For fear of the F word (not that one….. F***book)

Just so you know, I started to write this post on the 15th June and have only just got round to publishing it, however, in that time some of the points I make have been verified in the national media.  So at least now I know, it’s not just me 🙂

I’ll be the first to admit it, and I don’t mind who knows,  I have an inherent distrust of Facebook.  Don’t get me wrong I know and understand that some people use it for good means where keeping in contact is difficult, however, the impression I have of Facebook through the people I know who use it is that it’s something that’s just there to sap as many hours as possible achieving absolutely nothing.

I also know that the day is rapidly approaching where I’m going to have to join if only to get a greater social networking exposure.

I know many people who extol the virtues of Facebook, one cites that she only ever knows what her brother is doing because of his Facebook page.  Isn’t that just a little sad?  I mean we’re talking here that she only knew he’d moved house through Facebook.   Seriously?  If that’s the state that we’ve got to then for me that’s just a sad indictment of the human race in 2012.

And before the pro-facebook brigade jump on me calling me a Luddite, I’m not.  I work in IT.  But I’m entitled to an opinion just the same as everyone else.  To give you a couple of examples of my problem with Facebook……

Status Updates
I know people who can’t do anything, and I mean anything, without updating Facebook.  Like ‘I’m doing the washing’, ‘hanging the washing out’, ‘getting the

washing in’, ‘folding the washing’.  You know what, I don’t get that much detail from my wife and I live with her.  I also don’t care (about other people’s washing, not my wife).  Who could possibly be interested in whether you’re doing the washing, or in the supermarket deciding what fish cakes to buy.

Seriously, quit the updates and the washing won’t take as long.

In all likelihood the same person complains about how much time the washing takes to do. Well, and I don’t want to come over all revolutionary here, but it’d take 10 minutes less if you didn’t tell everyone on your friend list you were doing it.

Popularity Contests
I had an email a while ago which was something like ‘Win a lifetime supply of biscuits, just ‘Like’ us on Facebook’.  Well, as nice as a lifetime of biscuits would be , and I’m sure the companies new ‘zingy tangy crumbly biscy biscuit’ is really lovely, but I haven’t tried it, probably won’t and aren’t going to rush out to the shops to buy some.  Plus a lifetime supply of biscuits is going to make me chubby and I’m already the expanding western front.  So does that make me a hypocrite if I click ‘Like’?

Like? Care? Tried?

I can imagine the marketing people sitting there going ‘we got like, 1 million likes!’
‘Cool, how many extra packs did we sell?’
‘246!  In a week!’

Excellent, that should more than offset the cost of the lifetime supply of biscuits then.  I realise this is an exaggeration of course, but from what I’ve been reading Facebook and advertising don’t necessarily produce $/£ and there have been several reports that most of this likes are false anyway.  Anyway, people aren’t out shopping, they’re too busy doing the washing and updating their Facebook status to read those ads.

And yes, the like button on something like a blog is different, you’re actually reading something and deciding whether you like it or not.  By all means like a company or a product, but not just because some marketing exec is running a competition to see if he can overtake the next best brand of polished turd.

Now these are obviously extremes, and as I’ve said I do understand the communication potential of Facebook, but one of the issues that seems to be missed time and time again, and isn’t just limited to Facebook, is that the internet is not anonymous.  Yes, W.Chaser is not my real name, so I have a level of anonymity here, but without much effort it wouldn’t be difficult to track down who I really am, especially if what I was doing was breaking the law (the real ones, not the laws of writing which I probably break regularly).

There are enough examples out there of people who’ve used social networking and repented at leisure, from the school teachers in Hull who lost their jobs after putting on their Facebook pages that the pupils were ‘inbred’ through to the tweet made about Cisco that resulted in a rescinded job offer.  Not to mention the myriad of drunk people and those who fall off balconies because the latest ‘craze’ dictates they should take a photo in the oddest position.  Perhaps it should be mandatory to have an IQ test to join Facebook, or have a special switch that says ‘Im on the razz tonight, don’t let me post anything after 9pm’.

There’s even talk that some companies demand your Facebook details to see what you post online as part of the interview process.  Quite what right any employer has to effectively interrogate and have control over people’s social lives is a mystery, perhaps they want to see how often people do their washing or how many biscuit companies they like.

I listened to a radio programme a while ago about unemployment and one of the callers was obviously trying hard to get  a job, in fact his quote (and I’m paraphrasing here) was something like ‘yeah, I go to the job centre first thing for half an hour, but if there’s nothing there I’ll go to the library’.  Excellent I thought to myself, that’s the way, educate yourself, try and improve your prospects.

‘and I’ll logon to Facebook for 5 hours or so while Im there and just do stuff’

Ah.  So rather than researching potential job ops at the library he’s busily planting virtual potatoes and harvesting virtual stuff on Facebook.  Hmmmmm.  Still, I guess he could always apply for a job on a farm?

But as I’ve said, the world and his hamster seem to be on Facebook and even me in my most ranty mood knows that sooner or later I’m going to have to cave.  I’m just not ready yet.

Anyway, I’m off to do the washing now.  I’ll let you know when I’ve finished.

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