Facebook: The 9th Planet

by Vera Ezimora

We used to have nine planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto), but Pluto became a dwarf planet (an object in space). Facebook has since taken its position. With over one hundred and fifty million active members, Facebook has earned its place in the world of legendary planets. The only difference between Facebook and the other planets is that Facebook is virtual…and like all virtual worlds, it is full of surprises.

I was never going to join Facebook. I just thought it strange and unnecessary. Eventually, I joined for the sake of networking, or at least, that is what I told myself. Since joining Facebook a little over a year ago, I have found some old friends I never thought I would find again, and I have made some new ones too. I currently have two thousand, six hundred and eighty-two friends on Facebook. The weird thing is that I did not receive two thousand, six hundred and eighty-two perfumes (or Range Rovers) on my birthday. I really do not like this friendship. It is not quite beneficial to me – at least, not in the way I would prefer.

But like I stated earlier, strange (and funny) things happen on Facebook. In the profile section, every member has the option of declaring his/her relationship status. Your status could either be single, in a relationship, engaged, married, in an open relationship, or the funniest one of all, ‘It’s complicated.’ Facebook goes further to give you the option of declaring the person with whom you are in a relationship. For example, Joe’s profile might say, “In a relationship with Mary,” and Mary’s profile will say vice versa.

I can understand why a person’s relationship status might be single, in a relationship, engaged, or married. I can even try to understand (more like accommodate) a person’s relationship status being ‘In an open relationship.’ But why will a person’s relationship status be ‘It’s complicated?’ What exactly is complicated? Does it mean ‘we are divorced but still playing husband and wife?’ Does it mean ‘we own a home together and have six children but are not married?’ Does it mean ‘I kinda sorta got my wife’s younger sister pregnant?’ Or worse, does it mean ‘I’m pregnant for him and I just found out we are first cousins?’ Do not tell me it means ‘my boyfriend does not know I used to be a man.’ Seriously, what does ‘It’s complicated’ mean?

No matter how complicated it really is, why does Facebook need to know? It has been quite a little while since I have been in a so-called relationship, so perhaps, I have forgotten how it is done. Pardon me for thinking that having a ‘It’s complicated’ status on Facebook will further complicate things. What do I know anyway? I am just a girl who owns a laptop and an imaginative mind. It becomes even funnier (and troubling, of course) when a person’s relationship status moves from ‘In an open relationship’ to ‘It’s complicated.’ One begins to wonder what might have happened. Did one partner decide to have a close relationship? Is one partner having a baby with someone – other than the one whom he/she is in an open relationship with? Has one partner caught a sexually transmitted disease and now unable to figure out where it came from? The possibilities are endless!

Speaking of relationships, Facebook does the most dramatic thing when a person’s relationship status changes. It is so dramatic that sometimes I am so sure that Facebook must have some Nigerian blood in it. When a person’s relationship status changes from being in a relationship (or married) and becomes single, Facebook alerts all the person’s friends. Example, it will tell everyone that “Joe is no longer listed as ‘In a relationship.” But that is not where it ends. It goes further to add a broken heart next to Joe’s name. Most of my Facebook friends are Nigerians, so you know they cannot help but be dramatic. People start leaving comments like “Oh, don’t worry Joe, your own will come…” or “Eyaa, poor you. Hope you’re coping sha…” or “What happened? I thought you were ready to pop the question.” Someone might even say, “Don’t tell me you got dumped again!” These comments never cease to tickle me. But what makes people (and Facebook for that matter) think that the end of a relationship means a broken heart? Is it not possible that the end of the relationship spells freedom and joy for Joe? Or maybe I am the only one who experienced that.

On the contrary, when a person’s relationship status suddenly becomes attached (in a relationship, engaged, married, etc), Facebook puts a heart – not a broken one this time – next to the person’s name. Of course, the busy bodies are always there to comment again. “Oh, congratulations, Mary! Who is the lucky fellow?” or “Ah, me too, I go love oh!” Once in a while, you will find an ignorant one like “Ah, ah, Mary, you’re in a relationship already? This babe, you no dey waste time o!” Now, I have to wonder; does being attached mean the person is in love or happy? The person might have just made a grave mistake by accepting to be in the relationship. But then again, maybe I am the only one who experienced that also.

