|We Hate Facebook|
|Written by Murphy Simmonds|
ONLINE social networking is revolutionising the way we ignore people we never really liked.
You have 1 new friend request. Hooray! How exciting. Maybe it’s Bob from university. He was crazy, always wearing that hat and trying to kick pigeons. Haven’t seen him in ages. Or it might be Suzie from accounts. She’s been really chatty lately and she definitely uses the web outside of work. It could even be that girl from the party seven years ago, the drunk one with the Ugg boots and the lisp. Wouldn’t mind seeing her again. Click. Click. Username. Password. Click. Loading… oh good God. I hate that guy. Get off my internet!"12 Funwall Friends Requests. 24 Zombie Requests. 5 Vampire Requests. An endless column of drivel spilling off the bottom of the screen"
This is what happens when Facebook goes wrong. It all starts with such optimism. A friend tells you about “this Facebook thing” and convinces you to sign up. You dutifully fill in various details about your existence, select the picture in which you look least like a walrus, then sit back and wait for the buddies to roll in. Let’s find out what all the fuss is about, you think.
Wave one comes. A succession of current acquaintances who already use the site, bolstered by speculative searches for people you know and like. And at the moment, it’s all gravy. Each new name brings a little tingle, loved-ones collected and conveniently filed into your personal pals list like bipedal Pokémon. You can see what they’re up to, scrutinise their photographs, find out who they’re mates with and leave happy messages on their profile for everyone to see.
Wave two next. Over the next couple of months, your roster mushrooms in size as you gleefully start adding anyone and everyone, from your phone, your former workplaces, from courses, colleges, universities, friends of friends and friends of Facebook friends, job contacts, the postman, the bloke from the garage and someone you once walked past in a supermarket. At the same time, surprises keep trickling into your inbox - your first love, a forgotten childhood chum, even older family members, computer-illiterate types who write full URLs into Google then double-click the result. Slowly, surely, you start to realise that Facebook is amazing.
But then it happens. A friend request comes that bursts your gleeful Poké-bubble. Often it’s someone from school, some blinkered idiot who thinks the passing of a decade means you’ll have forgotten that they reported you for smoking at breaktime, stole your crisps or kissed Sharon Parker. Sat there smirking in their smug boxed mugshot, raking up your memories like a demented park keeper.
Your mouse icon hovers over the Confirm button. Your adult brain says it’s time to let bygones be bygones, time to give this former nemesis privileged insight into the minutiae of your modern life, access to your social circle and holiday snaps, because, well, you’re both older now and that was all in the past. You glance up to the right. 9 Group Invitations. 12 Funwall Friends Requests. 24 Zombie Requests. 5 Vampire Requests. An endless column of drivel spilling off the bottom of the screen. Your mouse hand drifts back to the Confirm button while your resurrected friend-in-waiting grins at you.
And you realise. There’s a reason that he isn’t in your phone. There’s a reason you don’t have his email address. There’s a reason, you realise, that you didn’t stay in touch with so many of these people, special and beautiful and wonderful though they all are. It’s because you couldn’t be bothered.
You have 1 new friend request. You click Ignore.