Monday, October 8, 2012

Downside of Facebook

Grouses are mounting on the use of Facebook.

According to a recent report, less and less young people in the UK are turning to drugs, partly because they are too busy on Facebook or sending text messages.

“It could be, if they are on Blackberry all the time, that that’s the way they socialise and communicate; you don’t want to be doing that and having a spliff at the same time.” Or so an expert said recently.

Like, why not? Why would having a spliff (joint) stop you from getting on Facebook or sending your friends a text message, or vice versa?

“Just wanted to say high, everybody!” you could write on your Facebook timeline, thereby satisfying two addictions at the same time: the need to get high on drugs, and the need to say “hi” on the Internet.

It also seems that a large number of people go on Facebook when they are drunk, so much so that a browser extension has been developed to prevent them from making embarrassing drunken comments like, “Jenny, you hag. I’m so glad I dumped you.”

Or “My boss sucks big time”. After overlooking the fact that their boss is actually one of their Facebook friends.

Apparently, the software will ask you to do something that only a sober person can do – like recite the alphabet backwards or trace a moving object across a computer screen with your index finger. I’m not sure if I can recite the alphabet backwards with any sort of speed while completely sober, never mind after a couple of glasses of merlot.

If I really wanted to get my message online, I would probably cheat by writing out the alphabet from beginning to end, making it easier to recite it backwards. If you’re really drunk, and you really want to do something, you will find a way.

Of course, after all that faffing around you might get online only to forget what it was that you wanted to say on Facebook. Then your bladder might take charge, so all you get to write is, “Going for a pee, be back in a sec.”

In some Western countries, Facebook’s popularity is waning, with more and more people pulling the plug on their social media accounts.

For example, an increasing number of Australians claim that Facebook promotes a culture of “narcissism and self-absorption.” They are fed up with the constant flow of inane comments like: “Going for a pee, be back in a sec.” Some want to delete their online presence but are afraid of losing contact with their friends.

I’m not sure how that works. If your family and friends make inane, narcissistic comments online, to the extent that you’re irritated by them, why would you want to keep in touch with them anyway?

All you have to do is “unfriend” the irritating narcissistic people in your network and you will be left with people who don’t irritate you – possibly people you have never met before or hardly know.

Another grouse with Facebook comes from former couples who have just split up. It seems that it is easier to extricate yourself from someone in the real world than it is online.

If your ex is one of your Facebook friends, all you have to do is delete him/her, but what about all your mutual friends? If you make an inane comment on Facebook about your current depressed mood, something like, “Bleh, bleh, bleh, bleh, bleh ...”, what’s to stop a mutual friend from writing a response to your comment, thereby enabling your ex to witness your friend’s comment and your depressive state?

Indeed, what’s to stop the person who unceremoniously dumped you from writing a comment on a mutual friend’s timeline to the effect that they have met someone new: the soul mate that they have been waiting for their entire life? And what’s to stop all your mutual friends from “liking” that comment? And you get to watch it all as it unfolds.

Feeling crushed and humiliated, you might want to go out and get drunk. There’s a good chance that you get so inebriated that you want to express yourself online. And there’s also a good chance that your determination ensures you can recite the alphabet backwards and you successfully log onto Facebook.

With a bit of luck, before you have the chance to write anything incriminating about your ex, you might need to go for a pee.

BUT THEN AGAIN BY MARY SCHNEIDER
> Check out Mary on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mary.schneider.writer. Reader response can be directed to star2@thestar.com.my

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