Facebook and I, midway in the journey

Facebook is one of those experiences that will come to define a certain social phenomena in the world that caused a change in the way people think. Facebooks ending will be very hard on many people. At first I thought it might be dangerous. Now I think, ‘no more dangerous than life.’
Shortly after joining I saw there were goals to be attained. If you added more than 5000 friends, you were not allowed anymore. If you have something to publicize, like a new book, starting a magazine, this would be the place to make a modest announcement to your 5000. Many are already doing so, not so subtly.
I decided to go for it and began blindly adding. Which means FB sends regular messages on your homepage with pictures of people, saying, ‘add as friend.’ The more friends you have, the more suggested friends they bring up.
But if you add too fast or too often it sends a sternly written message in large black type: ‘YOU ARE ENGAGING IN ANNOYING BEHAVIOUR! iF YOU PERSIST… and then various warnings. I haven’t written all the message out yet, though yesterday they warned me three times. Tempting on one hand – Taking away on the other.
At first I felt like a horrible person for getting such a warning – it was liked being shushed in the library. But FB was the one wanting me to add. Finally I decided that they were afraid FB would be used for publicity purposes and were trying to stop it, the only way they knew how. So I felt a little sorry for them.
Probably most people don’t have 5000 friends so they thought that a safe number, never thinking that addicts to popular culture like me would take their top number as a challenge. So I went on adding blindly till I am nearly up to 2500, mid-point. Some of them are people I know, love, trust and am delighted to be able to contact. Others are complete strangers, strange being the operative term here.
My goodness, what some of my new ‘friends’ are up to! Delete, delete, delete. For awhile I added everybody of the same name. All the John Smiths, for example, envisioning them as my marching armies who might all congregate in one place and get to know one another. It was obvious that most of them had never thought there was anyone else out there with the same name.
Some of them occasionally write back and asked why I’m friending them and how they know me? I told many of the early ones that it was a social experiment about which I was writing. Later I said that a friend of theirs suggested that I add you. Some of the writers had only 5 or 6 friends and evidently liked it that way.
There were some bloopers on the way. One man whose full name contained the word ‘golf’ and to whom I’d written about loving the game said that in his language, it was just a common name. He seemed indignant and I felt stupid but at least I’d perused his FB page, unlike so many early ones whom I had NOT checked out and proved to be up to all sorts.
How can i say I added without checking first? Now I look at that list of a couple thousand and see that someone in the world knows I have added a pornographer, several felons, way too many men disguised as women, probably some RCMP officers who are trolling (as they should be, thank heavens) and lots and lots of persons I know nothing about. How did the others with 5000 friends, do it but like this?
It is hard on the adders of friends to be constantly checking, chewing their fingernails, wondering if this one or that one will appear on an America’s Most Wanted site with you displayed prominently as one of their few friends. Could you say your connection was you as a social worker and them as the perp? Would anyone believe you? Is that a better interpretation than that you were adding yur 5000 to see how hard it was and what it might mean – a social experiment?
More about how this is going as I go. Stay tuned.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *