Monday, February 2, 2015

Dear Mr Facebook.


You win, Mr Facebook, you win.

It is under some self-imposed duress
but I have finally created a Facebook account.

I had been proactively ignoring FB
for a few years now-
which is a big thing for me
because I am always heavily influenced by peer pressure.

 I felt that if I avoided FB
I would be condescendingly superior in my mental- and possibly physical- survival
when the lights went out
and most of the human population (or their brains anyhow) shrivelled up
from social media withdrawal.

It wasn't about privacy.
I have been blogging and using chat rooms for a few years now
and think that I have reached a nice balance of common sense and paranoia.

I know not to announce when we will be away for the holidays,
print my bank account numbers,
or scan in my kids' birth certificates. 

I am in thick with Mr Google and Mr Flickr
(though Mr Google Translate and I have a strained relationship
which is helped by copious amounts of alcohol
only because I could then care less
about his so-called translations)

Besides, when I search for a hotel room on my computer
and you, Mr FB- 

I can call you Mr FB, can't I?
I feel like we are buddies now.
After all, I have been signed up for nearly 24 hours now
so you must know what type of toothpaste I am using 
and what I think of Tony Abbott knighting Prince Phillip-

can then put a sponsored post on a facebook page 
to let me know that the room is still available,
I think that Big Brother aint got nothing on you
and hide information as we might,
you are leaching out of us as we sleep.

The World Wide Web, technology and social media really is amazing.

When I was growing up,
my folks had to go into a bank sometime Monday to Friday,
between 10am and 3:30pm or they had no currency to live on.

And, hey, wait for this one-
if you got invited to something, 
it was handwritten
AND you had to hand write a reply back.
No texting or FB to invite 3000 of your closest friends
and no texting or FB to reply.

This one was before you were born 
and you might not believe it but
as a high school girl, I had a pen-pal who lived in Ireland.
She would write to me on paper and put in a photo
and I would do the same back to her.

So tedious and time consuming
whereas these days I could snap a photo of my
morning toast and Vegemite
and FB it to her 
in less time than it took me to make it.

I know that you are the big Kahuna of social media.
And there is a lot out there to be the big Kahuna of.

To you, Quechup, Plurk and Blauk
are mere smears of chewing gum on the soul of your oversized WWW runners.

And to me, they are the noises your body makes after a particularly spicy curry.

But to people who are looking for friends or a date,
or micro-blogging updates
or who simply want a place to share some anonymous secrets,
they are an important part of their lives.

I realise now, that if you are religious, brunette University student
who knits but doesn't eat green vegetables
or believe in global warming,
there is a social media site designed especially for you.

You are there to keep people communicating.
I get that, you know, FB-

May I call you FB?
I've been signed up for 24 hours and 5 minutes now 
and Mr is just so formal
and given that joining you means that I don't have to send those formal
(yet personal) Christmas cards anymore
or those snail-mail delivered (albeit personal) birthday cards anymore
or even holiday postcards now that I can smart-phone a snap instantly
in front of the Big Lobster on our way down the coast,
I feel that we can dispense with all formality.


But I am not sure the way that you are encouraging people to communicate
is entirely a good thing.

So, Facey, my mate-

You don't mind being called Facey, do you?
It might catch on.-

just in case you didn't work it out for yourself
(though you probably did)
my primary reason for signing up (and possibly signing away my life and my identity)
was for retail therapy.

My husband can only sign up for so many fabric groups 
and buy so much yarn before his mates
reassess his Alpha male status.

(Though admittedly Mr Boozle being an Alpha male
has probably never crossed the mind of anyone who has seen him in lycra)

So here I am.

I have some people in my life, near and far,
who I will value keeping in touch with so easily.
I daresay that I will even find- or be found by- other people
who it will be lovely to have a cyber coffee with.

But I have no interest in how many friends I have.
It's about quality, not quantity.
I want to keep in touch with people who matter to me
or who are important to me.

So can you help me out here?
Because I can't seem to find the button for the passive-aggressive Facebookers.

For those of us who don't want to offend anyone by ignoring a friend request
but also don't want to be friends with all and sundry.

So we would end up friending people 
just so that we don't have to lie awake at night worrying that we might have offended them
but because we have friended them,
we lie awake at night bitching and moaning about the fact
that we have done just that.

See the dilemma?
So, if you could get back to me about that one,
I'd really appreciate it.

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