Friday, May 28, 2010

Bloody Facebook!

I think the downfall of society will eventually be traced back to Facebook. There. I said it.

I noticed today that I have been un-friended. How bizarre, I thought! Mind you, there's nothing terribly untoward about it, on its own. Perhaps the friend was downsizing/doing a cull of their friends list. But then, plenty of our previously mutual friends are still listed and now.... ooh, I wonder if I've done or said (or not done or said) something. Via Facebook, that is. Because that is the only medium with which I've kept in touch with them for the past two years (and my account is less than 6 months old, so you do the math, peeps).

I pondered the un-friending of this "friend" for all of 30 seconds and was over it by the time those seconds were up, mainly because I haven't actually been fussed over accumulating any of the friends I have (no offence if any of those said friends happen to be reading this!) because I still, after these past 6 months or so with the account, just don't get the whole "FB" thing and am pretty sure the end of my account altogether is nigh.

But the act did get me thinking more about good ol' FB.

The people I really need to keep in contact with, I do so outside of Facebook, and the ones on Facebook are... well, nice to have and it's good to know I can contact any one of them from that central place without having to dig out phone numbers or emails (or, gasp, that ancient practice.... go through the phone book).

I have a miserly 45 friends and can't see myself adding any more*. Well.... 44 now. It's not likely to go up, but it apparently could go down! Hadn't contemplated that happening, particularly when the "friend" in question was the one who hunted me down and asked why they hadn't been added so I acquiesced in a moment of the guilts and hit Add Friend.

It seems such a throw-away thing to do - click a button and add someone as your "friend" - because so many people seem to need to do it. But to me, it is far more complicated than that. Or should be, to more people, perhaps. I don't think I really know how it all works yet, but it seems to me that if you're not on there several times a day, watching the status updates or Most Recent Updates or whatever (Top News, perhaps? I can't remember what it's called), you'll miss many of your "Facebook friends" as they update their status. So if I don't come on for days at a time, I've missed out on entire threads as diverse as discussing global politics, the fuss about Justin Bieber (is that the kid's name? Shhh, please don't tell anyone under 25 that I'm so uncool that I thought his name was Justin Beaver... I thought that's what everyone kept saying...), their most fantastic cheesecake recipe ever, the number of times their dog farted today... It goes on and on. And I'm so sorry to say, but I miss probably 95% of it. Because I'm simply not on there enough.

I had not considered before today the weapon that is Facebook and did not realise this new social phenomenon existed. In medieval times, our ancestors sharpened their arrowheads on rocks (or flint?) and took aim at their enemies. Now, it seems "you've been un-friended" is the new equivalent. Sort of.

Besides this murky social etiquette water we find ourselves in, in this current age, there is also the question of privacy. New privacy settings on Facebook really quite unnerve me. If one of my "Facebook friends", for instance, comments on any of their friends' status - of whom I am not a friend - I get to see both that original friend's status and my friend's comment to them. I find that sort of thing really pushing the boundaries of what is and is not acceptable. I do not feel comfortable being able to see people's comments to their friends - regardless of whether Facebook is, first and foremost, for all intensive purposes a public social network. I feel like I'm eavesdropping, no matter how flippant or generalised or banal the status update of my friend's friend. I don't like it! I don't think it should be allowed.

What this has the potential to lead to is more of this social paranoia - the "why isn't my friend commenting on my status updates, when I see her commenting on her other friends' updates" and so forth - and there, for me, lies the heart of the matter:

I am not about using Facebook to be a people pleaser. I mostly use it to keep loose track of my cousins, for they are spread out over the globe, and people I don't mind having occasional interaction with. None of the "friends" on my Facebook account are people I catch up with regularly, except for one or two, and of the good friends I have "friended" on there, my communications with them are more regular and occur by phone, text and/or emails.

SO... I guess if I've appeared remiss in making comments to any of my 45 (now 44) "friends", it's because I'm not on Facebook. I didn't realise Facebook as a whole could be so fecking needy!

Oh who am I kidding? It comes down to this: I just don't like Facebook. Why the hell am I on there!?

What Facebook dramas have you experienced? Or do you hang off your every Friend Status update and love the site more than life itself? I'd love to read your say!

* (unless my dear old bestie decides to create a Facebook account and then I must add her)

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