Facebook was going to be the answer, my great new hope of communication.
Global village? Yeah! Collaborative communities? Bring it on! A MySpace for ‘people like me’? Where do I sign?
Turned on, tuned it, found a heap of fabulous friends doing fabulous things in London-town and suddenly it was like I’d never left ol’ Blightly. This is the way, thought I, to stay in touch. Begone, thou foul ’round robin’ newsletter. Begone, thou late night, pricey phone calls across crackling time zones. Even Skype means you’ve both got to be there in real time, and when real time is 12 hrs different, it’s only really real for the one who’s awake.
But then…but then…
The advertisements splattering my profile screen. The frenetic competition to gather friends (psychoanalysis on a postcard, please) and make it into double figures. The daily postings of people with more time to fritter online than me. And the non-stop invites to add a ‘Superwall’, take part in a movie quix or catch a hot potato. Lots of unsolicited spam in the inbox.
Somewhere in the middle of this mess are my friends. I just wanted to catch up a bit more than I do now, but I’ve decided that I’m big enough to manage my friendships without an online intermediary. Yes, it’s nice to see the photos, so let’s use Flickr. Yes, it’s good to see what we’ve all been up to. But how much minutiae can we all take of each other’s daily grind? It’s been interesting to note groups springing up that are anti-Facebook applications, little Davids battling the behemoth from the inside (The ‘No I will not invite 20 of my frineds so I can add your application’ group has over 94,000 members).
And the guilt, oh the guilt. I can’t find the time to manage my Facebook stuff so I feel just as bad as when I didn’t send emails.
Any yet…and yet…
I’ll just let it sit. Occasionally pop in. Just to keep in touch. I wouldn’t want to miss anything, would I? Walking away is like saying you don’t want to see your friends (there’s a Phd in online psychologies here, surely?)
Just don’t challenge me to Scrabulous unless you like a loooooooong game.