My So-Called Social Life

What happens when Facebook RSVPs stop being polite ... and start getting real

My So-Called Social Life
Illustration by Jason Stout

The first question most people asked when I told them I was attending every event I was invited to on Facebook for one week, tweeting and posting along the way, was not the one I would have had – "For God's sake, why?" – but, "Are you writing about it?"

Um, yes? What do you think tweeting is? And what kind of erudite creatures were these, with their distinctions between "tweeting," "Facebooking," and "writing"? Was this my (or Twitter's) that's-not-writing-it's-typing moment?

Guests help finish the 'women's shack' in middle of gallery. high femme hammerin' – 6:14 PM Jun 3rd via txt

Keep forgetting to FB. I'm @ Leah DeVun show. I just accidentally made her spill her wine. – 6:17 PM Jun 3rd via txt

As pointless activities go, my little self-challenge (which I named the Butterfly Project: A Week of Social Stimulation, but usually just called my "stunt") fell somewhere between parkour and calling the BP hotline. It wasn't really an endurance thing – see South by Southwest for that, plus I'm not that popular – but an exercise in randomness. Randomness and guilt.

Oh, also, it was a "lesbian shack," not a "womyn's shack" that was being hammered. Oopsie. – 8:17 PM Jun 3rd via web

I mean, why the hell not? In theory, it could be done, if there were some rules: 1) local events only, 2) no events that required attendance the entire time, 3) no more than $10 on any one cover charge, 4) no more than $50 total in covers.

DoH singer has wig like Chrissy doll whose hair 'grew' & sweet dreamcatcher necklace also heels also is wildcat. – 11:43 PM Jun 3rd via txt

The kerchief is still king. – 12:43 AM Jun 4th via txt

How did I forget how much I love a good old-fashioned throwdown, rock & roll scramble, the kind where the wheels almost come off but don't and instead everyone is nuts and happy and pretty drunk? Asked (by me) and answered (by Follow That Bird! and Dikes of Holland).

Getting teary @ Queerbomb speeches. – 8:16 PM Jun 4th via txt

One thing I forgot to mention: Ann Cvetkovich's 'Low Femme' placard for QueerBomb march. Written on a file folder. Whoot. – 1:54 PM Jun 8th via web

Shortly after I enjoyed and posted about some Pride weekend events, my Facebook ads started changing. My right-hand column was filled with things in rainbow colors (mostly stacks of various foodstuffs) and ads for Sandra Bernhard DVDs. After a record-spinning event, I got ads for vinyl. Since up to that point my ads had consistently been about getting rid of fat, wrinkles, and Sarah Palin, I can only conclude my previous posts were those of a dullard and a sad sack. A fat, wrinkly, liberal dullard sad sack. I cannot say the new ads did not do wonders for my Facebook esteem.

Sonny Smith/100 Records: First of all, why not go the whole 9 & actually press the 45s or at least put the fake labels on real ones? – 8:03 PM Jun 5th via txt

Unbeknownst to me, I had picked "Quit Facebook Week" to start the Butterfly Project. If that wasn't enough, the second night of my endeavor, I was told that everyone who's cool is getting off Facebook. Perfect. Does that explain why this annoying event was promoted on what is now a huge pariah of a social networking site? The attendees looked like a Christo piece, if Christo wrapped everything in American Apparel.

Second: Wes Anderson much? – 8:04 PM Jun 5th via txt

I enjoy the vast orgy of artful happenings Austin has to offer – I really do. But one thing I like most about them is their relative lack of preciousness. Let's just say my wankery tolerance is not as high as it could be.

Third: More giant d-bag faux fros, please! Haven't seen enough of that look. – 8:06 PM Jun 5th via txt

Hipster ladies, you can do better. – 8:20 PM Jun 5th via txt

At some point, I realized that more people were responding to my tweets than had ever said anything about my printed articles. I was getting likes and comments and indicators of laughter. Some people were even saying nice things in person. I was doing virtual stand-up. And killing.

7 for 7 today. Humidity 900% all day. Butterfly doesn't give a *%#!. Cover outlay so far: $6. Tomorrow appears to be Vinyl Day. – 12:26 AM Jun 6th via web

Day 4. Clear eyes. Full heart. Can't lose. – 3:05 PM Jun 6th via web

Things had clearly peaked on Day 3. My tweets were getting tired. ("More violins than vinyl"? Please kill me.) I was getting more encouragement than laughs. Still, Day 4 was a relatively lazy Sunday and had its low-key charms – an early Darling New Neighbors show at Flipnotics and Sally Jacques' Blue Lapis Light on the side of the Hyatt (part of Night of the Bat, most of which I ignored, though seeing Adam West and the Batmobile would have been pretty great. Ad hoc rule No. 5: I could attend any part of a marathon event and it would count). Twilight found me trudging to some less-than-charming points on my itinerary.

And another thing: Total cover outlay up to $13 due to pinche aftershow. Which was NOT an afterPARTY, btw. – 3:39 PM Jun 8th via web

Here's an unfortunate aspect of this exercise: It made me miss some of my true friends' shindigs. (Toward the end, I was both petulant and insistent: If you didn't invite me on Facebook, I'm not coming. Except maybe I will.) On the other hand, I had to attend random events where I knew no one – most horribly an MGMT "aftershow," which was not a party at which the band might hang out with its in-crowd fans but rather a sad affair attended by people who got in free with their MGMT wristbands. I guess. As this was the twitchiest moment of the project for me, I didn't stick around.

'I think this is our favorite song. It's our last song.' – 10:58 PM Jun 8th via txt

Schmillion is a band of teenage-girl rock gods. Their moms are insanely cool. Their fans are sweet and numerous. Their Mohawk show closed the Butterfly Project, but it also made me want to flit around Austin all over again. Perhaps you would like to follow me.

See the full feed at

Final Tally: 15 events in seven days (plus four more nonsanctioned)

Favorite Event: (tie) Dikes of Holland/Follow That Bird!, Schmillion

Most Cringe-y: MGMT aftershow

Best Lovin', Most Tears: QueerBomb rally

Crankiest Ground Location: Okay Mountain

Biggest Disappointment: Dearth of free food, mitigated by appetite-killing humidity

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Butterfly Project, The Butterfly Project: A Week of Social Stimulation, Cindy Widner, Facebook, Twitter, Follow That Bird!, Dikes of Holland, Ann Cvetkovich's Low Femme, QueerBomb, Sarah Palin, Sandra Bernhard, Sonny Smith, Quit Facebook Week, Darling New Neighbors, Sally Jacques, Blue Lapis Light, Night of the Bat, MGMT, Schmillion, Okay Mountain

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