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Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Facebook - Friend or Foe?

As my previous post was about Twitter, I thought this time I'd turn my attention to Facebook. This was also partly inspired by a conversation I had on Twitter - someone mentioned that they didn't really want to do Facebook but that some of their friends were on it, and refused to communicate in any other way. Therefore he was forced to have an account in order to keep in touch with those people.

Now, is it just me, or does that sound like bullying? Someone who doesn't want to do a particular thing is being forced to because of the actions of others.

I can completely understand the situation and have a similar one. However, I refuse to join. In consequence I do miss out on knowing certain things and that's something I have to accept. But I wasn't interested in joining up when Facebook was all the rage a few years ago, and I have even less inclination to now. The security issues they've had worry me. The decisions they make at times worry me - notably the most recent one about the beheading videos being posted on their site. For more information on that story, see here

The main thing that irritates me about Facebook, however, is that it's made us lazy. As mentioned above, many people put their 'news' on their page and expect others to read it. It doesn't matter whether you are close family or a 'friend' - a term which seems to have very tenuous connections at times. You all get the same news. There's nothing personal for those who are closest, and that just seems  a bit off kilter to me.

Surely the way you tell a loved one something is different from the way you tell someone you've never even met, who's a friend of a friend of a friend. Don't the people who you really spend time with, or you are emotionally close to, deserve a little more attention and consideration, rather than having to go wading through comments from people they don't know in order to try and ferret out a bit of news that could have been put on an email in moments?

Now, this is all about the personal pages of Facebook. For businesses, I can see the purpose. It's a good way to keep people up to date with news and events, if you know that many of them already have FB accounts. It encourages them to interact in a way that they might not if that news was solely confined to a blog, for example. In fact, I'd be interested to hear from anyone who did have reservations about setting up a page but has done so anyway - has it been worth it?

In the meantime, a little request. Please remember that just because people aren't on Facebook doesn't mean that we don't want to hear your news, or see the funny photo you took at the weekend. We just need to be told in a different way.


  1. Two main points you covered there,
    1) I agree it's not the most personal way to reach out to people, however a lot of my friends are abroad and change email addresses suprisingly often so it is a good way to be sure to stay in touch. I also use FB to follow bands, everyone from Duran Duran to Black Sabbath, organisations like the National Trust, local charities, businesses and the Money Saving Expert.
    2) It is the way of the world that everything is run by huge conglomerates that have a very different agenda to the man in the street, Blogger for example is part of Google who don't pay much tax in the UK, as is the Android system, the best alternative to the iPhone monopoly. It's very hard to know who makes your food and clothing and you would be amazed at the seemingly innocuous products that are part of tobacco companies' portfolios.

    1. I can see your point, and am not entirely against the principle (and re the NT, bands, etc, would class these as 'business' pages). What annoys me is the 'all or nothing' some people have taken with it. That if you don't have an account, you are not important enough to them to bother contacting in any other way. Whether that is an intentional situation or not remains with the person involved.

      The world is indeed in the grip of conglomerates for the most part - but whether we choose to take part in any/all/some is still our decision.

      And as for those who don't pay UK tax, had this blog been created before all the news broke about Google, etc, I would have looked for a different option! ;)

  2. Hear the news - yes we can use the phone for that, but photos? Print them off and stick them in an envelope? We can do that too, but we seldom did even before FB. at least no I get to see where my son took his kids at the weekend, usually that night, and can talk to them on skype too. Modern technology is a useful tool - including FB with all its faults - just use the useful bits and ignore the rest like I do.

    1. I definitely agree they can be useful tools, and used Skype a lot to keep in touch with our parents when we were abroad for a couple of years. My bugbear is when people refuse to 'communicate' any other way than FB.

  3. I think if someone is so determined to avoid all other forms of communication then they have some sort of screw loose. They will be in trouble the day Facebook collapses or gets infected by some sort of digital attack and no longer functions. If people can not face using alternatives I would wonder if they are sane enough to be a friend.


I love to hear your feedback, thoughts and ideas but please be kind and play nice so that it's enjoyable for everyone. Thank you :)