Thinking back, I’ve been quite negative about poor (i.e. rich) old Mark Zuckerberg’s social network, penning Five reasons to hang Facebook users, and more recently enjoying a week-long hiatus from everyone’s pointless, self-obsessed drivel (mine included).
Here I’m having a change of heart and being uncharacteristically positive (I’m surprising myself, even now – two paragraphs in), with four reasons to like (pun intended) Facebook.
As per tradition, this list is presented in no particular order, and largely put together off the top of my head with the help of copious amounts of coffee.
Best thing to do is: strap yourself in (literally, if your seat has built-in belts) and enjoy the ride, wherever it takes us.
1. The mid-tier friend/vague acquaintance
Ask your parents (or old people like me), and they’ll tell you intriguing stories of days gone past when you either had someone’s details, or you didn’t.
If you fancied getting in touch with an old school friend who wasn’t in “the phone book”, you essentially had to become a fully-fledged detective, starting with their last known whereabouts and interviewing mutual friends in the desperate hope of finding tangible clues. “Ah, she’s Angela Johnson now.”
Now it’s all right there at the click of a button, much like your mp3s, and your YouTubes, and your Steam game collections… But I digress.
Some curmudgeonly types would argue that there’s no need for staying in touch with people virtually if you wouldn’t have kept in touch otherwise, but I actually quite like this new concept of having old friends and vague acquaintances (the girl I met in a rock club, the friend of a friend who I dated briefly, the guy I worked with 10 years ago) at arm’s length – but also very much right there.
I was recently convinced when a girl I went to school with “many moons ago” asked for recommendations for places to go in New Orleans. Similarly, a girl I worked with, and know only vaguely, is going through the same house purchase process, so it was helpful catching up with her.
And so on and so forth; you know the drill. Friends of friends with concert tickets, blah blah blah. Onward!
One of the best birthday reminder, er, facilities (BRFs) is none other than Facebook. In addition to having people’s birthdays listed under Events (by default), I get a weekly email sent with upcoming birthdays, which is handy simply for reminding me: ‘Ah, I must say HB to such-and-such,’ though occasionally I’ll be reminded that I actually have to do something, like buy a card, or even – good lord – pick up a present.
Similarly, there’s something admittedly quite pleasant about getting scores of Facebook-based birthday messages, when I can probably count on one hand the number of cards that come through annually (*sniff*).
3. The rant
I went out for a lengthy five-mile walk through glorious (ahem) Glasgow on Saturday afternoon, and my otherwise thoroughly enjoyable jaunt was almost ruined when some scum bag a) had the nerve to touch me, having just wiped the drool from his mouth on approach, and b) shouted “Ya ignorant basturt, ye!” when I refused to listen to his sob story; one that would’ve inevitably concluded in a request for “40p for the bus”. I’ve heard it all before, mate.
He admittedly got to me, and this week’s news could very well have been coming to you from a Glasgow jail cell had I given into my primal urges, which told me to do society a favour and throw him in the river.
Anyway! Sharing my experience on Facebook allowed me to vent (thanks, Facey B), and incurred an interesting debate about whether or not I was indeed ignorant (of course I wasn’t, you idiots; a man surely has the right to walk down the street unchallenged).
4. The anonymous snoop
I can’t say this one appeals to me personally, but there are people (not pointing fingers at anyone else who lives in this flat) who take great pleasure in looking at old friends on Facebook and observing: “Gawd, she’s so fat now,” or: “She married him!?” In that respect, Facebook is like reality TV with people you know. Or something.