My friend Harriet called me in a bit of a state today. No, of course Harriet isn't her real name. No one is really called Harriet.
Anyway, Harriet had just experienced a shock. Her shrink had tried to friend her on Facebook. Perhaps those of you who go to see a mental health professional to gain a little work/life balance, or merely to tell the shrink all those hateful and embarrassing things you just can't tell anyone else, will appreciate the dilemma.
It's one thing if some business associate (your money launderer, your dealer, your mother) tries to friend you.
It's surely quite another when the person who knows about the dream featuring the rabbi, the whip and the wardrobe tries to enter the inner circle of your closest 5,000.
Harriet was in two minds. (Her shrink, apparently, believes she has seven)
If she declines the shrink's cozying gesture, the shrink might feel she doesn't trust her. If she accepts the friend request, just think of the juice the shrink will have to drown her in.
You see, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg never considered the huge personal nightmares he was creating by building a site that tries to allow all people to be all people to all people.
So what was I supposed to tell Harriet? That she should accept the friend request, but find another shrink? That she should contact Zuckerberg and ask him how he deals with mental health professionals?
Suddenly, I sensed a whole new market gap opening before my very eyes. Yes, I could be the first Facebook Freud. I could deal only and exclusively with emotional problems arising from Facebook activity. That way, my patients would have to agree to friend me, because that would be part of my professional expertise.
What do you mean I'd need training? The Facebook folks are learning on the job. Why can't I?