I'm ashamed to admit it, but I'm on Facebook. I think it was the post Christmas coma, induced by excessive food and football, that made me susceptible to the virulence of this internet illness. It's been four months since I was infected with Facebook but I fear my case may be terminal. I outline here the progression of my illness as a cautionary tale so that you may avoid a similar fate.
As first, Facebook seems harmless enough -- nothing more than a simple way to re-connect with old friends. It's almost like a game, remembering people that you once knew but were too busy to really keep in touch with. Soon, you're "friends" with all your old college roommates, neighbors, and ward members. You're thrilled! Compiling your acquaintances from the last several years can give you anywhere from 50-100 friends. You had no idea you were so popular ... but apparently you are awesome.
It's this initial realization of e-awesomeness that gets things rolling. Once your Facebook roster is full, the fever becomes hard set, and you start looking through your friends' friends and photos of people you don't know at all. When you run into real people, you ask, "Are you on Facebook?" And then you realized that you're already "friends".
At this point, you realize that you've become septic, because you're actually talking about Facebook in the real world. It even gets so bad that when people ask you how so-and-so is doing, you repeat things that you learned by reading so-and-so's wall -- not by actually talking to them. That's when I realized that I have N-stage Facebook, a chronic condition that can be ameliorated but never cured.
If you can get past the hypnotizing allure of having 100's of "friends", you realize that Facebook is such a strange phenomenon. It boggles the mind that millions and millions of people are documenting their lives in this huge online forum. The sheer weirdness of the thing really hit me during a spate of friend's updating their relationship status' in the last few weeks. People breaking up and getting together all over the place. Am I the only one that thinks this is really weird?