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You Like Me, You Really Do
Mac Clayton 'connects' on Facebook. Well, sort of.

By Mac Clayton

I saw a nice quote from Pablo Neruda today and, of course, I posted it on Facebook. I did it because I wanted to share the love, which is what it was about. At least I think that's why I did it. After checking my Facebook page a few times since the post and smiling to see that others liked it, I wonder now about my motives. Was I sharing the love or seeking it?

My wife, Meg, is out of town. I'm home alone. I don't do alone well. I don't exactly feel lonely, just unconnected. It's as if someone unplugged me. There's no one in the next room to talk to. But there is Facebook, which is kind of like talking to someone, even though it's hard to tell if anyone is listening, like talking to your ex, perhaps, or maybe your teenager.

For Facebook, the possibility, the eternal hope, of connection with another is a business model. For me, it's starting to feel like an unsatisfying faux reality, like going out to a bar alone and drinking too much and waking up feeling worse than the hangover.

I have realized all this gradually, vaguely. Like an alcoholic, I think I have to hit bottom to admit my problem. Repackaging someone else's wisdom and passing it along like an eager student hoping for a teacher's approval may not be the absolute bottom, but it's getting close. Good taste in quotes is a useful attribute for a designer of greeting cards or a chiseler of epitaphs.

So will I go on the wagon? Yes, of course. I'm going cold turkey ... right after I post a link to this essay on Facebook.

With a Perspective, I'm Mac Clayton.

Mac Clayton is a writer. He lives in Palo Alto.

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