Monday, 5 April 2010

The Facebook Phenomenon

I spent the afternoon of Easter Sunday in the company of my family. What I had done to deserve this, I'm not sure, but I've been assured the bruises and swelling will clear in a day or two...

Afterwards, daughter Laura confirmed me as a 'friend' on the social networking website Facebook. My other daughter, Michaela, already has me as a 'friend'. I'm not sure whether to be pleased or desperately saddened by this.

Facebook has become a world wide phenomenon. It can also be quite addictive. When I use the term 'social networking', it can in many ways be described as anti-social networking. The other day Michaela sent me a message on Facebook, to which I responded fairly quickly. You may ask what is wrong with this - the fact we were in the same house at the same time should answer that question.

There's something about the idea of Facebook and its ilk (Bebo and MySpace being other like sites) that doesn't sit right with me (and I'm not talking about these ill-fitting trousers I'm wearing...) Jeannie Bloggs posts that's she's making chicken casserole for supper. Whoop de doo. Then Fred Smith posts that 'he likes this' with a thumbs up sign. Now the whole world knows what Jeannie is having for supper and can comment if they wish (providing, of course, they're 'friends' of Jeannie...) Fred is suitably impressed to tell the world he's very happy at this turn of events...

As I type this I have received a message from Laura which says 'she has listed me as her Dad'. To confirm this 'family request' I have to follow the link on the message. Hmm. What if I don't confirm this 'family request'? Does this mean I'm no longer father to my elder daughter? Has Facebook taken over the world to the extent I have to confirm my relationship with my family members on the site?

Of course, by joining Facebook I'm well aware I am contributing to this sad, almost geeky state of affairs. Laura and Michaela wouldn't hesitate to tell you they think I'm the world's biggest geek in any case. As I say, Facebook can become addictive and there are those who go on the site several times a day, every day. On the plus side, I have made contact with some people I haven't heard from in years - although some of them won't make 'real' contact by phone or email, they'll continue to do so via Facebook. Which makes me think, are they real friends or are they just keen to impress the world with how many people they know?

Perhaps I'm being cynical. Which is unlike me, I know. However, when I was a small child in the late 1960s, I used to have an imaginary friend. Now more than forty years later, I'm on Facebook -and I have more than sixty of them...


Angry Old Man said...

Mike, I seem to remember a story about McDonalds or some other fast food chain, offering a free meal to anybody who was willing to delete a set number of friends from their Facebook account.
Not surprisingly there were takers.
Sort of sums up Facebook and society.

Gillian said...

Who would give up anything (even their hard earned cash) for a McDonalds anything?!?

Joanna Jenkins said...

I've debated having a Facebook page for a while. I finally started one to keep in touch with my nieces and nephews out of town but then every hog, dog and frog I once knew are my friends now and well-- It wasn't so fun- so I deactivated my account. Not sure if I'll ever pick it up again unless I use an alias-- now there's an idea ;-)

Happy Facebook, Mike.

Adullamite said...

There are uses to facebook, especially when folks are far apart.
But it is a bit juvenile to me.
Several I wish to avoid have appeared and I 'accidentally' 'ignored' them by mistake!

Colin Campbell said...

So true. My daughter is often more talkative on Facebook than in real life.

miruspeg said...

Mike I joined Facebook mainly to keep in touch with my nieces and other relatives.
I had fun on it for a while with my other virtual friends, then I got bored and haven't been on much since.

As always I enjoyed your witty writing. Keep on keeping on. :)