Monday, February 04, 2008

I have not been bitten by a warewolf!!!

FaceBook, the new refuge of the socially inept

"Social network" is very 21st century. Just as a decade ago you'd have scratched your head at the sound of 'frappuccino', 'metrosexual' and 'ladette', you'd have also recoiled at the combination of "social" and "network" in the same expression. Too redolent of a Peter Mandelson-sponsored DSS initiative, perhaps. In principle, a "social network" is a great idea. Try and tell anyone you don’t have an online account with MySpace or Facebook and you'll be labelled a Disco Vicar for life. MySpace may be a bit passe', but Facebook is most certainly wicked. You can upload photographs of your last holiday, talk about how much you don't care and -above all- stay in touch or re-establish contact with long lost friends. Fantastic. A web-based 'This is Your Life' that signifies the end of "I wonder what that prick I went to school with is up to", now replaced by a more informed "look-at-him-in-his-wedding-suit-he-seems-to-be-doing-well-for-himself", or "ha-ha-my-ex-from-ten-years-ago-has-turned-into-a-right-minger". You can literally unearth people back from Year 2 and, in theory, keep in touch.

However, in line with human nature, people have to turn everything they touch into a bewildering tacky mess. Some people think the internet and Playstation generation are going to turn out less socially skilled than their predecessors. A look at one of those social networks and the chances of proving that argument wrong are lower than Wolves' likelihood of a victory at Old Trafford. Facebook has become the new refuge of the socially inept. You may be in awe of having been added as a "friend" by someone you last saw in 1995, but a sense of unease will soon come upon you as they won't be able to reply to a simple "what are you up to now" or "do you still live in…" question. Any attempt to a basic online conversation is dampened by a whirlwind of "invitations", except they're the most useless, irritating, impersonal ones. This morning I clicked on one and it read: "Dear victim, you've been bitten by John! Click the Start Biting Chumps button to become a warewolf and start biting other chumps". What?! Does that sound braindead to you? I don't know, because also "Matt has just thrown a sheep at you", and "Rebecca as just bought you for $3,000". I don’t wanna be bitten by a bat or bought, Rebecca; just say something! Answer me!…How the hell are you????

I mailed Steve if he remembers the mess of Fresher's Week ten years back but as weeks go by without a reply, it's quite clear my question unearthed deep discomfort in his subconscious. Strange cos in the meantime Steve himself has inundated my Facebook mailbox with a "Warbook" notification, a "What Sex Position are you" application and, last but not least, a "Pillowfight invitation". Call me humourless and bitter, but why I would want to have a Pillow fight online, simply, eludes me. And Andy, I asked you how your new job was, I didn’t request an "Album Rack" application! And if you decide to check Tara's profile, you may want to book a day off. Their send-mail button or even their photo album are drowned in a bamboozling ocean of pointless "applications" that are the epitomy of social ineptitude: "You're a Hottie", "Pick You Up", "What Drink are you?", "What Vegetable are you" (why would you want to know if I'm a carrot or a courgette?), "Tiz Me" and…lo and behold…even a "My Starbucks" application, in which you send imaginary drinks to bestest "hottie" "trendsetting" mates you'd carefully keep at an arm's length if it was the real world. Any excuse to say nothing.

When Facebook was created, each profile pages featured a "Wall" section in which people could leave messages everybody could read. That wasn't enough. As Facebook gets more popular the scroll button on your mouse is working overtime as you get sweaty palms negotiating your way between Wall, FunWall, SuperWall, GraffitiWall, MegaWall and Another Brick in The Wall. And, being a British thing, you can be sure there's a BoozeMail section too. Thank god you can't get pissed online.

So here's what I say. If anybody out there is bored enough to have figured out the difference between Poke and SuperPoke, please do us a favour, delete us from your Friends list.


Anonymous said...

the point is........why do they do it? maYBE sending a facebook gift is easier if u cant b arsed to write a msg. u know what i mean... like u still show that u care by sending something and u are also spared hvin2 sit down n string sentences 2geva.

Anonymous said...

Me thinks you need to go out more, Sir ;-)

Emma said...

...and you're clearly proving your point there, anonymous.