said it” and “I don’t hate you, I’ve just lost all respect for you!”  Why would you ever be a fan of either of those things? Clearly, they are both based upon negative life occurrences.  On the bright side, if I see these pages on people’s profiles, I can tell they are quite deep and intellectually stimulating; they even have occasional problems within their friendships! If fan pages such as this hadn’t existed, I may have taken this person to be just an ordinary, run-of-the-mill teenager.  Crisis averted.

A similar phenomenon is accomplished through the “ironic nostalgia” fan page.  If you lack good taste in music and television, a useful way to avoid judgment is to flood your profile with references to things such as Rocko’s Modern Life, the A-Teens and “Brink.”  When I see these, I almost go into shock due to the person’s seemingly infinite knowledge of pop culture. Not only do they somehow remember these shows and bands, but they are so tragically hip that they actually wish these things were all still prevalent in today’s society, in spite of their youthful nature.  At the time of writing, the “I want my 90s Nickelodeon back” page had 993,930 fans. These people can be frequently seen appreciating “underground culture” such as Dispatch or the movie “Garden State.”

There are many other types of fan page I wish I had the space to explore, such as “Things that subtly but surely imply I’m easy” and “Everyday occurrences that prove I appreciate the little things in life.” However, I feel I have spent too much time exploring this topic and need to stop before I become that which I loathe. Also, Rob Wilber just became a fan of “That ‘S’ thing we all drew in elementary school.”