A meme to amuse us, a cause to incite us, a quote to inspire us … We may tell ourselves we’re only trolling Facebook to avoid doing the dishes or to see what color our cousin’s kid’s hair is this week.
But in truth, we scroll, Like, scroll, comment, scroll, click, read, Like, scroll in search of something more profound: tidbits of connection and fragments of fellowship with strangers and friends alike. Evidence that we feel what others feel, proof of our common humanity. An event to excite us, a story to outrage us, an image to soften us. Something familiar but fresh. Something to chew on. Something to care about.
And we ain’t gonna find it by asking one another if we’ve ever been to Canada.
That’s an actual question on one of the inane Facebook posts that circulates every now and again (and again), wherein people shuffle down a list of sterile prompts, filling in their responses and then imploring friends to do the same: “Come on! Do this with me and let’s learn about each other! Just for fun.”
Only with questions like “Had a pet?,” “Flown on a plane?,” and “Cried over someone?” you don’t really learn about each other — and they’re not fun. They’re the dark side of social media: They’re intimacy simulators. Fake fellowship. When we take the time to copy, paste, and respond to puerile queries like “Fell in love?” or “Helped a stranger?” we fuel the fallacy that we can never really know one another online. We contribute to a dissatisfying news feed full of salaciously attractive lunch photos and “Type YES if you love your sister” posts — a garish patchwork of shiny wrapping-paper scraps that do little more than block our view of the real people hiding beneath them.
If you’ve never “Quit a job,” “Ridden a motorcycle,” or “Stayed in a hospital,” then, by god, get off the computer and go do all three in quick succession. Meanwhile, those with more nuanced stories to tell — and an inexplicable yen for those cut-and-paste question lists — can busy themselves answering the one below. I created it in an attempt to dig a little deeper. To expose your amusing, outrageous humanity and let a little authentic intimacy rip.
You know, just for fun.
- Favorite Muppet:
- Top three songs of all time:
- A gift that you regifted:
- Number of times you fibbed on this year’s tax return:
- Supernatural mumbo jumbo that you believe in (e.g. astrology, Ouija boards, fairies, God):
- Person you probably owe an apology to before you die:
- Are you a good dancer? Would friends agree? Are you in full-on denial here?
- Describe in six words the last dream you remember having:
- Is your name well suited to you? If not, what would be a better name?
- Movie you most often quote (and, fine, go ahead, favorite quote from that movie):
- Skill no one would guess you possess by looking at you:
- Never mind whether you prefer the toilet paper to roll over or under. Will you reorient a roll of TP to your preferred direction in someone else’s home while using their loo? In your office bathroom? In a public restroom?!
- Number of Thin Mints it takes to satisfy you:
- Two qualities you respect most in a person:
- Last thing you stole:
- Book that haunts you:
- Most white trash thing you love to eat:
- Something you taught yourself:
- Historical period you really should have lived in:
- Something you think is sexy that you can’t explain and aren’t proud of:
- Return the grocery cart or leave it near your car? Justification for your behavior?
- Favorite member of Duran Duran:
- Biology, physics, or chemistry?
- Bravest thing you ever did:
- What you’re avoiding doing by being on Facebook right now:
Starshine Roshell is the author of Broad Assumptions.