Ain’t facebook great? Honestly, I love it.
In the real world I have about six friends. Proper friends now I mean, the kind who will abuse the shit out of you for how drunk you were, who ya shifted, the story “you-had-be-there” for but didn’t realise until it was too late, and that you still love to bits at the end of it. But I’ve got 267 Facebook friends from dole bums to PHD candidates, black, white and asian, obscenely wealthy and successful folk and many the average Joe. A veritable cross-section of society.
I have my reasons for keeping ya’ll as part of my newsfeed. Some of you post interesting links that pass my evenings here in the desert; news articles, comics, hilarious pictures of small animals doing unlikely things. Some of you have fascinating personal lives, and I just couldn’t make it through the day without reading the latest comments under your latest relationship status. Some of you I actually like, and that’s why I keep you around* But for many, you are on my page simply because it would be too awkward not to.
- Your ex: If we were all just a bit more mature we would be able to say “well, the past is the past, no point having him/her on my page”. We’re not though, are we? You have to add each other so you can see who’s winning at “who’s more over who?” “who’s put on more weight since the break up?” and of course to find out “who’s that random skank in his profile picture?” Before adding, naturally you’re going to update your status to include your thoroughly exciting plans for the weekend, and change your profile pic to you and that cutie from Sri Lanka two years ago.
- Extended family: Oh dear. Aunt Monica has added you on facebook. What to do? If you add her you know she’s going to comment on every single thing you post, most likely with anecdotes of when she used to change your nappy. But if you don’t add her she’ll tell those stories loudly in front of your friends anyway just to get back at you. Wily old fox she is. Best option here is to stay in fairly active contact with her on her page so that hopefully she won’t feel the need to shame the hell outta you in front of your 459 facebook friends. “Honey – Your Mom is about to go shopping and she wants to know what brand of tampons you like.”
- The Creeper: Maybe you added him/her before you knew what a weirdo they were. Or maybe they were a friend of a friend that you added out of a sense of obligation. However it happened, this “friend” of yours pops up in your chat box within five seconds of you appearing online with a string of inanities designed to keep you from stalking your prey for the evening. A clear warning signal that this guy [or gal] is a major freak is when they leave a comment “wow…nice pic” on a picture you put up any time over six months ago – how long were they looking through your page to find that? Approach with caution
- The Colleague: Possibly the most awkward one of all. You get along fine at the office or in the staffroom, but there isn’t quite enough of a connection there for you to become real-life friends. Maybe there’s too much of a gap in age, culture or beliefs, but that is not enough of a gap to stop him or her from adding you on bookface. Now you don’t want to be rude, but you also don’t want them to have access to every messy picture that has been taken of you since 2007. Sometimes you ‘like’ misogynistic or marginally racist comments on facebook, and they may not understand that you meant it in an ironic way.
- The Emos and the Inspired: If you’ve had a shitty day, facebook is the perfect place to vent. If you’ve had good news, it’s ideal for sharing the the joy. But I don’t need your anger spewing all over my feed 24/7, nor do I want to know how inspired and thankful you’re feeling today, every day. Most things in life are best done in moderation, friends.