Jewish Journal


November 30, 2009




Tiferet Peterseil is being kept awake by the noisy construction work outside her window! —was my Facebook status at 2:00 AM.

To which the following “Comments” were received:

Friend one: Poor thing! :long:
Friend two: Did you try ear plugs?
Friend three: Hope they stop soon…
Anonymous creepy guy I don’t know: Why don’t you come sleep over ME?

Apparently, he wasn’t joking. Because he proceeded to instant message me, making it clear that the offer was a genuine one.

Not only did this comment seem rude and misplaced – coming from a man (at least I assume he’s a man) I’ve never met—but what’s worse, I felt he had invaded my privacy by extending an x-rated invitation on a public forum for all to see, including my family.

I’m not sure what’s more embarrassing, his crude proposal or my younger sister’s naive response—

Sister #9: Ooh, a pajama party! You’re so lucky, Tiferet! Have fun!

As my “wall” began to stream in comments from people I didn’t know, it suddenly dawned on me that I have about 150 friends on Facebook, 12 of which I’m sure I actually know. I began to wonder:

Why do so many people use Facebook? Is it simply to meet strangers and kill time? Or can it be a useful tool for a budding actress in Tel Aviv?

When I first opened my Facebook account, I did it for the sole purpose of spying on my kid sister’s social life, (97 male friends versus 3 females, including me and my two sisters!). It had never dawned on me that Facebook could be anything more than a ridiculous pastime, a way to goof around, posting pictures of monkeys and tagging them as my brother.

But then the strangest thing happened: people from my past, like old high-school friends, ex-boyfriends and other long forgotten folk I had simply (or purposely) lost touch with over the past 20 years, began sending me “friend” requests.

And it didn’t stop there. What really surprised me, was being contacted by all-too-friendly people I had never known to begin with!

One man, in particular, insists he is my most avid fan and confesses his love for me on a daily basis. I told him I found that creepy, since he’s never met me. This sure backfired. He considered my response “words of encouragement” and now writes me TWICE a day.

But many of the strangers I’ve befriended on Facebook, are actually really nice, and even interesting and exciting. It seems everyone is looking to network.

I was curious about this phenomenon. Could it be there are other purposes for Facebook, besides posting embarrassing photos on my siblings’ “wall”?

“FB is a quick, efficient form of PR,” says my PT (physical therapist), and he’s not talking about the quickest road to recovery. From my bridge-like position on the Yoga ball, focusing on the flow of blood into my brain, I hear his voice muffled in the background. “Not only is it a great way to meet singles and make new friends,” he continues, “but it’s an important and creative marketing tool for almost any company or product.”

My PT, Shai Greenberg, is one of the best in the country, and I can always bank on him to help me feel better. What’s more, besides manipulating my body he manipulates my mind as well, throwing in some useful advice while doing it.

“How does—” I manage to puff out, as my PT places my feet on the ball and has me elevate myself into the air.

Am I up or down? I wonder.

Are those my toes or his? I re-wonder.

“Because of the Internet and the speedy access we have to everything,” he answers (to what I’m not sure), “the only way to succeed is self-promotion. And Facebook provides just that!” he assures me, flipping me on my stomach where he proceeds to put “Part A” (my left leg) over “Part B” (my right shoulder) and “Part C” (my right arm) through “Part A”.

Do I make a wish now?Is all I think of. 

“How?” I ask, not exactly sure where my mouth is.

“Okay, for example,” he says, pulling my leg up so I can speak clearly into it. “You’re a wine lover, right?”

I nod with my right foot.

“So, a great way for you to find out about wine-tastings events is to befriend other people who share your common interest. Then while you’re checking out this “friend’s” profile, you see he loves a certain band. Figuring you already have something in common, you check to see if your tastes in music are similar too.”

For reasons I’m unsure of, he’s now balancing a big red ball on the tip of my nose, and insisting I don’t let it fall. He’s nothing if not creative.

Is there an opening for a human seal in the circus?

“So now you’ve been exposed to new music, and the band may have even gained a fan, and it hasn’t cost anyone a dime. So the more “friends” you have, the faster word will spread about people/companies and the quicker products will circulate. That’s PR.”

I sneeze, and the ball bounces off. One leg flips out and I hear a distinct “Pop!”

“Good,” he assures me as he reconnects the errant foot.

“Still hurting?” he asks, noticing I have one leg un-prezeled. He has me flip over, assuring me he has a new method of pain relief.

“But can Facebook actually help promote me as an actress?” I ask, realizing my mouth works.

“Yeah, and here’s how,” he says, ripping some thick tape and pasting it on my back. “In the era of fast information, in order for something to sell, people prefer to be familiar with it. By getting your name out you’re actually encouraging people to seek you out in movies, thereby the demand for casting you will go up.”

He’s busy taping me now. While “The Mummy” was always one of my favorite movies,  I never really wanted to star in it.  He carefully “wraps up” his work.

“Any self respecting celebrity,” he continues and for some reason reaches for a pen, “or famous TV show or movie actor will have a Facebook page and Tweeter account. Self promotion. Any public, admired figure is expected to be accessible to his/her constituents. That’s how it works today.”

He unpacks me and I manage to pick myself up. 

“Are you kidding me?!” I ask, aghast by the strips of bright blue tape zig-zagging across my back.

“It’s a technique called taping.

“I can see that. But why don’t we just put up a florescent sign saying Mug Me instead. People will see me from a mile away!”

“So wear something with a back to it. Just be sure not to take it off for a few days.”

“A few days?! But how will I go swimming? EVERYONE will see this!” I reply, leaning into the mirror to take a closer look.

“It’ll be worth it. I really think the taping will help you feel better.”

“Okay,” I say, unconvinced. “But that doesn’t explain why you signed your name and wrote both your office number and your cell on the tape.”

“That, my dear,” he says proudly, “is good PR.”

Since I couldn’t go swimming for a while, I did some research to test out my physical therapist’s theory. Sure enough, most TV shows tweet to their fan base regularly. I’ve just joined Steven Spielberg’s group, and couldn’t believe how simple it was to send Tom Cruise a friendship request (although he seems to be taking his time accepting).

While I’m doing all this, I get an instant message from my most avid (rabid?), fan.

Anonymous creepy guy: I sent you flowers, hope they smell wonderful.
You won’t give me you’re address, so they’re virtual.
And right now, I’m sending you a big hug and kiss.
Good night, beautiful.

As usual, I log off without answering Mr. Creepy, which obviously doesn’t seem to bother him, since I continue to receive his daily blessings and “gifts”. Apparently he’s perfectly content with unrequited love – and a non-response. 

I was thinking of de-friending him, but I’m trying to be a positive example for Tom Cruise (who’s still playing hard to get). So I guess I’ll live with getting hugs and kisses from Mr. Creepy every night—as long as they’re virtual.

Since I don’t have blue-colored tape to stick on people, I intend to PR myself on Facebook. I even have a fan page. (Hey, if it’s good enough for Spielberg…)

So go ahead, (Tom, make my day!)

Befriend me.

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