Except instead of real hugs for your loved ones you digitally send little graphics of them. Also, you can poke or slap them. You have to ask even your family members if they’ll be your friends, and while you can be married to whatever gender you want, you can only be married to one person. Ok, then mostly like heaven.
I joined Facebook about two years ago mostly because I’m ridiculously lazy and it was easier to do that to keep people posted about our time in Peru than to start a blog that only my mother would read.
I was amazed that Facebook functioned in a way that everyone that was your friend could know whatever you put out there. Normally taboo subjects: religion, politics, sports, the pirate vs. ninja debate. They just ask you straight up. What are you doing right now? Are you drinking green tea? Swearing at your neighbor? Watching Big Love? Clubbing baby seals? I already walk a weird line with my friends. I have many faithful LDS friends and family and many not so faithful friends and family (some might call them anti, but I prefer to think of them as irritable towards the Mormons). I’m extremely liberal but am Mormon and also from Oklahoma. You joke with your irritable friends and suddenly your Mormon friends hate you. You say something faithful and the irritable ones feel betrayed. You leave out the nuance of your politics and lo and behold everyone you were born and raised with wants to stone you. All this honesty leads to people liking you LESS than they used to.
I realized I was regularly filled with Facebook anxiety. It was more than just having people dismayed at what I was currently doing or thinking, it was an anxiety I identify as my Mormon Heaven Movie Anxiety (MHMA–not to be confused with MHA which will be held near the Garden of Eden this year). It is that everyone in heaven will know everything that I have ever thought or done. In fact, they’ll get popcorn and watch it on the big screen. I believed that death brought possibly a light, and then a hug from Jesus and your loved ones that had already passed on and then, then it was ‘Your Life, the movie’ time. This anxiety so paralyzed me as a kid that I embellished this common idea and came to believe that soon my life would be syndicated and it would be on all the time, like Law and Order. “When it’s over, it will start again. It will not be any different, it will be exactly the same.” Every lie. Every little stolen candy or bit of change. The pr0n I found in my babysitter’s brother’s room. The terror I was to my mom. Ditching Sunday School to buy donuts (that one’s a double whammy). Every point of view, every controversial thought, all my ballots cast in presidential elections. All my nuance, things held back, muttered under breath, fibs told to make people feel more comfortable. Everything would be known and viewed on demand. Probably in HD. For free, even!
You would think that believing, nay, knowing that it would all be seen eventually, you would try and be more transparent. So as to lessen the blow in the afterlife. But not me. I was full of secrets, white lies and pleasantries. Despite the comfort of my MO, I have always felt guilty that I can’t be exactly who I am in front of everyone. Put myself out there and deal with the consequences. Because, you know, that is the ideal. And then I joined Facebook and I thought, you know what? Here is my chance to have Heaven on Earth. I should come out. You want to know my politics? I’ll tell you. You want to know my exact thoughts on my religion? I’ll spell them out for you. How I really feel about Carl Kasell and where I fall in the (diet) Coke vs. (diet) Pepsi debate? Here is the whole truth. It is, after all, the chance to experience some small piece of heaven.
Of course you know what happened. My all-ballz-out go at heaven lasted a few days. Most people probably never read things I put up, but I was too uncomfortable, too exposed and frankly not nice enough. Now, all you’ll know about me is how I feel about dogs wearing clothes and what internet radio station I listen to regularly. I admit to only being a fan of Carl Kasell.
It’s okay though, right now, it’s most important to me to be pleasant. Facebook will go the way of Friendster and some new social networking site will appear. Then my MHMA will come back and again I’ll have to come to the conclusion that heaven is the only place where honesty is the best policy. Even then, I’m not so sure.