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|The Business of Therapy|
The Business of Therapy
By Joe Bavonese
Facebook and Your Practice
It was a sunny day in August 2007 when my rocky relationship with Facebook began. I had a cancellation and some extra time to tackle the overdue managed-care forms on my desk. Humanity's greatest invention for procrastination came to the rescue, and I went online. I'd heard that Facebook, with its 30 million users, was mostly for college kids, but even collegiate slackers looked better to me than a sheaf of soul-destroying forms.
So I went to www.facebook.com, created a free account, followed the instructions, and invited a few colleagues to be "friends." I eagerly waited to see what would happen next. And waited. Nothing! No response to my message in the cyber-bottle. Had I done it right? Even though I'd been sparing with personal information, could those millions of Facebookers somehow just tell that I was unyoung and unhip? Should my feelings be hurt?
Four suspense-filled days later, I was rewarded, like a teenager who finally gets asked to the prom (back in the days when teenagers "dated"), with a message from John, a 32-year-old therapist friend, who wrote: "I feel bloated today." You what? Why are you telling me this? Do you think I care? I added a few more friends, one of whom invited me to play a game called Bejeweled (whatever that was)—which I ignored.
Thus began the deluge. An uncountable number of friends invited me to join, play, poke, nudge, buy, and celebrate things like Farmville, Pieces of Flair, River Cleanup, Boomer Nation, Six Degrees of Separation, and Multilevel Marketing Made Easy. Then there were the inane and annoying quizzes on every dumb topic you never imagined: "Who were you in a past life? Gandhi, Babe Ruth, Buddha, Michelangelo, the Marquis de Sade, or Attila the Hun?"
People I didn't know, strange people, people with weird interests and edgy ideas, people who kind of gave me the creeps, showed up on my homepage. Where did they come from? Why were they writing to me? What did the woman who shared the news that she was cursing a big zit on her face want from me? Certainly on any top-five list of most idiotic messages was one from the therapist friend: "I'm watching my dogs lick their bowls clean." Get a life, buddy!