Sunday, 27 November 2011

Tragic Facebook Friendship Scenario

‘Scuse me whilst I chat to my imaginary friend – you.

I’m a sad bastard an' no mistake, as I said to one of my Facebook ‘friends’ a few hours ago. My notifications have hit an all-time low. I get no messages. And whatever I post gets little attention. Christ! – am I that unpopular? Probably. I’ve got just over 100 ‘friends’ and that sounds like a lot to me, but then, I’m imagining it’s 1991 and friends are people I meet in bars and clubs. I don’t even have many of those.

I have friends on FB who have hundreds of friends. What does that mean? That they’re constantly engaging with hundreds of people every day? No, of course not. It means that FB is a livelier experience for them, I suppose.

I have FB friends who engage with me more than some that I’ve actually met. This can only mean one thing: that having met me they like (or ‘like’) me less. I am a sad bastard. I must be unlikable. Tragic, isn’t it?

I have FB friends who don’t use FB much, because they have lives, presumably; the kind that entail going out, and being with the family. I should get out more. It’s a wide world out there, waiting to be explored. So I hear. I went out yesterday, to buy a ‘paper.

I grow old, I grow old...I shall wear my trousers rolled...and step straight into slippers without properly ensuring that my heel is covered, shuffling ‘round the bunker in a dressing gown like an old fart, mumbling to myself, quoting Burroughs (and T.S. Eliot, if you like). And when not wearing slippers, looking at them with their flattened back, which symbolises a form of laziness and reminds me that my father did the same. So I’m turning into him. We all know that we turn into a variation of our parents eventually. He did not read Burroughs, though. Or listen to obscure library music. And so on...

There’s no way ‘round it, you lose friends as you age. Many have moved out of the city. Many have bred (don’t they know there’s a population crisis?). Some simply disappeared, no longer contactable by phone, gone before the rise of the social network. I’d look them up on FB but they’re all called Jones...and Smith, so you can imagine the problem.

It’s not news but I’ll say it anyway, FB does as much to damage the notion of friendship as it does enforce it by fostering an almighty illusion. I’m sure you’re aware of this. FB ‘friends’ represent something, but also nothing more than the willingness of others to have FB ‘friends’. They represent a social mirage which, upon closer inspection, does indeed seem to disappear. It’s no good entering the social network carrying the old baggage of beliefs that friendship is a valid connection between two people. My experience tells me otherwise. But as I said, I’m a sad bastard and that’s my problem.

Now, unlike my status in the world of social networking, the bread I’m making is on the rise. So I’ll say farewell.


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