facebook is weird

Facebook is weird. I know what an old school friend, someone I haven’t seen for 20 years had for breakfast and I have seen the wedding photos of an old work colleague that I imagined I would never see again. I have been sent a friend suggestion that makes me laugh. She was the girl who bullied me at school a life time ago. Do I want to be her friend? Just to know what she is doing somewhere out there in middle America? More importantly do I want her to know what I am doing?

On the flip side I have reconnected with an old school teacher, the most inspiring teacher I ever had, someone who impacts my teaching style every day. I have found a long lost friend that I searched ages for and now we will meet up this summer and exchange memories. I can read the evening plans of two of my old students, I even know what film they are planning on seeing tonight, but does it all really mean anything?  I now have these superficial connections to people that are not really in my life, albeit by a sliver through a computer screen. The people I really want to see, and hug and hold are not living in my white laptop, they are living in my mind, my past and hopefully my future.

Facebook has now overtaken google as the most viewed online search engine. To use a Trini term it is the ultimate “Maco” tool, meaning we can spy on one another and be misled that we know what we are all doing. It presents a warped truth, but one that satisfies some of our curious inclinations. Through Facebook I can see what my daughter’s status is and then berate her for spreading her private life throughout the cyber world. These are things I probably shouldn’t know and yet I keep logging in, coming back for more, looking, as I scroll through the names, for connections, knowledge of what people out there are doing today. It makes the world so small when in many other ways it just feels too big.

Those of us who live so far away, across oceans and continents, shops, markets and deserts, need to feel the world is small.

I just purchased my airline tickets to London this summer and judging by the price of those tickets the world is quite enormous. Instead of looking into my screen to hunt for shiny things and old friends I will have it laid out on a concrete pavement for my delectation and choice. For three weeks I will spend my days in London town, soaking up the culture, the dust, not from red pounded roads, but from smog and the frayed, chipped ancient paint from antique buildings. I will revel, spin and worship at the alter of the Great Shiny West.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “facebook is weird

  1. Astrid

    Hi – I so have the same opinion of Facebook and yet, like you, I keep coming back.
    I don’t think it is a good idea for neither a parent nor a teenager to be on one anothers Facebook’s list. That must be pretty darn annoying/confusing and tempting!

    Cheers,

    Astrid

  2. Linda

    I heard a program on Natl Public Radio recently about Facebook. The author of hte program, a man who had 694 friends on Facebook (most in his city of residence) invited all of them to meet him for a drink. Of all 694, only 40 replied yes. Then he went to the pub and not one showed up. He commented on how relying on Facebook really can hinder people socially.

    For physically isolated people (eg muzungus in Kampala, mums with newborns whose husbands work away) it can be an anti-depressive. For many others, it is just a big time-waster!

  3. Kirsty

    I on the other hand, love this.
    Would we have met up for a wonderful day last summer without Facebook?
    Would I have simple, everyday style, over coffee type chats with my very good friends in Australia, Canada, Jordan and the like?
    Yes it can be superficial but sometimes I wonder if some of our old relationships weren’t. This is new, thats all.
    Mind you, I’ve been rather selective with my ‘friends’!
    Talking of which…. when are you over? fancy another get together?
    Lots of love

  4. Ah, the weighty world of the Facebook debate. I don’t have a page, and was initially very turned off by what you call the superficial aspect of it, and mostly by what I interpreted as a ‘popularity contest’, and my aversion to ‘profiling’ myself. But to be fair, i dont really know the ins and outs, and it is all new as Kirsty says, and I’m sure it can be used in very useful ways. But that said, i really don’t feel like I’m missing out on much!
    Maybe i said the same things when email rolled into town…!

    Btw, thanks Linda for that really interesting story about the man and the pub, although I found it rather sad…

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