Facebook, eh? What’s that all about? I decided to find out…
I have resisted the idea of signing up for Facebook for years. “What? You’re not on Facebook?” folks would say. “How come? You some kind of weirdo?”
Well, self-evidently it’s not that I’m technophobic. I love what my computers enable me to do. Nor is it a distrust of having a web presence; I’ve built and run my own website for years, write this blog and have happily put my music up on Bandcamp and Soundcloud.
I am not trying to prevent my personal details escaping into the wild. That ship sailed sixty-two years ago when I was born into the shiny new Welfare State with a National Health number and added to that a National Insurance number, a bank account, driver’s license etc, etc, as the years passed.
My reasons for not Facebooking were several. Firstly, I am a bit of a control freak. I can keep the content and appearance of my website just exactly the way I want it. Secondly, I was pretty sure I didn’t need to know what a friend of a friend had had for breakfast. Thirdly, I am pathologically anti-social. Fourthly, I am averse to trends and fashion. If I sense that something has become what everyone is doing / wearing / listening to / watching / whatever, I’ll dig in my heels and go the other way. There’s an element of paranoia in this, of not wanting to be manipulated. “Ashamed of your mobile phone?” Remember that one? Me: “Certainly not! Anyway, I don’t have one. Well, I do, but you don’t need to know that. And what’s wrong with a twelve year old Nokia 1100?”
Yep, stupid, obstinate, self-obsessed, me. So why have I relented? Well…
Since becoming disabled and partially housebound I have found myself saying or writing, over and over again, “I can’t get out to socialise (let alone play music) with friends anymore, so I have to rely on the world coming to me.” It is lovely when people drop in for an hour or so to shoot the breeze. I began to wonder whether Facebook would help satisfy that need.
I dipped my toe in the water with Twitter. At first I was irritated by the appearance of tweets which were of no interest to me. I couldn’t delete them to tidy up my ‘intray’. It took a while to learn to just let it all scroll past, enjoy the good stuff and let the other stuff to slip away over the horizon. Would FB work like that, I wondered?
It seems like it does. One month in, I’m getting a handle on it, though questions of etiquette bother me. What will the neighbours think? However, a short while after I signed up, the Guardian Weekend ran an edition dedicated to and featuring contributions from the Millennial Generation, ’16 in 2016′. In a survey of the various social media platforms one of these sweet young things advised against Facebook and Twitter because ‘they’re for oldies.’ This made me feel so much better!
Still don’t need a smart phone, though.