KITCHEN SINK DRAMA
Facebook hates me. It hasn’t yet told me so – in fact, its efforts to make me love it are still ongoing and, in a way, admirably energetic – but there is a tone creeping into its correspondence that suggests a level of exasperation with which I can’t help but be secretly satisfied. I am p***ing off Facebook and I feel fine.
I never intended joining the world’s most something social media network. When everyone else started signing up, I was too busy to take on anything else that might eat into my time. Besides, it occurred to me that the only point of the site was to reunite with people who you didn’t like enough to keep in your life in the first place and to look at strangers’ babies. Back then, I barely had enough time to keep up with the people I did like enough to keep in my life and look at my own babies.
Then that whole trolling thing started and I realised that there were enough ways to insult me on the internet (hello, boards.ie) as it was, without me inviting strangers onto another (yes, I know I am on Twitter, but I joined that nearly six years ago when it was less a shrieking traffic jam and more like a dozen civilised people sitting round the table drinking coffee and making each other laugh). Also, Twitter took no time at all: Facebook, in my limited understanding of it, could have taken me hours by the time I’d got around to liking all these strangers’ hiatus hernias for them.
I’ve written here before about my innate contrariness and its consequent cutting off my nose to spite my face. You might remember how I never crossed the threshold of the Dun- drum Town Centre for its first three years after on some long forgotten point of principle, until I finally realised that the management of that awful, spectacularly successful place couldn’t have given a flying fig whether I ever darkened its doors or not. Well, it wasn’t even like that with Facebook. I knew well there was nobody in Silicon Valley or beyond fretting over my opting out of the world’s biggest whatever.
Oh, but there are now. What happened was this: The Brother moved to Saudi and effectively warned me that if I didn’t join Facebook,
I never intended joining the world’s most something social network. I barely had enough time to look at my own babies
it was unlikely I’d ever hear from him again. So I signed up. Not as myself, obviously – that way lies madness – but under the full name of The Dog. I even put his birthday as my own. And then I friend requested The Brother, he accepted, and since then, I’ve had unfettered access to his endless photos of malnourished cats.
But of course, it didn’t end there. In the days and weeks that followed, Facebook mailed me every day, suggesting people I might know. Most of them, obviously, were people my brother knows. And while they’re perfectly pleasant people, I’m not in the market for a pen pal. So I ignored Facebook. Then they invited me to suggest people myself, people that I might know in my own right. I ignored that too. Then The Brother came home for a few weeks and so I didn’t need to see any more malnourished cats. Well, they really didn’t like that. ‘You haven’t engaged with Facebook for a while,’ they ventured one day. ‘Reconnect with Facebook,’ they then tried. A week ago, they suggested that maybe I have forgotten my password (I have, obviously, but that’s only to be expected).
I have had two friend requests from total strangers who, seeing as how I am an eight year old Labrador ( pretending to be 13), couldn’t possibly know me. I ignored one, but out of sheer curiosity, I had a look at the profile page of the other. It was at that moment, as far as I can tell, that the Facebook equivalent of the Lloyd’s of London bell – tolled solemnly to mark a ship lost at sea – must have sounded in southern California. ‘You’re back!’ they trumpeted breathlessly. ‘Here are another seven million suggestions for people you might like to follow.’ I ignored them. Yesterday, they begged me to follow my own husband. On the basis that I can like his amusing t-shirt by simply walking into the next room, I ignored that as well. Besides, I can’t help thinking that Dionne Warwick had it right when she sang about knowing that I’ll be on your side forever more. Surely that – and not liking pictures of dogs in hats and your cousin’s Christening – is what friends are for.