Dear Mark Zuckerberg,

Today I asked myself if I feel better because of this relationship of ours, or worse, and the answer was as obvious as it was startling: that you bring more fear, anxiety and stress into my life than you do joy. 

Sure, you've allowed me to get back in contact with that guy I had that conversation with on the train that one time. But you've also introduced me to The Tyranny of the Red Square, and to that moment when I re-animate with a fuzzy brain and realize that, oh-my-Lanta! I've gotta wake up in five hours. 

It's not just you. It's that whole crowd you run with. That blog-head guy, the google-izer thing, and that pale-blue tweeter-bird.

You all act like you care about me. You pretend to think I'm cool and awesome and special. But at the same time you prey on my insecurities and fabricate more of themall so you can figure out how to manipulate me into giving your real friends my money.

What kind of a friend does that?

And why would I want to be friends with a psychopath?

That's a difficult question, Mark, so I'll try to unpack it.

Right now, I'm in the middle of this whole kickstarter-puzzle-campaign thing. And you keep telling me that you're a great way for me to build business-opportunities like this and construct some sort of artist-brand.

I do realize that there is a whole new digital world out there where I can connect directly to people who might want to fund me in this and other creative endeavors. The key word there is might, though, because most of the time I feel like I end up using this space you've ostensibly created for sharing hilarious cat videos in order to pester my friends with something they mostly don't want. It's a good puzzle, sure, but it's also made-in-China, by maybe slave labor or something... which I just realized yesterday ought to bother me.

It doesn't, though... and that bothers me.

As do a lot of things I do on here.
As do all the ways I try to justify them to myself.

You're a tool, okay. I get that. 

But I don't think you're a value-neutral tool. I think you're a tool designed to prey on the worst things about me, and to make me live my life not as a Lifeshared in community with people I lovebut as a performance piece, specifically shaped to increase the consumer anxiety of the people I'm supposed to care about, so they'll buy more stuff.

I don't know how to quit you, but consider this my letter-of-intent. 

Here's what I'm going to do:

With regard to the kickstarter thing, I'm going to stop sending dozens of personal email-pitches. I'm not gonna tweet it either, nor will I scour the internet for blogs where I can talk about it in the comments section. 

Doing that stuff makes me feel like bovine excrement.

I've put a lot of effort into it, though, so I'm gonna leave it up there. And I'm gonna keep dropping the price on my top-tier reward every time someone new pledges, so that maybe I'll be able to fulfill what I see as a sorta-kinda obligation to the people I've pestered into pledging already (and also so I'll have a little extra money to make this "PINK" movie we're shooting in June). 

After that, though, I'm gonna start messaging people and letting them know that I'll be scaling back / torching the parasitic tubers you've been shooting into my body. Bye-bye "guy I talked to on the bus that one time." Bye-bye "girl who sat next to me in creative writing class." 

You're fantastic Facebook-people, but you're also not real. And neither am I. 

Listen, Mark, I probably won't break it off completely, just yet. I'm still addicted to having a way to quickly share stuff with the people I'd interact with even if you didn't exist (family, close actual friends, business connections, et cetera). And I'll direct the folks who like-to-follow-my-blog-but-can't-figure-out-an-RSS-reader to My Work-Oriented, Writer's Facebook Page.

But other than that... I'm going to step back and start using that free time and freed-spirit to starting making more things. Writing more books. Being with more people.

You're killing my joy here, Mark, and something's gotta be done. 

You have the benefit of my doubt. 

I won't assume you're some evil mastermind, bent on enslaving the human race. But this little toy you created is making it harder for me to find my joy. In time, when I feel stronger, I'll probably break up with you completely.

Please understand. It's not you, it's me. Okay, fine. It is you, but it's also me when I'm with youa needy, sad person I had hoped to grow away from as an adult. Time for me to man up, grow up, and stop letting an internet-program dictate my emotional state.


Josh Barkey


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