Be helpful! Share this article!

Digital Overload
Digital Overload

By Darren Johnson
Campus News

Eventually, when we moved away from a house we had lived in for over 10 years, we realized that we had gathered more junk than we could fit in the huge moving truck I’d rented.

The junk was mostly stuff we’d pick up at thrift stores and garage sales and kept in the basement. A lot of it I’d fix and resell online, but not everything was marketable. So on the curb we piled the items we couldn’t take with us — a cheap air-hockey table, an Atari with no joysticks, commercial VHS tapes of movies long forgotten.

Completely random. And the curb soon resembled a thrift store, “Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot” next to a Batman doll with no legs.

Or maybe my curb looked like an episode of “Hoarders,” before the shut-in cleans up his house. The Talking Heads aptly described it as “my lifetime piling up” in the 1980s.

And my Facebook is going the same way.

I’m usually a step or two ahead, technologically, of everyone else — so you should start experiencing this soon. And maybe enough people will share a similar experience and Facebook will die under all the clutter.

A few years ago, Facebook seemed like the old TV show “This Is Your Life.” Here’s your Aunt Martha, your high school sweetheart, your youth volleyball coach… How sweet and poignant.

And, soonafter, here’s a guy you met once at a dinner party, here’s a newspaper’s headline, a daily comic strip. Still manageable.

Then, after awhile — and this happens to me even though I work to keep my friends list tight — you have to deal with posts from the radical-right shut-in you kind of feel sorry for so don’t delete, the young relative who, frankly, has been acting a bit trashy (“Another tattoo?!”), and the guy you were friends with in 5th grade who is a fan of some obscure sports team posting something like, “Wow! Did you see that goal! 2-0!” and three people click “like” even though they have no clue what he means.

So Facebook went from “This Is Your Life” to “Hoarders,” but we are hoarding the random postings of various people we would barely ever think about otherwise. These people are weighing us down with their junk!

I just opened my Facebook — and here is my news feed in order. Talk about a “lifetime piling up!”

► A relative posted a picture of a fancy purple car with doors that pop up like wings, saying she wants one.

► A journalist friend from an area I used to live in posted a picture of her adult son and a picture of indistinguishable food he was eating.

► Touro Law School, where I once worked, posted a notice for first-year students.

► The Utica Zoo has something going on. Too bad they are hundreds of miles away!

► A friend of my wife’s from high school posted a comic panel with a vintage looking drawing of couple having coffee and caption, “Fine, we’ll compromise. I’ll get my way & you’ll find a way to be okay with that.”

► An ad for Citizen’s Bank — get $175 for opening an account. I’m sure there are strings.

► A picture of an activist’s baby sleeping with one foot in the air.

► The Southampton Press reports that there is a BBQ contest coming up; too bad I haven’t lived near Southampton in over three years.

► The person with the sleeping baby posted a picture of canoe paddles with bear paws imprinted on them.

► Georgi Readman, the girl I friended because of a story that got many international headlines that said she only eats Ramen noodles (and I thought maybe I’d interview her some day), posted picture of a dog with stuffed animals.

► A Riverhead newspaper posted a story on wineries. What a tired topic there.

►  A shut-in who I knew through local politics posted a picture of a news reporter I used to know and pictures of random people under a 10×10 tent.

► The Newtown Bee newspaper — which I “liked” after the school shooting there because of their conscientious coverage of the subject — posted about a service dog program in that town.

► A dog pound, where I got my first dog, over 23 years ago, posted a photo of a dog up for adoption.

► A person running for office who I know pretty well posted pictures of a political fundraiser at a firehouse.

► A TV channel posted picture of Lady Diana.

► A death notice was posted by someone I met a few times about a person I’d never heard of.

► Gordon College cited a New York Times article that says that half of college students attend a 4-year college within 50 miles.

► Someone posted asking how to fix a sprinkler manifold.

► The comic strip “Coffee With Jesus” was posted. I’ve grown a bit sick of it, frankly. He’s so self-righteous.

► A rock radio station that is too far away to listen to posted a link about John Cougar Mellencamp’s sons being arrested.

► A soft story was posted by Newsday about an LIRR chief engineer who is retiring.

► Me-TV posted a picture of “The Beaver” Jerry Mathers. Is he still alive?

► A former student of mine is in an historic village and took a picture of a fancy-looking sofa there.

► A Patch site posted a picture of a full moon. Patch has gotten really bad since AOL laid off practically everyone and told those remaining to stop being so journalistic.

► The Onion posted a headline: “Thirtysomething Scientists Unveil Doomsday Clock of Hair Loss” with a picture of two balding men and a clock. The Onion must have lost one of their key people, as the writing has had a lot less zip these past few months.

► New 12 posted “STANDOFF ENDS IN BALDWIN.” I guess some man was barricaded there, according to the graphic.

► A conservative lawyer friend posted a link endorsing someone for office.

► The local cafe posted that they offer a “Caprice Omelet served with Homefries and Toast for breakfast.”

► posted something about some B-list celebrity at a GQ celebration there.

► Some sports site posted that A-Rod was hit by a baseball. He’s fine.

► An ad for BlackBerry. Where do they get so much money for ads? I haven’t seen a BlackBerry in at least a year.

You get the point. In fact, you just read over 30 bullet points. And now I’ve piled this burden on you!

A recent study linked heavy Facebook use to depression. I can see why.

The late, wise comedian George Carlin said, “A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff. … Sometimes you gotta move, gotta get a bigger house. Why? No room for your stuff anymore.”

And just like we moved, leaving so much stuff on the curb, it may just be better to find a new house — a new Facebook-type site — and start fresh. It’s just easier. So what’s next?