If you believe Mark Zuckerberg, there are one billion active users on the social-network phenomenon known as Facebook.
Since joining on July 27, 2007, my bank account hasn’t ballooned like Zuckerberg’s did, but my little piece of Facebook has continued to grow. Currently, there are 5,389 “friends” on my account. Considering that Facebook allows personal accounts to have a maximum of 5,000 friends, it’s a mystery how that happened, but we will keep it our little secret.
In the beginning, only my actual friends were added, but eventually the requests from strangers started pouring in and a wanton decision to accept everyone was made. Well, not quite everyone. If you were that creepy guy with Charles Manson as your profile picture, your request got ignored. The majority of my friends live right here in Manitoba, but there are many others across Canada and the United States. In fact, there are a few from practically every corner of the planet.
Of course, I don’t actually know all these people. My guess is at least 1,000 are true friends, meaning we’ve actually met. Many more are folks like you who’ve read my articles in the Free Press, others simply liked the name Willy’s Garage, or maybe we had a mutual friend, or in the case of a few nearsighted single moms with neck tattoos, they liked my profile picture.
Occasionally my “wall” dabbles in politics, history and sports, but for the most part my Facebook account is dominated by my love for all things automotive.
Over the years, I’ve posted thousands of car-, truck-, motorcycle-, snowmobile- and ATV-related photos on my wall. Pictures from local car shows and all the interesting places that being an automobile journalist has allowed me to travel also dominate my online albums. Mixed in with the photos are tips, opinions, anecdotes, quotes, music videos and even the occasional dispute.
Every morning for more than five years, my two good fingers have excitedly logged onto my account to see what my friends are up to, and of course to see if anyone hit the “like” button or even better, commented on my admittedly brilliant status updates.
A couple of weeks ago, I was bored and decided to call November “Truck Month at Willy’s Garage.” The concept was simple enough: My friends were encouraged to post a photo of their truck, and at the end of the month, the one with the most likes gets a prize.
Within a few hours, more than 50 truck photos were on my wall. By day 2, the number hit 100. Today, it’s starting to look like a local kid will have to be hired to count the most likes.
There are photos of big trucks, small trucks, new trucks, old trucks, show trucks, a few semis and even a fire truck. One guy had the audacity to suggest the firefighter who posted the photo doesn’t actually own the fire truck and called foul. Less liberal Facebook users may have hit the dreaded “unfriend” button, but it takes more than a little whining for me to resort to such drastic measures.
The thing that got to me about the photos of all these cool trucks is that until now, only my “friends” could see them. And because of Facebook’s maximum “friend” rule, I can’t accept new friend requests. A transportation travesty, if you ask me.
Yesterday morning, after cleaning up my wall a bit, I went into my account’s privacy settings and did the unthinkable.
“Who can see your posts?” I clicked “everyone.” “Who can see your photos?” Yep, “everyone.”
One billion Facebook users can see my posts and look at my photos. Come to think of it, they can also download all those photos. Subsequently, all the mullet photos were deleted and from this point on, I will always be wearing a shirt, even when swimming.
Sorry we can’t be friends, but if you subscribe to my page, we can be honorary friends. I promise not to notify you of the lunch special at the Free Press cafeteria, but I always share loads of cool links to our AUTOS website.
While cleaning up my wall for public consumption, there was one hilarious post from 2010 that just had to remain for all the world to see.
“Hey Willy, not sure if that’s your black Cadillac parked in front of the Convention Centre, but if it is, nice parking job, jackass, you’re about to get towed.”
The good doctor had the hook out when I ran up to the tow truck, red-faced and out of breath. Facebook may have saved me a hundred bucks that day, but the comments that followed were priceless.
Check out www.facebook.com/WillysGarage for thousands of automotive photos and remember to “like” your favourites!