I don't use Facebook much anymore, because anyone with a brain knows that Facebook is terrible. Apart from the long-standing complaints about privacy and insufferable people posting pictures of their own feet from a fucking beach, it's really only useful as a one-time thing. You make your account. You look up old classmates. And you either a) see if they still look good and then go gratify yourself to any long-dormant sexual fantasies, or b) contact those people, re-kindle your friendship, and then continue that relationship in a place that is NOT Facebook. You meet them for a drink. You email them. You text them. You ask them for a job.
Once you've fully mined your past and taken away the contacts you wanted, Facebook becomes useless. It's like having a Twitter feed populated by 500 people you can't stand, all set to a design layout that's about as cheerful as a Pyongyang skyscraper.
And so my own account is pretty much an empty ghost ship—a runaway beer blimp with no one manning the controls. It's there… but it's waiting to die. I suspect that I am not the only one with an account like this. People have been speculating about the death of Facebook for a long time now: It's already staring down superior competition from Snapchat and Tinder and the like. People want it to die, which is not a good omen for any business. And while the company remains a financial behemoth and can gobble up any promising startup it chooses, using Facebook proper is a burdensome, tiring, horrible experience. It is a spiritually dead exercise. Many, like me, have unofficially separated from it, and all that's left now are the ZOMBIES… the people screaming from an empty stage who don't realize that everyone in the audience has gone home.
That's Facebook now. It's one giant convention of sad asshole zombies. I know this to be true because I've seen the comments on Deadspin's own Facebook page, and they are fucking terrible. They are proof that anonymity is not the source of all online stupidity. Quite the contrary. Anonymous commenters will at least speak their mind, no matter how ugly the contents of those minds may be. But a Facebook commenter… that's someone presenting to you. It's a grand statement of asshattery, with a name proudly affixed to it like it belongs on a campaign-yard placard, which somehow makes it worse than reading your standard garbled YouTube comment from a five-year-old.
Here now is a brief listing of the distinct species of zombie left hanging out on your feed:
Political Zombies. This is the main strain of half-human left roaming the sun-dried Facebook basin. Because Facebook is public, and you're broadcasting out to all your acquaintances, it's your perfect chance to let people know that the abduction of that cat from your local playground is just another sign of life in Obummer's America, or to ask why that one news item in your feed is news, or to just type "smh" at random intervals.
There's no polite way to rebut these people, be they liberal or conservative. You are meant to be the choir. The only polite thing you can do is hide their updates in your feed. This is how Facebook works. You re-discover people, and then you re-discover everything you disliked about them.
"Come See My Band!" Zombies. No. Never. Unless your band is Mastodon, I'm not showing up at Billy's Dirtpost at 10:50 this Tuesday to see you. Most Facebook notifications now consist of people handing you a virtual flyer that you will then immediately throw away.
Social-Media-Crossover Zombies. I see you, re-purposing your tweets in a desperate attempt to garner maximum responses. If no one on Twitter replies, maybe a dear old friend on FB will be, like, LULZ SO TRUE! Trust me: It's not the same rush. Half the time, your Facebook friends will just LIKE your comment without actually writing a full compliment, which is just so empty to me.
Month-Old-Shit-From-Buzzfeed Zombies. Or Upworthy. Or one of those FAIL sites. I have a friend on Facebook who I love who still posts Chuck Norris jokes. Today! In 2014! This is not the Smithsonian. You think I haven't seen that cat slideshow already? Keep up, man.
Mafia Wars Zombies. Did you win? Can we just declare the five remaining players winners so that I never have to be invited again? Facebook gaming died for me the day Scrabulous got banned.
Mom. Oh my God, FUCK OFF, MOM. I'm heading over to Whisper so you can never, ever find me.
LinkedIn Zombies. Now that he has re-introduced himself to you, you are now a part of this man's virtual Rolodex, which means you will get an alert anytime he needs a campaign donation, or he has a new salad-ingredient app for you to invest in, or he needs your social security number for an exciting new venture!
Advertisers. And you can go ahead and lump everyone above into this category as well. Facebook is not a platform for real, human communication. Like Twitter, it's a vast iron mountain of self-promotional garbage. It's advertisers talking to advertisers. It's some suburbanite showing off the only good Christmas photo of the kids he could capture, hording your envy. It's two-bit banner ads for CAUSAL DRESS.
Picture an empty arena where the billboards can yell at each other. There you go.
Because Facebook is not about meeting new people, which is what the rest of the Internet is all about. The Internet is about reaching out into the ether and trying to find someone… anyone... who shares something with you. New friends. New lovers. New fanboys. New porn stars. Someone new. Facebook does not exist to help you find these new somebodies. It helps you find old somebodies and then, after the rush of nostalgia is gone, it helps you use those people for something. And that is why it's useless, and why it needs to be taken out back and have a shotgun blasted into its brain. It's the only way I'm gonna be able to close my account.
Drew Magary writes for Deadspin. He's also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also buy Drew's new Kindle Single, The Rover, through Amazon.
Illustration by Sam Woolley.
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