Monday, 11 July 2011

To FB or not to FB?

I have a love- hate relationship with Facebook. I have declared this before. What I probably haven't admitted is that I am probably guilty of committing all the FB sins I hang upon fellow users. *hangs head in shame* I'm an FB hypocrite. But there was a time, in the early days, I loved all things FB, I would log on and see a friend request and get a little excited "ooh who is it?" Now if I see a friend request a little bit of dread plummets into my stomach and I think "Oh god, who is it?" Do I cut my losses and give it up before I become too cynical, or is there still mileage in the old runner?

Reasons to FB
  • Birthdays Reminders. Thank god for this! My favourite aspect of FB is that it reminds me of friends’ birthdays, a couple of days in advance, so I have time to get a card posted! If it could just take into location as well (i.e. let me know a fortnight in advance I need to post my brother's card to Australia, then it would be faultless.)
  • As a source of information it is very useful (by information, read gossip)
  • I am a nosey bugger - therefore I do like to look at other people's pictures, know where they're going on holiday, who they've been on a night out with etc etc. If it wasn't for Facebook I probably would have turned into a curtain peeper to get my fix.
  • I have managed to keep in touch with many old friends, who I know I would have completely and utterly lost touch with. I know the other argument is that's part of life, people come and go in and out of your life, but I like it. I like the odd comment each year we put on each other's page. I like their occasional updates that remind why I liked them in the first place. I may never meet their children, or attend their weddings, but hearing nice things about their life is enough. Makes it worthwhile.
  • Searching for people who you've left in your past, not to befriend them, to see if what they look like now. Oh we've all done it - good isn't it?

Reasons not to FB
  • Phishing/Scams/Viruses. Especially the most recent ones which use hard-core porn images, Nice! I actually hid the last one that cropped up on my page, saying that 5 of my female friends had liked it, and as I crossed it, it took me to a scam website and then flashed up on all my friend's pages that I had liked it. Grrr!
  • Facebook Assumptions. (Usually wrong). When somebody tells you some gossip which starts, "Well I saw on Facebook that..." there's usually a tall tale attached and a lot of assumptions, which usually results in somebody getting upset. I once wrote on a colleague’s wall "I feel rough. How much wine did we drink?" this was after we went for spontaneous drinks. Through FB whispers this got back to my boss (who is not on FB) who thought we had had a department night out without her. I felt terrible.
  • Relationship status. So you've broken up with someone, or worse been dumped, without thinking you log on, without a second thought change your relationship status back to single. On all your friends news feed it pops up with a broken heart symbol telling them you're now single. Ouch!
  • Not making The Cull. This I can handle, as I'm quite a ruthless person, I have clear outs in my house a lot, and if it's not been used in the last 6 months it goes, I can see why people would have a similar ethic on Facebook. Also I am quite a self-indulgent Facebooker so I'm not the sort that makes an effort with FB relationships. However, two things which I don't like. 1) When you realise someone's had a cull and you haven't made the cut - but they friend requested you, and you ummed and ahhed whether to accept and then accepted as a sympathy friend. They culled me! 2) When it's family! Yes Family. Ok they are 2nd cousins (or whatever the current term is) but still our grandparents were sisters, we spent many summers together, our parents still send Christmas Cards to each other, you met my brother for lunch in a another country, but you cull me!
  • Because I don't like being called chick or hun.
The Facebook Users:

Too Cool for Facebook
Oh these people will never lower themselves to FB. You know, it's beneath them. They look down on us with superiority as they still value the art of conversation and champion snail mail. But do you know what they will do? Search for people on their partners account - isn’t that right The FH? I have actually had to befriend his friends because he is not on FB but would still like to use it to see what his old school/uni chums are up to. I also have been befriended by ex-uni housemates' wives, because they are too cool for FB, but use their wife’s account for their own benefit. 

The Voyeuristic Facebooker
You'll all have one, a Facebook friend who never updates, never comments, never post pictures…is never on chat. Clearly this person never goes on. Huh? But one day you'll bump into them, in a fine drinking establishment, or your local, and you'll talk to them. as if they know nothing of your recent life. But you realise they do - they know EVERYTHING. They've read every update, seen every picture... you see they look, but don't touch. They are voyeuristic. You have been lulled into thinking they weren't really that into FB, but they're knowledge throws you off guard. They're the dark horses, the quiet ones. Knowledge is power and they unnerve me..

The Facebook Stalker
You met them once at a friend of a friend's party, or shared a taxi with them 5 years ago, or worked in the same call centre as them at uni, but never spoke to them. But they've remembered your name, they've hunted you down, they've sent you a friend request? Do you accept? Do you hell? *Click Blacklist*.

The Boaster
Because everything is just so amazing, Read their updates - they're just so perfect, so is their husband/boyf/job/kids/car... blah blah blah.

The Poser
Do you take pictures of yourself and post them on FB? I say no more.

The promoter
Guilty as charged. They use Facebook for the sole purpose to promote their business, events, ahem... Blog. Well, actually I was on Facebook a long time before I started writing a blog, but actually I have no problem with The Promoter. Free advertising? Who's going to say no. I have more of a problem with the people who are self-employed, freelancing etc and when you suggest to them "Have you thought of advertising on Facebook?" they pull a half smile and say "no I don't really like Facebook." OK pay for advertising then, much better option.

The Updater
Because we need to know what time you got up, what you've eaten, how much work you haven't done today (because you're on FB) and exactly when you feel happy, sad, tired, grumpy, hungry...

The Gamer
I have been a bit addicted to some games in the past, but in my defence it usually coincides with breastfeeding/maternity leave and REALLY bad daytime TV that has driven me to it. But I have not succumbed to farmville, cityville, holidayville etc, so I shouldn't really comment, but I will, just to say it does really piss me off when I log on and my news feed is reams of reams of gaming updates I don't understand or care for. *Click Hide*.

The Teaser
Example: 'Wow! Just had the best news ever!' lots of people comment “What?" and a day later they reply with, 'My mum's got a new cat'. Great! Or they put 'Today had been too horrible" lots of concerned comments follow until they reply with "Just the rain, it's been horrible! Really? Was that it? You tease.

I don't write this with superiority or innocence - I am probably guilty of all of these at different point in my FB experience. And as much as I criticise the social network, I am aware they are a growing power and I never like to be left behind. There are downsides, bigger than the little irritations mentioned here, dangers that lurk behind the newsfeed and the keyboards, but with this one I think I’ll keep my enemies close.

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