Facebook

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Not to be confused with Bacefook.

A recent study showed that online "friendship" website use has become socially partitioned between the young, the poor and the miniorities on Myspace and the older, the richer and the majorities on Facebook. Just so Friki isn't seen to be only dismissing half of the problem, it is time for Friki to turn it's attention to Facebook.

Contents

Overview

In many ways, Facebook is a more laid back version of MySpace. It is the traditional Windows Messenger-esque "type and send" sort of environment, as opposed to MySpace's nu-MSN Messenger orgy of colours, moving things and general fit-inducing madness. So on the plus side for Facebook, it is at least possible for Friki to look at it. Most MySpace pages make Friki's brain hurt, as a veritable cavalcade of moving gif files, garish wallpapers, random sounds and dodgy pictures of 14 retarded looking drunkards clamouring around a digital camera lens whilst greedily gripping onto their Bacardi Breezers assault your every sense. Facebook has none of that. It is Myspace after it has grown up, got a job in an insurance firm and a Ford Focus, started buying beige slacks and begun to take stock of life.

Poking

The preferred method of instigating social contact on Facebook is the "poke" (on Bacefook, this is known as a prod). This name was presumably picked to make it sound a bit flirty and cool, but next time you see someone you fancy at the bar, Friki suggests you walk up to them and start vigorously poking them in the ribs, and see how long it takes the object of your affection to turn around and kick you in the face. Actually, any women reading this will probably find that method of breaking the ice with a man will work, given that as a woman, you could probably walk up to a man and stab him in the leg repeatedly with a biro, and he'd still be happy to see how things go.

So poking on Facebook isn't flirty, it's more a simple method of gaining access to a person's information without having to admit that you socialise with them, rather like nosily working your way through the entire of a Fopp store trying to dig out the odd hidden gem.

Uses of Facebook

Friki recently ventured onto Facebook. Partly out of curiosity, and partly because Friki's entire social group seemed to be descending into a situation where every pub gathering was being solely organised through it. Anyone remember text messages? Or e-mail? Or remember when we used to call each other?

Friends

While Myspace is used as a desperate attempt for society's outcasts or wannabe fringe groups to garner some sort of rudimentary identity, Facebook is largely used for middle class posturing. In a similar manner that people will come to judge how successful you are by how many, and crucially, what kind of, people attend your future suburban dinner parties, Facebook users are judged on the quantity, and calibre, of friend they attract. Friki was aware that it didn't have many friends before it started this whole venture, largely due to Friki's overwhelming displays of sarcastic detachment such as this page, so all Facebook has thusfar done for Friki is proved this point. Friki wishes it was middle class.

Groups

If you're struggling for friends on Facebook, like Friki, join some groups. These usually have quasi-ironic names like "The Rod Hull Fan Club" or "We All Fucking Love Milk!" or "Society for the Obdurate Shagging of Goats!" and are full of other people who similarly wish to garner more friends. The more groups you become a member of, the more you prove your diverse personality. If you want to set up your own group, simply pick an item of 1980's pop culture that has managed to garner an internet-based post-modern retro-cool following (e.g. Thundercats, Noel Edmonds, the Falklands War) and flood cyberspace with invites.

Events

Going to the pub? Now you can let everyone know you're going! A flawed method of organising nights out, due to the fact that people tend to agree and then not turn up, or people can see exactly how few friends you have available to you. At least when organising something by text, you could pretend you were inviting half of north London. Now you are once again reminded of the limited social sphere you inhabit.

Photos

Many people upload masses of photos to Facebook in a similar way to MySpace, but with one crucial difference. Rather than the pervading narcissistic "here's me taking a photo of myself in a mirror!" theme of MySpace, they tend to be photos of other people, usually taken when they were the wrong side of eight pints of Carling and looking like they have special needs.

Friki doesn't take photos, for some reason. Possibly because it finds photography to be a fundamentally flawed attempt to grasp hold of past events in some idealistic manner, when everyone looks happy and contented, rather than all brimming with malice and running out of stuff to say to each other, as actual memories of the night would doubtless show, possibly because it can't be arsed to buy a camera. Either way, all Friki has received since joining Facebook is approximatly 366,924 e-mails announcing that Friki had been "tagged" in a photo. Said photo is usually of Friki in a spastic-like pose of some sort, making Friki sad that it allowed itself to get into such a state.

The genius of not owning a camera is that no memories of sordid drunken nights remain. With Facebook, chances are someone will be tirelessly documenting every action of the night on their camera phone for the purpose of publishing to the world later on. Gomers. Friki's beginning to understand how sloshed-up celebs feel when they find a bunch of paperazzi shots have been published in Cosmo of them lying face down in a gutter outside a club with their arse in the air and no knickers protecting the undercarriage. Society appears to be heading towards a point where ordinary people will have to start writing up waivers forbidding people from photographing them in the pub, or worse still, stop getting drunk for fear of looking bad in the Facebook "press" the following day.

Gifts

Facebook allows you to pay to send a "gift" to another Facebooker. Not an actual gift, obviously, as this would make too much sense. A "virtual gift", which is subtle Facebook slang for "nothing". Facebook is skimming a very nice profit indeed from this industry of people buying lots of nothing for other people. Although a lack of a free market means that it is difficult to tell whether current nothing prices are really offering you value for your nothing.

Just to reiterate, people are handing over cash for nothing. Friki would like to set up a "virtual" shop on King's Road, where rich people come in, have a series of transactions placed on their credit card to Friki's account, and in return receive a small picture of a pair of shoes.

People are stupid.

Add Ons

Facebook offers an almost infinite amount of add-ons to adorn your homepages. You can be invited to gain add-ons by people, and Friki is confronted by a series of these invites every time it logs in. There's a zombie one, a Jack Bauer one and lots of others. These invites sit there without reply on Friki's page, because there is an "accept" button, but no "stop sending me these annoying things, you feckless cretin" button. Another oversight in Facebook's set-up, sadly.

Your Status

A small line you can edit to describe your current mood/activity. So, for example, if you're watching some TV, you can type in "watching TV" and everyone can see that you are "watching TV". This is, apparently, very important. To be accurate, everyone's status whilst on Facebook should default to "concerned that my brain appears to have liquefied in the face of all this unspeakable banality and is now dribbling out of my ears like an overspill in a smoothie factory".

Profile

Your profile is designed to inform all your new friends about yourself. You can list your employment, your interests, your relationship status, your shoe size, recent STDs you've been treated for and a litany of other intrusive information simply begging to be used to commit some fairly serious identity theft. You can also change this constantly, should you decide you suddenly don't like a certain type of music or something.

With far too many "friends" who weren't actually friends at all adding Friki, it decided that a lot of the original personal information it had stupidly decided to make available online needed removing. It simply wasn't comfortable with these fakers knowing any more than was strictly necessary about it. There is a major problem with that as well, though, as Facebook leaves massive announcements everywhere saying exactly what you changed and when. It's like a comedy sketch where someone goes along to the supermarket to try and discreetly buy some thrush cream only to have the checkout attendant noisily ask for a price check over the tannoy. Facebook simply assumes that you believe everyone is so interested with every single little thing you do that you want it to send out these tannoy announcements. There is probably some way of turning them off in the carefully hidden branch of "account settings", but it speaks volumes for Facebook's assumed clientele that the default setting is "TELL EVERYONE EVERYTHING THAT I DO NO MATTER HOW BRAIN-SHRINKINGLY BORING IT MIGHT BE".

Friki Verdict

Redundant. Friendship will exist solely online by the year 2015, so you don't really have any choice other than to sign up, really.

Links

  • Crackbook - Funny because it is painfully true.
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