Still on the topic of relationships, I have heard horror stories of people’s partners (husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends) being stolen on Facebook. I cannot say I am surprised. I do not think there is anything wrong with putting pictures of one and his/her partner on Facebook, but remember that one hundred and fifty million people may be watching. So before you embark on such a treacherous journey, it is imperative that your relationship is solid. When I say solid, I mean SOLID – not the we-just-met-yesterday-and-we-feel-like-we’ve-known-each-other-forever kind of solid. I mean the I-know-how-many-times-he-breathes-in-a-minute kind of solid – although some might call that obsession. It only starts with one friend poking your partner, and before you know it, all three of you are in a ‘It’s complicated’ status. All it takes is a poke. In retrospect, of course, only people who want to be stolen can be stolen. That is my story, and I am sticking to it.

Do you know that Facebook is also a proof of love, pride, and commitment in a relationship? Picture this: girl wants to ‘go public’ on Facebook, and boy does not want to. All of a sudden, girl begins to bear grudges against boy and overanalyze everything he does. Why does he not want to go public? Is he ashamed of her? Does he have someone else? Is he not committed? Does he not love her? Well, maybe he just does not want his business on Facebook. But girl refuses to see things this way, so she gives boy an ultimatum: either you declare our relationship on Facebook, or we are done. Cruel, cruel world, I tell you.

Facebook – God bless its heart – also wants to know if its users are interested in men or women. You have the option of picking one, both, or none. I have picked none.

I am shocked to see how many people have indicated interest in both men and women. Does this mean that so many people do not understand what is being asked of them and therefore do not realize the implications of their response, or do we just have a rising number of bisexuals? Either problem is disturbing as it is bewildering. In spite of its obvious lack of sense, I will go ahead and believe that Facebook malfunctioned and mistakenly assigned both sexes to so many people. Honestly, that helps me sleep better at night.

Need false validation? Facebook is the place to get it. This is why girls who have been fearfully and wonderfully made by God constantly feel the need to post half naked pictures of themselves on Facebook. They put the pictures up and leave nauseating descriptions like, “I know I look hot.” Sex-starved men creep by, take a peek, and write what the girls want to read: “You go, baby girl! You look so sexy. I wish I could take you home right now.” The ignorant girl responds with a capital “LOL. Thanks!” Everyone else who has a functioning brain looks at the picture and virtually spits in disgust. Why do people leave false compliments on Facebook? Why tell a girl who obviously looks like she has just been used for a money ritual that she looks edible? Edible to whom? Vultures? A pack of wild animals? A ferocious beast? I wonder.

I have been told to never assume things, but I cannot help but assume that anyone who is on Facebook wants to be found. If that is the case, what then is the point of being on Facebook and changing your name every few weeks according to your mood in the morning? People that already have you as a friend on Facebook will find it difficult to find you; people that do not already have you as a friend will never find you. I assume, once again, that people who engage in this must not know the enormity of the confusion they cause for people like me. But then again, maybe I just do not understand the ways of the Facebook Citizens. Perhaps, I am still just a resident.

Anything and everything that can have a group and should not have a group has a group on Facebook. I have been invited to join the most ridiculous groups on Facebook. Out of courtesy and respect (and fear of being beaten up), I will not mention any. I have to wonder though; must there be a group for everything? Before one forms a group (virtual or not), it is imperative – in my opinion – to have an aim. One should not form a group just because the world wide web provides the unlimited space for it. I realize that some of these groups are for fun, but a lot of them were born out of the creator’s boredom – which is why you hardly see even the owner of the group participating in it. The poor group dies a slow, unnatural – though predestined – death before it gets a chance to even be ill. Such is life.

