When the Message Isn’t the Message

A long time ago, a smart man named Marshall McLuhan became well known when he said, “The medium is the message.” Maybe the medium is the message, but I’m quite certain that, at least in once case, the message isn’t the message. Facebook wants me (and you too, if you have an account) to get an email address that has the suffix @facebook.com. They sent me a message telling me that. I can skip the message, but I can’t delete it. Same thing for text messaging: they want me to turn it on, but while I can skip the message I can’t delete it.

I think the fact that I can’t delete one or the other of these messages is the reason that my phone alerts me that I have a new message on Facebook whenever I pick it up and turn it on. I don’t really need alerts from my phone telling me I have new messages on Facebook when I don’t. It’s kind of like when the phone rings and you pick it up, but there’s nobody there: annoying. Usually, when the phone rings, and there’s nobody on the line someone is using a computer to make a massive number of calls, and the computer guesses both how long the caller will be talking to the person before you and how long it will take you to answer the phone. If it guesses wrong on either point, when you answer the phone you get a dead line.

You may ask why I don’t turn on text messaging in Facebook, and why I don’t get a Facebook email address. I just don’t want to. The only text messaging service I use (and I use it infrequently) is the one that goes with Google Voice. Why? It’s free to the person who receives the message. Text messaging costs your cell phone company virtually nothing, but they charge you to get the message, not to send it. Yes, I could get cell phone service with unlimited texting, but I don’t like typing with my thumbs, and I don’t see any need for something faster than email.

I don’t need a Facebook email address because I already have too many email addresses. I have two from my ISP, two from Gmail, one from Yahoo, and one from work. I suppose I could have one from at least one of the colleges I’ve graduated from too. I also have too many more to count. Why is that? I own three domain names. The hosting company allows me 5,000 discrete email addresses for each of those. Among the three domains, I’ve assigned four email addresses, two to me, one to another member of my family and one to someone unrelated to us. So, I have 14,996 discrete email addresses left to assign. If I assign them all to me and if I’ve counted correctly, I can have 15,004 email addresses without accepting Facebook’s offer, or hitting up any other free email provider. Can you say “@aol.com” boys and girls? If 15,004 email addresses aren’t enough for me, I actually have an infinite number of unassigned email addresses. Any email sent to any of my domain names that isn’t already assigned gets forwarded to the existing account I’ve designated.

I don’t object to Facebook offering me an email address, but once I’ve ignored or skipped that message, I do object to Facebook nagging me about it.

Author: Tom

I know my ABC's, I can write my name and I can count to a hundred.