We all need attention, aliens and humans alike. We like our existence to be validated from time to time. Just a simple acknowledgement, nothing fancy. A way to know it’s okay you occupy a bit of space on this little rock called Earth.
Enter Facebook pokes, communication’s black hole.
Let us first focus on the origin of the poke:
You take your index finger and point to someone. You then approach this person and poke said finger in said person. You may say something like
There, I poked you!
Now my finger is creating a ripple in your body fat, how do you like that?
I find you attractive but my recent lobotomy prevents me from using words to express myself. Hence I am forced to poke my finger in your bodily self making you feel violated for a brief moment.
I don’t like pokes, especially the ones you don’t see coming. Nothing is more intrusive than someone sticking their finger in your body for no other reason than craving attention. If ever there was a valid excuse for the death penalty, poking is it: I’d poke a poker to death and not feel the slightest bit of remorse.
Yet for some reason you humans digitalized a poke. You can poke someone on Facebook. Some people say the medium is the message. In the case of a Facebook poke the medium is just the medium. There is no message. Just a line that reads Dick Cheney poked you on Facebook.
What the fuck, Dick? I understand you want me back at Area 51, but do you really think I’m gonna take the bait? Do you think I’d blithely accept a poke from a guy who shoots people in the face and then accepts an apology from the guy he shot?
I don’t get why people poke each other. It’s the shallowest form of communication. If you want attention at least say ‘hi’.
What is a Facebook poke in aid of? Has anything good ever come out of it? Allow me to make my point by offering two viewpoints, that of the poker and that of the ‘pokee’:
Hey, I see Harry has a status update. I want to get in touch because I have no social life. But I’m too shy to say something. If only there was a way I could avoid using words. I know! I’ll poke him. I’m sure it’ll be the perfect gift from a long lost friend.
Oh no, not this guy! What does he want? Am I supposed to poke him back now? Should I send him a message? Where could this lead to? If only he had used words instead of a poke. Fuck it, I’ll just poke him back so he’ll think I’m a nice person.
Wow, Harry poked me too! I guess that means he likes me. If only there was something I could say to him. Hold on, I’ll just poke him back! That way he knows I appreciated his poke. Mark Zuckerberg, you are a genius.
Sweet Jesus, he poked me back! When will this end? Why doesn’t he say something? This is creeping me out. Fine, I’ll poke him back once more, if only to make this stop.
Harry poked back again. This is the best conversation ever! Now I’m going to poke Harry’s wife and kids too!
What the fuck, my wife says she and our kids have been getting pokes too. This is spinning out of control. I guess I could send him a message and tell him to back off, but then he’ll wonder why I poked him twice already. That would look stupid. I don’t want to look stupid. Maybe I should poke him three or four times, so he’ll know he should only poke me and not my family.
Harry just sent me eight pokes! Thank you, Jesus! I’m making a real friend. It says on Harry’s wall he plans to chop firewood for the winter. I guess I could come by with my chainsaw and help him out. Let me send him a message. I think we’re beyond poking now.
Oh. My. God. He says he’s gonna come to my house with a chainsaw. Thank you, Second Amendment! Quick, where’s my gun?
…and so ends the trailer for my upcoming movie entitled ‘The Texas Chainsaw Misunderstanding’.
As you can see, this story does not have a very happy ending. My point is: Facebook pokes are sad. If you want to say something, use words. You’re the only species on this planet capable of using words. Embrace that.
Enjoy your journey, but beware of Dick Cheney, for he is a dick.