“Facebook,” said the texter on Radio Five Live this afternoon, “should be called Facebrag, people showing off about their new cars, holidays and new jobs.” That was a new one on me. I had never thought of it like that. I just enjoy reading what my friends are up to.
People who don’t like reading about cars, holidays and jobs don’t have to read it. There is no law that says you have to. You can block people if you like, or merely hide them from your timeline, in which case; are you sure they are actually friends at all?
The only reason I don’t like reading about people’s cars is because I find cars a very boring subject to read about. This is because I am pig ignorant about cars and regard them simply as a means of getting from one place to another. Others don’t; salivating, approaching orgasm just in the act of looking at a car. But I don’t have to read it.
If someone is on holiday, enjoying the sun whilst I am watching the icy rain beating on the windows, I want to see their photos of the blue skies and the sun. If they are exploring an historic sight, I look forward to seeing what they have seen. It doesn’t make me jealous and why should it? I’ve had my share of warm holidays over the years. It’s nice when nice people do nice things. We used to send postcards from our holidays. This is just a modern postcard. And if someone goes to a gig, tell me what it’s like, what songs the band played. And if your kids do well in education or at work, why not tell the world about it? Or not if you don’t want to.
If you watched Big Brother, as I didn’t, post about it. I may not reply but then you might not want me to. And if you don’t want to argue about politics and religion, then don’t. If you are a Godwhacker who supports Britain First you can’t be my friend anyway.
The “Facebrag” dig might be irritating if it were true, but I honestly don’t think anyone I know does that. No one who sets out thinking: “Right. We’re off on a cruise to the West Indies. I’m going to show off to those people who can’t even afford a weekend in Weston.” It just doesn’t happen. In fact, I find it uplifting when I see the lovely pictures with the witty anecdotes.
Another criticism is that people only spread good news. Well, so what? It’s up to them. They can say what they want. If they have a nice meal with family, why not tell us? If Uncle Fred has had a stroke and is in hospital, they might not wish to, but if they do, I’ll pass on my best wishes.
You would have thought, listening to the radio, that Facebook was somehow a force for bad, on a par with ISIS or the Conservative Party, perhaps, but it’s not a force for bad or good. It just is. If you want to say you are having a great time on the beach, or a bad time in the hospital ward, then say so, if you like. In the last year, very sad events have taken place in my little world and Facebook was a uniting force. I do not know if it gave people comfort – I hope it did – but it brought folk together, told people what was going on and actually helped create and rekindle friendships.
If you are off somewhere sunny and warm, I’d like to read about it, enjoy the views and share them with me. If you are not feeling so good, don’t be shy about sharing that with me either. Some still regard Facebook and other social networks with suspicion and I can understand that. I find it mostly good and positive, but with hints of real life thrown in. And we keep saying, you can read as much and as little as you like.