It would not be unfair to say that I’ve spent a fair number of the weekends of my life “poking guys”. Yet I must say that this Facebook era brings a very different meaning to that phrase. My buddy Nitin was my first serious poking partner on Facebook. No matter what time of the day or night I logged in, there was a notification that Nitin has poked you. And I always poked back. And he’d poke me again and lather, rinse repeat. Unlike those earlier weekends of poking more…..tactile friends, these poke fests with Nitin never seemed to come to any sort of climax or uhhh conclusion.
Over time, I found myself also frequently poking my dear friend Jake. At first I always clicked and poked back just as soon as the little notice thingy came up. But as I found myself poking more and more people, none of whom I ever have or likely ever will meet face to face, and who would at the very least have been frankly uninterested in the sort of poking I used to do so much of when I was a younger man, I’ve actually started returning all pokes only once or twice a day. And sometimes, it still seems such an odd way to pass the time. I have asked most everyone who has ever poked me, what the point or purpose is, though honestly in all of those pokes I only got one answer that made much sense.
A friend who would probably prefer not to be named and linked told me that the Poke button was meant as a way of getting someone’s attention. Like if they were ignoring a hot thread in a forum they were usually all over or if they hadn’t responded to something you posted to their wall a few days ago, the Poke button could be used to say in effect “hey man, pay attention and answer me already”. My friend thinks most Facebook users these days are ignorant of online history. And he certainly seems correct that most of the people who go around poking each other for hours on end don’t really think about what it means at all.
What about you? Have you Poked anyone on Facebook? Do you think it means anything?