Not long ago, I was yakking with someone I know well, and who knows me well, and who should know better, and she had the brass to tell me I’m not very hip.
Me, who practically invented droopy trousers.
Me, who sings along with “Glee.”
Me, who’s never actually tried sushi, but definitely would, so long as it’s thoroughly cooked.
Her reasoning — if you can call it that — was that I’m a dork because I don’t subscribe to any “social media.” Fact is, I’ve never been particularly social, and I’ve never really trusted electronic media. I probably wouldn’t own a telephone if I didn’t need one to order take-out pizza, and I’m pretty sure my computer and my fax machine (what’s hipper than a fax machine?) talk about me when I’m not in the room.
But it’s just one facet of my hipness that I can recognize that nobody is so hip that they can’t be just a little bit hipper. For that reason, and to stick it to Miss Cyber-Snob, of course, I recently took the bold and pioneering step of being the latest of 800 million hipsters to join Facebook.
I don’t mind admitting I was a little nervous about it. Somewhere I got the idea that as soon as I logged on, everybody from Tiny Town to Timbuktu would know I wear Star Fleet Academy underwear and what happened in Vegas. I also thought that signing up would be difficult and confusing, because I’ve never done anything online that wasn’t. Instead, getting squared away was ridiculously easy, and no cell-phone photographs of me pawing a cocktail waitress in the fountain at Bellagio have surfaced.
I used to think that friendships develop naturally, cooperatively, organically, but that’s just not fast enough for the 21st century. Even before the figurative ink was dry on my user agreement, Facebook was busy making friendly overtures to every Facebook user in my e-mail address book on my behalf, never mind that most of them are folks I already know and hold in high regard. Even in the hyper-casual world of the Web, the formalities must be observed. Within 24 hours, I had direct access to the random musings of 33 electronically confirmed chums, and not a day has passed since that at least one new pal hasn’t plugged into my social network, and vice versa.
But if joining Facebook is the Maraschino cherry on top of my hip sundae, there’s still the matter of the toasted almonds. To fully engage in the “social” media, one must “socialize,” and that means content. It took me all of 30 seconds to see that Facebook friends of a hipness equal to my own are in the habit of posting things for me — and for others, I suppose — to enjoy. Nothing earth-shaking, just interesting experiences, amusing photographs, notices of large ideas and small triumphs and common interests; the types of things a person might share over coffee if a person had the time and endurance to down 33-and-counting cups of coffee every day.
Trouble is, I’m not really given to deep thoughts, most of my triumphs are over the cable remote, and for some reason almost all of my pictures are of my left thumb. And yet the hip are unfailingly resourceful, and I soon discovered a way that I might contribute to the worldwide conversation to which I’m now a party.
For years now, I’ve been hiking every Saturday morning, usually locally, and always with the same informal group of volunteers. And for years now I’ve been commemorating many of those hikes by snapping a few photographs of my left thumb, adding insightful commentary intended to draw attention to one or more of my companions’ insufficiencies, and sending the critiques to all participants by the now-archaic medium of e-mail. By posting those constructive shamings on my Facebook page instead, I’ll not only get maximum shame for my effort but establish myself as a powerful force for good in the electronic age.
Now that my hip-cred is bulletproof, I won’t rest easy until everybody knows it. Each month, until forced to stop by federal injunction or public insistence, I will use this space to share a glimpse, a taste, a tantalizing echo of the dynamic trivialities that rage across my Facebook page on a daily basis. What’s more, I will accept as my good friend and true anyone willing to open their hearts wide enough to left-click where indicated.
But be warned: It’ll be a sometimes raw, occasionally pointless, always emotional, and certainly tactless ride, and anything and everything that shows up on my Facebook page will be considered fair game for comment and analysis herein.
Because that’s how we hipsters roll.
Evergreen resident Stephen Knapp is a freelance writer and the author of “80439: A User’s Guide to Evergreen.” Visit Knapp's Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003343464475.