Anyone want to cross?

“It’s great for keeping in touch!” “We can share our photos.”

Yes, that’s true. For youngsters who have been friends at school or University and are suddenly scattered across the globe, which is true. It’s nice to keep up when you don’t know if or when you will next meet, and be able to track each others career moves and marriages.

But for the older generation, who have gone without “keeping up” in such intimate detail for years, does it deprive? There used to be the occasional excited phone call – “My son’s getting married!” or “It’s out silver wedding Anniversary – can you come?”

Facebook stopped all that.


Facebook, from what I have been hearing, can now actually prevent normal social interaction. Friends who meet at the weekends have nothing to say to each other. They have read it all on each other’s Facebook, and seen all the pictures. I watch in amazement at the long silences brought about by too much information. The concept and meaning of “Friends” is changing – the word may have to be redefined in the Dictionary: the same goes for “follower” on Twitter. Nobody seems to be aware of it.  Or, perhaps, that the concept of “news” is meeting the same fate.

Can we think about that for a minute?

Julian Jaynes notes: “Word changes are concept changes and concept changes are behavioural changes. The entire history of religions and of politics and even of science stands shrill witness to that.”  (The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind – p 292)

So this is something to consider as you update your page. You are not behaving as you would do normally. Did you always go and visit your friends with a handful of pictures? Would they not have feigned interest while groaning inwardly? However, by putting them on your page, you can avoid their reaction and be totally self indulgent.

How many people no longer pick up the phone to their best friend to share the news and hear the congratulations when the next generation is born? They don’t need to: it’s on Facebook. So, realistically it is quite possible for your best (real) friend to be the last to know in the WORLD, depending how much they like or enjoy your preferred form of Social Media. Virtual “friends” take precedence – despite the fact that they know only what you choose to reveal. Present yourself in the best light: warts and all are no longer relevant.  It is quite possible to believe your own propaganda.

 In Facebook, everything is open to view. When nothing is private, it holds no great interest. Flotsam and jetsam are happily scattered over countless thousand of pages, with the occasional jewel hidden away. But there is a flaw – you have set these pages up as fun – for yourself . Supposing your would – be employer manages to find them? Would he give you the job, seeing what you like on a Saturday night after the party?

Andy Gold reflects seriously on the effect of technology on students :

“Then there are more serious questions does it affect education? Research seems to indicate that it does, whereas users resist this.Is it possible to listen to a professor lecture, and absorb the material being taught, while at the same time, Googling information about a celebrity, responding to  a Facebook wall postings, reading tweets, and texting friends? Perhaps it is, but the evidence suggests otherwise.  In response to this new culture of students, educators have, in many ways been forced to become entertainers of sorts, providing more simulative teaching methods to compete with the distracted mindset of many of today’s students. “

(Andy Gold,  “Are We Cheating Ourselves”27th June 2011) http://lnkd.in/djzWAP

 From my recent experience in classrooms, I can testify to this. The Iphone and the Blackberry are around for the bits of the lecture where you are no longer interested. You don’t require to think – you can be amused. Your plaything is at your fingertips. And there is no lecturer who dares to challenge this behaviour. Anyone with children knows how quickly they pick up the texting bug. I heard recently of a father asking his two young sons (of six and eight), who they were texting at the supper table. They were texting each other, was the answer. Asked why they didn’t just talk to each other, the father was told:

“Talking is old fashioned.”

The next ten years will inform us……..what have we done?

© Linda Jane McLean


One thought on “FACEBOOK FRIENDS

  1. I think there’s some truth in what you say. It would be interesting to see a correlation of age and no. of FB friends. I think more mature 🙂 people like me are (a) a bit wary of it and (b) use it only for friends in the sense that you and I probably grew up with. Combine those two and I suspect fewer older folk join FB and have far fewer FB friends than teenagers, some of whom seem to have more than the number of people they’ve probably met in their lives.

    On the other hand I have a (real) friend far away who has pancreatic cancer (as a nurse you’ll know the prognosis for that) and quite movingly and bravely keeps in touch about his progress with his many friends throughout the world. His photos, the music and links he posts despite his situation bring his positive spirit alive in way that e-mails never could and would be impractical through snail mail.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s