If I had to pick one question that sums up the past six years of society on Planet Earth, this would be it. I am asked it on a weekly basis by various people, sometimes by the same people who asked me the same question the previous month!
In fact, I’m not actually sure how I should take this repeated questioning? Is it out of pure fucking amazement that I’m one of the few remaining who does not have a Facebook account, or is it more a spiteful sarcasm that sails clearly over my head? Who knows… who gives a shit?
Facebook – the mind controlling, all-seeing, all-knowing, self-inflicted lifestyle choice that George Orwell didn’t get around to explaining. CCTV and Big Brother, Room 101 and the Ministry of Truth… all this stuff is puppy-dog tails and Julie Andrews singing on top of a big mountain when compared to the hypnotic gait and consuming addiction Facebook has to offer.
I don’t like it. All these people updating every fucking second of their life to an audience of people who they last saw in infant school. Or even worse, updating every second of their life in order to inform the same people these clueless shit-wits work with eight hours a day – and the family and friends they see for the rest of the time. Why bother?
Ok, ok I know what you’re thinking – this is all a bit rich coming from a man who runs a website, writes for a dozen more, and forces his twaddle down your throat. While I may not like the association, it’s a fair point to make. My only saving grace is that I don’t fucking care what you think. You need to go searching for my crap, and even if you stumble upon it, you have a choice to ignore it… furthermore, judging by the number of hits I get each month, there seems to be plenty of disturbed individuals with clearly nothing better to do than trawl though this rhubarb – so stick that in your friends list and smoke it!
What’s your Facebook status? What’s the point? I can’t be the only one who finds little messages telling everyone how happy they are in love, or how they just managed to buy a really expensive dress, or how they got Rohypnoled (again) last night, completely banal and the folly of teenage girls with too much free time on their hands… am I?
JIM99 is really looking forward to a party this weekend, and FatDud was so pleased to see KathyWoodenSpoon in the pub last night, and Paulfuckingboredwiththisshit is about to buy a machete.
Do I have a Facebook account? Yes, I do. A few years ago, and under the cover of darkness, I stealthily opened an account. I told no one of this seeming reversal of attitude and duly entered all my details like a snuffling, two-faced, little troll boy.
Names of schools attended, names of jobs sacked from, names of pets owned, names of school pets that got jobs, names of jobs that got pets then went to school, I entered the lot. I didn’t want too, but it was all in the name of science and proving my own twisted little point.
Two weeks later, I received a telephone call from my younger sister. In between bouts of family shit and other things, she uttered, “You’re finally on Facebook then?” Whilst my sister is capable of many things, I have no reason to believe she is a witch – how did she know I was on there? It took two weeks, for fucks sake!
I was going to leave it for a month, but this prompted me to take a look at the account earlier than I had anticipated. Sure enough, there was my sister asking to be my friend (the fact she has been my sister for forty-two years is by the by and fucking worthless in the world of Facebook!), and she wasn’t the only one on there.
I had a friend request from a girl I last saw over thirty-five years ago. How in the name of God’s glorious piss did she find me? Has everyone turned into part-time psychic detectives, who constantly search for everyone they have ever known, so they can write on their wall about how fucking happy they are that Sharon Awful has got through to boot camp on X-Factor?
There were others on there, two of which I knew, the others I had absolutely no recollection of. It’s fair to say that many years of smoking copious amounts of weed has held my memory back a little, but I haven’t quite given up the ghost yet. I had no idea who these people were. I find this particularly creepy and one of the reasons why I can’t get on with this Facebook cult.
Two people who I don’t know, and who may or may not know me, requesting they be my friends – if these fuckers really knew me (and how prickly and snarky I usually am), then I wouldn’t get the friend request in the first place, would I?
And now to pull the pin and clear the room of all these fevered egos – I’ll argue with anyone who fails to accept their real need for Facebook – to nose around other people’s lives, to check that someone isn’t doing better than you, and to collect as many people on your Friends List as possible as a means of looking popular and relevant. Seriously, if collecting stuff is your thing then buy some fucking Pokémon cards!
Surely in a world plagued with online dating horror stories with sex pests and pedophiles around every corner (according to the Daily Mail), isn’t there something dreadfully wrong with this picture? However, in order to wrap this shit up and by way of an example, I had two people in particular who requested me on Facebook – one of them is my own sister who I already have more than enough contact with thank you, and a girl I once sat next too when I was 7 years old. Talk about opposite sides of the cyber scales!
So, did this little exercise convert me to Facebookism? Have I dumped that ill-informed sniffy opinion towards its millions of users? Not a fucking chance. I’ve still got the same shitty attitude towards both it, and its more desperate users.
In short, Facebook is a place where you are defined, in seconds, by the worst choices you have made and the worst aspects of your character. The ‘piling on’ of communal scrutiny and instantaneous opinion is vile – add to that a squeeze of public shaming and it becomes obscene and monstrous. It’s the realization of a self-appointed lynch-mob, borne from friends and acquaintances you have collected in the name of popularity.
Sometimes a single photo tagged within a page of meaningless and harmless nonsense can result in the worst fucking forms of judgment, aggression, bullying and general disassociation towards the human behind the Facebook account.
Ok, so Facebook may just be the technological progression that is diametrically linked to the pace of our modern culture, the crazy velocity of communiqué, and the strength in our ability to crave, syphon, and reassemble information. However, it’s equally the result of our obsession with titillation, public self-destruction, moral liquidation and a Daily Mail idiot conviction that has become a fucking petri dish for the worst aspects of communal misjudgment – all purveyed and farmed by anyone with a smartphone.
Not for nothing, public humiliation and public shaming was outlawed as a formal, state-sanctioned reprimand during the 19th century. It was banned, and was considered by the law-makers at that time as a cruel and unusual punishment to bestow. My word… look how far we have come.
With all this said, and if I’m being completely honest with you, dear reader, I’m also scared of Facebook. I’ve not been back to the account since this incident; and I’m genuinely worried about who will crawl out of the woodwork next, who might be looking for me, who wants to be my special friend – here’s hoping that guy who touched my front bottom when I was six doesn’t have an account!
Paul Millard 2014