Everything happens on Facebook. People meet on Facebook. People fall in love on Facebook. People reconnect on Facebook. People get introduced by mutual friends on Facebook. Hearts get broken on Facebook. Hearts get mended on Facebook. Money is made on Facebook. Money is lost on Facebook. Spouses are stolen on Facebook. Fame is acquired on Facebook. Virtual fights break out on Facebook. Cheats get caught on Facebook. Employers spy on their employees on Facebook. Lunatics and psychopaths stalk people on Facebook. From the way things are going, I expect that people will soon start getting pregnant on Facebook. I shudder to think of the kind of virtual community my future children will belong to. I doubt if I will still be on Facebook by then. I even doubt if Facebook will still be in existence. By the time my future children are old enough to belong to a virtual community, Facebook must have gone to Virtual Planet Heaven. Or maybe Virtual Planet Museum. Unless, of course, the future will give birth to strange children who will join virtual planets at age one, write novels at age three, and – heaven forbid – get married at age five.

Ah, the possibilities…!

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Rontie January 17, 2012 - 6:10 am

really lovely write up!!! one of my favorite lines….”sometimes I am so sure that Facebook must have some Nigerian blood in it.”…. lwkmd…so true!!!!

Toluwa December 7, 2010 - 9:12 pm

Read at work, laffed out loud and ppl thot i was nuts. It was a good read!

Funmi October 30, 2009 - 8:04 am

Awesome article Vera, I feel you about facebook. In my opinion it odes have its benefits but its also a time waster mostly. I know some jobless people who update their profiles with ‘i’m hungry o’, who cares? You are a truly gifted writer; unique, funny and totally fearless. Keep it up!

Maggie July 3, 2009 - 3:55 pm




Akoh Moses Oche July 2, 2009 - 9:52 pm

Oh vera this is great indeed.I hail ur intelligence.Amechi should rily be protested out of facebook.

Sheddy July 2, 2009 - 8:43 pm

Lwkmd! This is by far the funniest thing I’ve read in a long long time & I’d rate it a six (fantastic!). I also read the one in This Day and it was an incredible read too. You are simply unbelievable Vera. I write a bit too but all I can say is “may I be like you when I grow up).


Your number one fan.

JabaJaba May 3, 2009 - 10:49 pm

Well said!!! Facebook just sounds like a bunch of drama to me!!!!

yabo April 19, 2009 - 3:30 pm

Hey Vera, good job this write up…I have had my own fair share of “narrow escape” on Facebook. I almost got caught…ha ha ha..but dont ask me how or why….I am laughing now…great article…Mark Zuckerberg should read this….good work Vera

Folabi Arogundade April 11, 2009 - 4:29 pm

Yeah Amechi, wetin dey pinch you? article shows facebook for what it is, :a reflection of the real world.f

Elizabeth April 10, 2009 - 8:45 am

I was in stitches reading this. Good work.

Dynmma April 6, 2009 - 6:42 pm

Lmao!!So so very true.I also always wonder when I see half-naked pictures of girls displayed for the eyes of the world if perhaps I’m the one that is overdressed.I tire o but I still love Facebook.

Amechi,did you wake up on the wrong side of your bed?Did Vera reject your friend request?Wetin dey pinch you?

Akin April 5, 2009 - 2:57 pm

uhhhh!!!Amechi sounded like a very bitter person,something tells me he must be one of those characters that often change thier relationship status from married to complicated or open relationship.I wonder if Amechi has any idea about creative writing or imaginative and inquiry minds

Kelechukwu April 5, 2009 - 12:22 am

Who is this Amechi character? Did we just read the same article or do you seriously have no appreciation for good humor with a hint of sarcasm?

Amechi April 4, 2009 - 3:41 pm

This article is nothing but a total waste of time.You are been too critical.whatever works for you might not work for another.Friendship is much more than just recieving gift on your birthday.Write something constructive and informative.How come you have more two friends on facebook?it seems like you spend a lot of time on facebook.You can do better.

Gabriel Soje April 4, 2009 - 2:05 pm

A thought-provoking and insightful article. Good job!

___Gabriel Soje, Washington, DC.

Kelendria April 4, 2009 - 1:15 pm

ROTFLMAO at the money ritual line. Vera Vera lol.


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