Have you ever wondered why Facebook which is frequently banal, mostly a waste of time, and occasionally interesting or inspiring, is so addictive? The somewhat counterintuitive answer is:
Saber toothed tigers!
Think back to when you were a cave person, or to be more precise, when your ancestors were cave people, dedicating their lives to the mission of selecting the genes you carry today, along with the task of celebrating cave-mother’s day and other ancient traditions. In those days your brain had a full time job as “saber toothed tiger watch-person”. In the Pleistocene Era, even uneducated people knew that being eaten by a homicidal feline reduced longevity. So people who wanted to live for a long time were not going to Weight Watchers. They were watching out for the cholesterol equivalent of their day: saber tooth tigers. (Plus snakes, bears, scorpions, wetas, mammoths and anthropologists.)
Now the problem was, no-one knew what a saber toothed tiger actually looked like. Anyone who was lucky enough to see one got eaten, so they didn’t get a chance to describe it to anyone else. Which explains why even today you’ll never see a photograph of a saber tooth.
Although our cave person ancestors didn’t have an identikit description of a sabre-tooth they did realize that there was something very nasty roaming around out there. Kind of like in that ‘Alien’ movie, where you never quite see the monster, but the population of the spaceship keeps dwindling inexplicably. So when cave people kept disappearing and all that their friends found were polite little thank-you notes saying, “That was delicious, one more please,” followed by the sign of the fang, the saber tooth’s logo, even the dimmest cave people began to get suspicious.
Suspicious to the point of paranoia. In those days they had to remain constantly alert to danger, always on the lookout for any change in their surroundings or anything out of the ordinary, such as a nine inch fang someone carelessly left poking out from behind a bush.
Fast forward to the modern day. The saber tooths, and practically all of our predators, (except for insurance salesmen and oil-companies), are now safely extinct. But no-one has ever bothered to explain this to your reptilian brain. It still thinks it has to watch out for the appearance of hungry saber tooths, or for any other sudden change in your environment indicating danger. Crises and problems, warnings and updates on the news and fresh information about possible threats remain priority number one. And what is your most immediate source of up to the minute information?
CNN? So 20th Century! Forget about it. If you’re foolish enough to wait for their hourly update you’re already in the saber tooth’s tummy.
If you said Facebook, you get a gold star. Facebook updates are your best protection against unexpected attack. If you have an absurd number of ‘friends’, like me, you are getting new posts every second. It’s a sure bet that if a live saber tooth tiger shows up anywhere, people will be talking about it on Facebook right away – the news will shoot around the world at the speed of ‘LIKE’. What better source of saber tooth warnings could there possibly be? Not only is it a brilliant concept, it works! Since the launch of Facebook, not a single person has been eaten by a saber toothed tiger. Talk about a measurable outcome!
So do as I do. Let Facebook help keep you safe from danger. If you keep checking for updates frequently enough, someone will be sure to warn you when something awful is about to happen.
After all, isn’t that what friends are for?