Because Facebook Said So

Confessionals are passe. Dear Diary doesn't exist. For your eyes / ears only never happens any more. Dinner for two unannounced is an oddity, a visit to the gym is no longer between you and your sweat pants... our lives are literally open books!

Facebook and Twitter are viral. I know that is not exactly hot-off-the-press news, but exactly how viral they are has been on my mind a lot lately. I honestly know exactly one friend in my circle of girlfriends, who is not on facebook. This said friend has also only recently upgraded to a Blackberry, so for her, the constant status updates on BBM are enough to contend with (her words!)!! From parents and grandparents, to my 10 year old godson; from charity groups, business pages, community updates, to both my kids schools; from your best friend when you were three, to the new friend you just met at work,  facebook does not discriminate. If you want information, gossip, updates, the weather report - or want to know what your neighbour had for breakfast (!), facebook news feed is your one stop shop!To be clear, I'm not running it down - I am as attached to facebook as the next guy. Aside from the obvious social (and voyeuristic!) reasons, I appreciate its value and reach from a general marketing perspective as well. Where would we be without that little blue, um, "F"!!
My thought processes regarding the virility of facebook, has been moving along the lines of can too much information at our fingertips, shoved in our faces, begging for commentary and further spreading (I mean sharing!), be dangerous?? In so many ways, I think it is not only dangerous, but extremely potentially harmful!! But like with anything, it all depends on how you use it, and how responsible you are. (On that note - I just heard that those ridiculously expensive little "buckyballs" (tiny, powerful magnetic balls designed to attract as many kids to their short-term spot of flavor-of-the-week, despite the hefty price tag, as possible!!) have been banned in the US due to their lethal consequence if swallowed. I'm Just Saying... use and responsibility... its simple!!)

And then there's the question of facebook friends - quantity over quality? In terms of numbers, is more seriously better? Do we quality control enough? I'm sure everyone is in the same boat. You know, that person / family member / work mate / old nursery school friend / nosey neighbour across the road, who, no matter how long you avoided that Friend Request notification, guilted you into accepting? The very same one who now facebook-stalks you - comments on your every move, every picture, every status update, every check in, and every new friend accepted to your page (and comments border-line-inappropriately, or inboxes you with not-so-borderline-inappropriate judgements!!). Like you didn't see that coming!!And yet here we are, 527 friends later. Open books. Shew!

Pinterest had a divine post recently (I forgot to PIN it, so I'm a bit hazy on the details). Something along the lines of most people's relationships would survive longer, if facebook didn't exist. I recall them referring to the constant interfering, questioning, judging made by facebook "friends", more than the not-so-unheard-of leaving your partner for that recently surfaced first love from pre-school days! I would go so far as to say that this goes for friendships as well. I would guess that many friendships have been derailed by facebook revelations, divulges, dodgy check-ins and cringe-worthy tagged pictures!! Timelines are inarguably filled with an enormous amount of detrimental over-sharing.

With regard to safety, crime, and community incidents, my husband and I recently had a conversation about reality versus perception. At the moment there seems to be this massive influx of crime in and around our area. Facebook and Twitter have been reading like a CSI role call - absolutely flooded by reports, warnings, stories and updates on attempted assaults, break-ins, hijackings etc etc.  My initial reaction was naturally "Well there goes the neighbourhood! Lock your doors, don't go out after dark, live in fear!" But on contemplation, has the level of crime really increased so dramatically, or is this only our perception because of how much more aware we are being made of it? I'm not denying the crime is there, has always been there, but I'm Just Saying maybe facebook and twitter doing live reporting on every incident, has exacerbated our reactions to the bigger picture.

Overly emotive - in fact, passive-aggressive attention seeking, vague Facebook updating; Tweeting in the moment; blanket CC'ing of emails; overly informative BBM status's; harsh / judgemental commentary and generalisations under the pseudo-comfort-blanket of relative anonymity; - much like drunk-dialling / texting, more often than not bites you in the @ss. Think twice, post once. I am seriously admitting (again!) to a bit of pottle (pot calling the kettle black), as I can plead guilty to a number of my hastily written updates falling victim to my quick posting finger. But in the future, I am going to attempt a self-imposed censorship of  any post-before-you-think updates. And am going to attempt a bigger picture view of whats on offer on my news feeds and timelines. Just because Facebook said so, doesn't make it Gospel. I'm Just Saying...