Hauling Like A Brooligan

Stephen Gallagher

Social Notworking

Teenagers are turning their backs on Facebook, apparently, and deserting it in droves. Well, let me tell you young kids, I was way ahead of you.

There’s an account out there with my name on it, but it’s one that I very rarely check. You can spot it easily. It’s the one with the profile picture of a hunting dog being rogered by a racoon.

All right, so I didn’t enter into the whole Facebook thing too seriously. But what started as a handy way to share pictures on the move almost immediately began to run out of control. With as few as half a dozen friend connections, here was a thing that already demanded feeding, monitoring, and constant maintenance.

I saw what was coming. To quote the great Patsy Ann Noble, he who rides a tiger can never dismount. So I hopped off this particular beast before it could properly get going.

I won’t say Facebook is entirely without its uses. When someone owes you money and is pleading dire financial straits, it’s instructive to go online in lurker mode and see them brag about the new piece of kit to which they’re in the process of treating themselves.

Then there’s LinkedIn. I signed up to that one with no certain idea of what it was for. But with so many people with whom I’d worked already on there, I was persuaded that I’d surely find out.

I still haven’t. The only activity seems to come from rapacious get-rich-quick types selling empty schemes and fist-pumping seminars, and people trying to break into the professional circles of complete strangers.

So if you’ve recently sent me a friend or connection request and I haven’t replied, it’s not because I want to ignore or insult you. I’m just not around.

Unless you owe me money. In which case I’m there in the shadows, watching you like a hawk.

One response to “Social Notworking”

  1. I wonder if the various government agencies with a remit to keep tabs on the monetary status of the population – such as tax and benefits people – will also find such aspects appealing.

    In any case I have to agree with one of the sentiments expressed in the recent series of Fresh Meat: someone referred to 'completing' Facebook, as one would a level of a game. Once completed, and old acquaintances are (probably) briefly re-ignited, there are usually only problematic aspects remaining, such as the possibility of being unwittingly tagged as being part of a drinking session, and the prospect of unwelcome overlapping as one aspect of your life makes 'friends' with another.

    I've heard theories that Facebook wasn't simply a service which the NSA found useful; rather, it was a service which the NSA engendered and ensured that venture capital and other resources were there to ensure its spread. Just a theory, of course.