The Facebook Sonnet
Welome to the endless high-school
And lovers, however kind or cruel.
Let’s undervalue and unmend
The present. Why can’t we pretend
Every stage of life is the same?
Let’s exhume, resume, and extend
Childhood. Lets all play the games
That occupy the young. Let fame
And shame intertwine. Let one’s search
For God become public domain.
Let church.com become our church.
Let’s sign up sign in, and confess
Here at the alter of loneliness.
Words to ponder on. I decided to post the poem above onto my facebook profile and to see if anybody amongst my 107 ‘friends’ on there would comment. Nothing! This was a bit disappointing because I think that Sherman Alexie has a point. While Facebook does give you a connection with people you are sorry you don’t have contact with in any other way anymore, and whom you miss. Facebook also connects you with a bunch of people you don’t ever need to be connected to anymore. People you might be delighted to be connected to, but by the same token might feel duty bound to accept a ‘friend invitation’ from if they send you one, not accepting implies that you don’t wish to be friends with them, this by implication makes you mean. Facebook is fraught!
What do you do about the friends who post constantly, inane trivia that does your head in, more than once a day sometimes. What about the ones who send constant links to things that really don’t interest you, do you make it so that you can’t see their posts, will they know? Maybe I am this person to some of my friends. Do I post too often? Do I put on too many links? Am I talking about my inane ridiculous life? Who knows?
- As for the reconnection with school friends and friends from previous times in your life. This can range from the, frankly disturbing – how could I have been friends with this person, surely they weren’t like this when I knew them? Who has changed me or them?
- To the this person is too cool for me, I’m not the funky hip person this person thinks I am.
- To the I’m only friends with this person because they are a newby on here and dear god if they send me another update on the Farmville or Zuma they are playing incessantly I will reach down the interweb cable and throttle the very life out of their mouse finger with that cable!
- To the deeply christian churchy types who tell me how awesome their church services are – why did I click the confirm friendship button I knew this particular relationship wouldn’t work out. Why the hell did they want to me my friend anyway?
- To those poor souls who search for meaning, happiness, and a purpose to life – you are just too lost for me. I am too intolerant to be your friend, well I’ll be your friend but I don’t want to see your posts. Actually you don’t like me anyway and don’t want to spend time with me, so why are we pretending to be friends on Facebook?
The last point is actually key, it is possible to be friends with all manner of annoying and irritating past friends etc if you can’t see what they are doing. Block the buggers! I work on the principle that if they have something I need to know (I use the term need loosely here obviously) they will message me.
So, just like a high school reunion, people who knew an early version of you, feel like they still know you, and feel the need to catch up even though you have all moved on, and who don’t have anything in common with you any more, except memories of the previous you, want to rekindle something and befriend you in a Facebook kind of way. Not in any kind of deeply connected real friend kind of way.
Facebook friendship is not the same as real life friendship. It is a virtual friendship. These are not the people you can pop round and have a coffee with at their houses, or go for a drink with on a Friday night. These are not the people that you get together with at the drop of a hat. These are a bunch of people, some of your nearest and dearest, and some who you will never see again but with whom you once had a connection. These are the people that in the old days you would have been sending Christmas cards to and receiving them from. Really once a year was enough!
So, go on, send me a friendship invite on Facebook. If you know me well enough to go to coffee with me, if we have connections professionally and are actual friends. If I would go for coffee with you. We could be friends! Or not!