Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Facebook: Friend or Foe?

I have never been able to look at this and resist:

For the most part, I think Facebook is fabulous. I see it as a lazy man’s/woman’s device for keeping in touch. It’s a wonderfully welcome alternative to that other old-fashioned mode of communication - the one that’s So-Last-Century – the dull, one-dimensional email (despite being a writer, I abhor writing emails).

I can never find the time to send regular emails to everyone mainly because I can never bring myself to send out those awful “group emails” that some people seem to think is an acceptable form of communication. It’s SO impersonal (especially if it’s from someone you consider as a close friend). One step lower are forwarded jokes and at the very bottom of the bin are ‘chain’ mails. Imagine not hearing from someone for a while and then receiving one of those ridiculous mails that insist you’re going to grow a third nipple if you don’t forward the mail this-very-second to 5 more people! I’ve refrained from indulging in any of these but unfortunately, this also means that I hardly ever email anybody.

In fact, I’m one of the worst correspondents I know and if they were handing out grades for Keeping in Touch, I’d get an E or gagal altogether! Only Trixie has miraculously been spared my notorious habit of not sending regular email. This is only because of her inexorable and tireless efforts of sending me email after email after email until I finally caved and began to reply regularly!

Most of my other friends, whom I love and miss, have to tolerate my long and complete silences between my visits to Malaysia. Thankfully, these are my true friends – that’s why they still stick around (there have been others who have completely dropped of my radar and I can’t say I blame them).

This is where Facebook is a lifesaver. The best thing about it is that you don’t have to write a thesis every time you think of someone or miss them. Instead, you can just ‘poke’ them, add flowers and gnomes in their garden and try to get them virtually drunk by sending them dangerous sounding booze like El Chupacabra and Screaming Viking. This is a very welcome change from those long emails people used to expect from friends who live far away (let’s face it, the Jane Austen days are long gone – who has the time to write long mails, ‘e’ or otherwise, to everyone they know, anyway?)

Another plus point is that you get to ferret out long-lost friends (or vice versa) and ‘trout slap’ them or ask them burning questions like “boy shorts or thongs?” without coming across as a total loser.

Unfortunately, like all great inventions, there are some drawbacks to Facebook. Firstly, it has got to be the most addictive thing invented since alcohol. I wouldn’t be surprised if Facebook Fanatic Rehab Centres don’t start sprouting up soon. I’ve spent hours and hours sitting at my computer, looking at friends’ profiles (it has a delicious voyeur feel to it) or answering stupid trivia questions like what speed did the DeLorean, that Michael J Fox drove, have to reach before it took him “Back to the Future”. Absolutely ridiculous! Still, it’s harder to pry my fingers off the keyboard than it is to pry me away from the latest Aldos .I sit down at 9am and then get the shock of my life when I notice my computer clock : 2pm!!! Horrors!

I also wish someone would come up with Facetiquette – an accepted set of rules on dealing with the unwanted side effects of being a Face-bookie

For instance – what the hell do you do when someone you don’t really like attempts to add you as a friend? Do you do the hypocritical thing which is to accept and then proceed to ignore them or do you just ignore them from the start and wait for the invitation to expire ( I think it does in 30 days) hoping they’ll get the hint once and for all. That might seem a tad childish and petty plus you might keep coming across them again and again in other people’s profiles. How awkward!

I’m also very curious to know what to do about some people’s profile pictures. There’s this one guy – he’s a friend of a friend – whose profile picture looks like an image of Early Man in National Geographic – absolutely hideous. It does him no justice and the worst thing of all is, he asks the question: what do you think of my profile picture? Do I tell or do I not tell?

Finally, there are those strange people who suddenly send out a message like Hi! I wan be ur friend. Next to this message will be a picture of someone you’ve never seen in your life and don’t really want to see either!

All in all I think Facebook has kind of complicated my life but like all junkies – I just can’t-say-no!!!

image courtesy of www.dailymail.co.uk


Sha said...

1. If you don't like someone, don't add.
2. I don't know what 2 is. :D

You'll get over facebook in a few months trust me... but occationally it'll paste itself on you one BUSY night. Great procrastination tool. Thanks Zack or whatever. *rolls eyes*


Trisha said...

I hope you're right about getting over it in a few months.

At the moment, I only feel 'safe' when I completely refrain from logging in.

Unfortunately, I'll get a message that someone has sent me booze, flowers or some such thing and I'll find myself, once again, fooling around on Facebook for hours!

This thing is deliciously evil : )