The evolution of the drunk-dial

When I come home from a night of drinking (or, at least when I come home alone; eh, who am I kidding — even when I don’t come home alone), I tend to head straight for my computer.  I do this partly as a way of winding down before bed, and partly because I’m not capable of walking past my computer if it has been more than an hour since I checked my e-mail, Facebook, and IM.

There was a time when the worst thing I could do while drunk was drunk-dial someone (well, the worst communication-related thing, at any rate).  I didn’t do it often, and it was usually to a non drama-bomb recipient — more “Ha!  I woke you up!” than “I’m so sorry I slept with your girlfriend!”  Still, it’s happened, and the next day I often regretted it.

At some point I started texting instead of calling.  It’s easier to do from a dance floor, and I’m also less likely to actually annoy people by waking them up, which makes me more likely to do it.

I still make texts and the occasional call.  But now, when I get home and drunkenly sit in front of the computer, I’ve started doing something worse.  I go on Facebook.

Why is Facebook dangerous?  Well, there are two, somewhat contradictory reasons.

First, most of the things you do on Facebook will be visible to everyone that you (and the person to whom you do it) know.  And, since the news feed updates constantly, the new content is broadcast immediately.  So, if you write a drunken hate post on the wall of your ex-girlfriend,

I didnt liek u anyway.  why wuld i ever date you.  yu were soooooo lucky to b with me.  oh i miss u so much.  why why hwy why dont u love me WHY WHY WHYYYYYYYYY.

then everyone you (or the other person) know will have seen the following by the next morning:

>>Drunken foolish idiot wrote on the woman who has moved on‘s wall:

I didnt liek u anyway.  why wuld i ever date you.  yu were soooooo lucky to b with me.  oh i miss u so much.  why why hwy why dont u love me WHY WHY WHYYYYYYYYY.

Of course, you can frantically erase the message the next morning (afternoon… evening… whenever you wake up), but what has been seen cannot be unseen.  A phone call is private; at most, you leave an absurd message that someone can play to friends.  A text message is about the same.  But, a wall post on Facebook is out there for the world to see, immediately and without editing, whether you or the other person wants it there.  Even if you wise up and erase the message five minutes later, someone will have seen it.

The second reason Facebook is dangerous is, oddly, just the opposite.  If you send a friend request, there may never be a trace of it at all.  Why is that dangerous?  Because, depending on your state of mind, you may not know that it happened either.  To confirm that you’ve attempted to friend someone, you have to go to their profile to see that a request is pending.  But, if you don’t know you did it, or who you did it to, then you may never notice that you tried.  Worse, if you (like me) dislike sending unexplained friend requests and always attach a little note, then it is entirely possible that this message,

Lol rofl wheeee! Let’s be friends whhoooo fhjifldaig!jkls; HI!

went to your boss, or to your fourth-grade teacher, or to the cute girl you’ve been following around campus because you figured out her schedule and you’ve never spoken to her but you’re totally sure there’s a connection and some day you’ll ask her to marry you.  For example.  And, worse, you may have no idea that you even wrote it.  It’s out there, and you’ll have to deal with the consequences, but you won’t even know why.

Social network websites are great for the level of connection they offer.  But, yes, a result of this multiplied convenience is that the consequences of stupid behaviour are also multiplied.  It’s one thing to expose your stupidity to a few close friends; it’s quite another to reveal to everyone you’ve ever met that you had too much to drink last night.

The lesson?  A car in the hands of a drunk driver is a weapon.  Well, Facebook in the hands of a drunk user is a car.  Which is a weapon.  You shouldn’t drive after drinking even if you feel like you’re fine, and you shouldn’t Facebook either.  Because, maybe you are fine; but, maybe you’re not.

Is it really worth the risk of an erotic message to your fourth-grade teacher?

(Mrs. Warburton, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry!  I don’t like you that way, I swear!)

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