Monday, March 3, 2008

People who need people

Against my better judgement, (no time) I recently launched a Facebook account, or page, or wall or whatever it's called. This came about primarily because a long lost childhood friend of mine (discovered through Friends Reunited) wanted to show me her family photos and apparently Facebook is the best way to do this. Since being on Facebook, another school friend now in Italy has contacted me, my very first au pair from 15 years ago has been in touch, and I've been "poked" (or something) by many of my younger cousins, who apparently have nothing better to do with their time than lark about in cyber space. Oh, hang on. That would be because they are not married and have no children.

Anyway, (or "anyhoo" as some Americans say here in the mid-west), as part of setting up my Facebook thingy, I was given the option of "befriending" people already in my e-mail contact lists. "Why not?", I thought, and hit the "yes" button. What I failed to grasp was that everyone within the Venn diagram circle of both being in my address book and being on Facebook would get my begging e-mail asking to be their friend. When I say everyone, I mean everyone - including people I'd forgotten I ever had an e-mail for, and people I found on Friends Reunited, e-mailed once and then decided against future contact. For the most part it's been fine - especially given that you can spend as much or as little time with it as you want. I don't, very much. My teenage daughter benevolently granted my friendship request then realized that I was henceforth privvy to everything she and her friends were doing and saying. She huffed and puffed for a week, until reminded that it was she who allowed me access in the first place. I was promptly "un-friended". I would say it was fun reading the messages between teenagers, but to be honest, I couldn't understand 80% of what they were writing. POS means "parent over shoulder", and WTF was fairly clear, but everything else was like Greek to me.

The other day I was looking at my increasing lists of "friends". (Friends' photos are up on your page, and since I have more than a handful of them now, I am no longer a member of the "saddo" division. Oh, the social pressure.) To my utter dismay, I suddenly realized that I had been "unfriended" by someone who, as far as I am concerned, had absolutely no reason to unfriend me. (Can you sense the disbelief and outrage?) An old university friend, and now apparently rather important at Saatchi, he was in my e-mail address book, and must have voluntarily become my friend, as I had access to his Facebook page and posts. And now he's gone. I know I didn't delete him, so I can only deduce that he has deemed me not cool enough to grace his page. Does he not know that I will be on Chicago telly tonight? Has he forgotten that I was President of the university Debating Society? How very dare he? He's not an ex, or an ex-crush, or even an "unrequited", yet years ago this would have sent me into a period of self-examination and doubt, -diving for the nearest self-help book, Drunk Mummy's advice or a litre of Sancerre.

This time however, I am a mature, confident-ish, not-to-be-toyed-with woman. I read MORE magazine every month, socialize only with the people I actually like, parent my kids the way I see fit, write when I can, and blog. (Can you hear me roaring?) Therefore, my first reaction to anything like this now is invariably, "Ooh, that would make a good post!" Thanks, Adam.


  1. My children were - gasp - appalled when I started a MySpace account. In my defense it was all about family pictures, not "hooking up". I have since deleted said account and remain a lurker in cyber space. I just couldn't take the rejection anymore...LOL! snicker!

  2. Thanks for making me laugh this morning ...I knew there would be something good about being stuck in bed with my laptop...
    Rule, Britannia looks like a great book- I've enjoyed looking at the website! I'm looking forward to your next one! One about 'moving to the U.S. would be real handy for me right now!!

  3. Oh you are so trendy MS Expatmum! I love MORE magazne too....
    Loved your post today....I think you are in the popular crowd now!


  4. Ahh Facebook. The make and break of social life. I admit it's quite useful for sharing photos etc.

    Every now and again I go through a list of my contacts and purge those who I don't really see (or want to see) that often.

    About a month later I notice they're not my friends anymore and storm (virtually) off in umbrage before remembering *I* had deleted *them*. Silly cow.

  5. You are definitely now a fully fledged blogger: once everything that happens in your life becomes blog fodder, that's it, I'm afraid.

    Am off now to write a post about a conversation I just had with the taxman... Oh, the excitement...

  6. Consider yourself TAGGED ... come on over to my place ...

  7. Facebook is an energy and time-sapping mosnter, but I do like it.

    Your former friend is probably just jealous of the fact you are a published author and cannot face the competition.

  8. Oh well, good riddance, I say! How dare he!
    I find that everywhere I go & everything I hear is a possible new post! No one is safe!

  9. Ah, Facebook, that virtual pick-up bar. I also have an account and find it to be a colossal waste of time. I never go there any more and even though I'm sorta sad -- with only about a dozen 'Friends' -- I, too, have been snubbed. Maybe it's because I can't pass up the opportunity to fill in the 'How do you know this person' box with things like, "we did time together," or "we were in the same methadone program," or "She was pole-dancing in a bar in Birmingham and I was really impressed with her tattoos."

  10. I'd never UNfriend you Expatmum, that's for sure!! :)

  11. Hi gang. Sorry, I wasn't being aloof, I was prepping for an interview about The Other Boleyn Girl, which turned out to be a 7 minute segment with 3 minuites of clips. Never mind, better safe than sorry.
    Bella - I am currently working on the reverse book, for Brits coming over here, but even if it went into editing tomorrow, probably wouldn't see the light of day till 2009 or 2010. Just post any questions here and we'll help you.
    GBS - thanks for the tag. It is provoking much thought and will be dealt with in the next post.

  12. I have been banned from joining Facebook by my girls but I'm happy to go along with the ban for being even more sucked into diversions from writing!

  13. Facebook has been an interesting process for me but I really don't see the point - my son was mortified and frankly the possibility of being poked by my own son was awful - then I found I only had about 6 friends (3 cousins and 3 old au pairs) and then others started sending me aquariums and gold coins and other useless paraphernalia that I didn't know what to do with AND in addition I've had a couple of really unattractive blokes ask me if I want to be their friend! NO thanks. No how you feel,,, a bloke from school found me on facebook, but clearly only wanted to get the email address of my best friend at school - nothing ever changes....
    I've tagged you, but see GBS has already done it - sorry...x

  14. And it did make a good post! I am in awe that you could understand 80% of teen-speak. I reckon I could do about 5%.

    Although, in my own defence, I don't try that hard!

  15. My husband joined Facebook a few months ago and "accidentally" sent one of those begging-to-be-my-friend messages just like you did.

    He quickly closed the account.




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