I don’t know exactly what’s happened, but a number of people I’ve spoken to have noticed it as well – Facebook has gone postal.
After a nondescript childhood as the poorer, but better-looking cousin of MySpace and the unmemorable sibling of Bebo, LinkedIn, Tagged et al, in the last week Facebook simply exploded.
I generally refuse email invitations of the “someone has added you as their friend, if only you’d sign up there’s bound to be more virtual friends for you…” variety. For a start, I don’t think any of these sites have my best interests at heart. And when they ask me to enter my Gmail address and password so they can trawl through my contacts and invite everyone I’ve ever emailed to join – with me as their reference, I run faster than from a Scientologist offering me a free IQ test on Queen Street.
Maybe I’m no longer the young, urban ‘early adopter’ I once was. I might have been rocking a Mickey Mouse digital watch way back in 1982, before any of you muthaf**ckers, but these days I can’t work my dishwasher. Point being that it took any number of emails and general harassment from colleagues and friends before I clicked that Facebook was really taking off.
So I signed up on Monday and since then I’ve been poked more than a [I had various tries at not trying to break the PG rating with this metaphor and eventually gave up. Suffice to say most of them involved fourth form and the back of the bike sheds - Ed]
Anyway, so now I’m in there. I’ve been bitten and turned into a Zombie, had unflattering photos tagged, and re-established contact with old friends, ex-girlfriends and Ones that Got Away.
I still don’t really see the point of it though. You message someone, then a message goes to your email saying you have a message so you log in and check the message and then respond to it, in turn sending a message to that person’s email to check their messages.
Doesn’t that take the absolute simplicity of the concept of email, and make it only slightly less arduous than writing your message down on paper, walking to the post office for a 45c stamp and posting it?
Facebook is also interesting (and different from MySpace at least) in that you get updated with what your friends are doing. Things like their ‘status’: Simon is flat-hunting, Aaron is listening to music in his room, Jen is researching how to cook meth in her garage; Heath has been bitten and turned into a Ginge. There’s also photos they’ve added recently, groups they’ve joined – even changes in their relationship status.
Such as this morning. Now I’m hoping it was just my colleague correcting an administrative oversight, or filling in a detail she hadn’t previously bothered to enter – in the same way as I received an update about another friend yesterday, informing me he is “now in a relationship”. No doubt this will come as news to his wife of ten years.
But my colleague’s little broken heart icon suggests so much more. At quarter to seven this morning, a young woman known and loved by us all rose from her bed.
Yes, she had work to go to, but that could wait. So could the shower and the brushing of the teeth. Breakfast was definitely the furthest thing from her mind – how could she eat at a time like this? And it was with tears streaming down her face and the dawn light beginning to seep through the window, she knew what needed to be done before anything else.
She logged on to Facebook, and updated her status.
[EDIT: While we're at it, I'd like to take suggestions:
As I'm all for neologisms, can anyone tell me whether the process of going through your friend's friends to see if they know anyone hot is called?
My, er, friend wants to know.