Dear Mr Zuckerberg,
First, I really want to say that I like this Facebook thing you have put together. I’ve been using it for a few years now, and I think you are onto something, and it might really catch on someday. If you need any help with the programming part, my son has a couple of friends at his college who might be able to give you a hand. And they are affordable too, if you are tight on cash.
I am writing this to you personally, as I found your help function a bit hard to use. It gave me a drop down menu to choose what i wanted to talk to you about, then another, and then another and finally it just led me back to a 404 message. Seems a bit complex, Mark, why not just list your cell phone number there, and let people text you with ideas? That’s what my friend did with his very cool Led Zeppelin retro iphone app, and he has more than 600 download now. I’m just saying…
Anyway, I wanted to tell you some things that I like about your Facebook thing, and also some things i think you really need to change before you go public with it. In level 1, I liked the simplicity of it, and the “friends” function. I found I was getting really a lot of photos of kittens, and rainbows, with messages overlaid about “be the best you you can be,” and “this is the first day of the rest of your life.” Barfo, baby. But then I switched off the “New Age Reality Distortion Filter” function, I got a few friend requests from some bikers in Detroit, and things got more balanced. I also found that liking Guns n’ Roses really helped to spice things up.
I completed level 1 after about 2 months, when I hit the 1000 friends limit. I still keep a screen shot taped to my bathroom mirror of the message that popped up on that fateful day:
You have completed Facebook Level 1
You now have 1000 friends
Your time was 58 days, 11 hours, 4 minutes and 3 seconds
Highest scores are:
Boyle, Susan 3 minutes 2 seconds
Obama, Barack 5 minutes 9 second
Robbins, Anthony 6 minutes, 12 seconds (disqualified for using a PR firm)
Cute Kitten 8 minutes 4 seconds
Teen Falling off Railing While Skateboarding: 9 minutes 4 seconds
You will now graduate to Level 2!
Fasten your seat belt for some action!
Right away I liked Level 2 much better than Level 1. To start with, having an enemies list as well as a friends list was much more like real life. I also loved the “spread malicious rumors” button along side the “share” button, and the addition of “dislike,” and “puke-a-rama,” as well as just the plain old “like” of level 1. I managed to complete level 2 pretty quickly by pretending to like George Bush. That worked well, but did fill my wall with a lot of spelling mistakes and invites to like causes like “invade Australia, and then move over into Switziland next door. Lets grab those Aussie Muslim’s oil.” I had to do some unfriending pretty quick, but I used the “Boris the Russian” plug in, and he took care of the bodies very efficiently. Only 9.99 for a full year! Whats not to “like” about that?
Level 3 was much more exciting, but also a lot more work. I don’t know if it was such a good idea to allow my friends and enemies to battle things out on my wall. It got very heated during the last election, and sometimes took me most of the morning to clean up all the rotten tomatoes and mud pies. I also liked the matchmaker idea, where you could randomly put people together on blind dates. I set up my sister with Rush Limbaugh. What a hoot! My sis is a lesbian tattoo artist with tons of piercings, and a bad ass attitude. At least Rush scored some more killer pain meds. You can count on my sis for crazy dope! But finally things got out of hand. There was a fight one night on my wall, and they broke my brand new Facebook Chat, just out of the box. Took me weeks to get it fixed, and now it still makes a funny squeaking sound whenever it is raining.
Level 4 was where I really started to question your sanity, Mark. I mean, whats with the thing of having to respond to friend requests within 3 minutes? I did NOT think that it was reasonable to give them my phone number if I took more time. And how come so-called friends now get to control the little camera on my lap top? Spoooooookeeeeey. Just the other day I was having some private time with my wife. I fired up iTunes to play her some Gilbert and Sullivan to get us in the mood. Don’t ask, Mark, its a British thing. Anyone, some dork switched on my camera remotely, and now I’m featured in a Viagra commercial. “Look what old tall skinny bald guys can do, with just one blue pill…”
When it came to level 5, after the giddy 4000 friends mark, I have to say that I feel you should have kept Facebook to an online activity. I got up in the middle of the night to take a piss, and there was someone waiting in my bathtub to sign me up for Farmville. People have been hiding under my bed in the morning with event invitations, causes, and fun quizzes about “if you were a household detergent, which one would you be…?” I opted for Lysol, but now I’m thinking Ajax. “Stronger than Dirt.” That’s me baby. And then there are the friend requests. A lady came up to me at the Grocery Store, never seen her before, asking to be my friend. “Do we know each other?” I asked politely. “No, but we have 3 mutual friends, and FB says we SHOULD be friends.” she glared back, menacingly. Thank God for Boris the Russian. The Jehovah’s Witnesses bang on my door at all hours wanting me to like their FB fan page. Mark, this little FB thing of yours has become a way of life.
So here’s the thing, Mark, I am getting to the end of Level 5 now. And I want you to come clean with me about Level 6. And don’t bullshit me here, I have seen the white van parked outside my house for the last week, with the antenna on top. I know its waiting till I succumb to that fateful 4999th friend. Some people say there is no level 6. 5000 friends, and you get whisked off to Silicon Valley and made into a Facebook app. Some people say that in level 6 all of your friends melt into one, and you finally get to have live chat with God. And some people say that you never come back to tell. Anyway, please use the comments section below with your answer. Mark, and I’ll keep it between us, I promise.
And keep up the good work! One day they’ll make a movie about you, or even have you host Saturday Night Live. You could even be a millionaire! I know, I know, I’m a dreamer… but what the hell, its fun.
Herb Winterbottom, Jr.