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I feel rather sorry for Facebook.  I know that sounds like a foolish thing to say.  It’s just a website after all and it doesn’t have feelings.

But I do feel sorry for it, because at some point in our lives it has done something for us and yet still we hate it.  Or ‘say’ we hate it, which is worse.  Bitching about it behind its back.  The geek that did your homework whose braces you laughed at (which incidentally I didn’t because I was a geek and always did my homework, plus I actually wore braces).

‘I hate Facebook,’ we cry, ‘I never check it, never.  I’m far too busy and to be honest, do I really care what everyone else is up to?’  Yes.  Or you’d be a very boring self-centred individual.

I’m not excluding myself in this.  I too am Judas – or Fudas, the Facebook denier.  I often say how much I hate it and generally speaking, I normally mean it.  But I do like it too.  Sometimes.  I wouldn’t say I ‘loved it’ though or anything…

So I’d just like to state plainly: ‘I don’t mind Facebook’ before I now go on to say what I hate most about it (and then use it, of course, to promote this site and my trivial drivel that you are so charitably reading).

What I ‘dislike’ [yes, that comment option hitherto unavailable] is not that people clog up my newsfeed with sometimes irrelevant status updates or take a go-zillion photos of themselves then tag them all.  No, what I dislike is being caught out.  And we ALL know what I mean by that.

‘Hello very good-looking boy who I stalk regularly and am now chatting to at a party.  I want to engage you in conversation that isn’t small talk [see a previous TP article] and so I’m going to ask you something personal.  What the hell should I say? Eureka!  Tell me,’ you prattle quickly without really thinking about it, ‘HOW was Timbuktu?’

How do YOU know I went to Timbuktu?

Ah.  The realisation.  You know.  They know.  And you know they know.  You now have precisely 2 seconds (maybe less) to work out how you’re going to get over/away from the fact you’ve outed yourself a) as a user of Facebook and b) as a stalker on Facebook.  It’s a hideous situation and in some cases, you’d probably far rather you’d farted.

Say you don’t go red and somehow manage to keep your wits about you, you have to think quickly.  Was there anyone else you knew who accompanied this GOD to Timbuktu?  No.  Anyone else you might have spoken to who could have told you?  No.  Because the sad fact is you’re not really friends with him, or his mates, and that’s why you stalk him on Facebook.

I wish I knew the answer.  ‘Well, I saw some pictures on…’ NO.  What are you doing to yourself?  Shove your face in that carpet and suffocate. 

I normally end up going for ‘What? Err, I dunno, but anyway how was it…?’

The conversation continues and they tell you some anecdote or other.  But you’re not listening.   Because you’re mortified.  Next step, finding ‘the cool’ and taking it back.  ‘Great, great,’ you say like you’re suddenly bored, ‘good for you! [a little patronising sentence here is always good] Anyway, I’m off over there to chat about far more interesting things than you and your stupid holiday.  SEE YA!’

There’s just no recovery, really.  You’ve pretty much had it.

Of course there are other things I don’t like about Facebook.  The ‘jealous factor’ though isn’t one of them.  Put asides the fact I don’t have one, I’d never worry about a boyfriend being ‘tagged’ with their face half-engorged within the sweaty cleavage of a stranger.  There is nothing on our Profiles we don’t want others to see.  In all likelihood it’s a message to you, the girlfriend, one that doesn’t say ‘I’m cheating,’ more ‘I’m so wasted I’ve not noticed these aren’t in fact boobs, but another man’s balls’.

So no, I don’t worry about that.  I do however worry about spelling mistakes in comments I make and generally looking stupid.  But I worry about that anyway – with work, these articles, and in my daily life – so it’s not really specific to Facebook. 

No, I very much think being caught out stalking is the social equivalent of being arrested for actual stalking.

Only unlike the latter, there’s no trial.  You are found instantly guilty. 

And this is why to the very next person we meet at the party, we often find ourselves rather pointedly snarling: ‘I really do HATE Facebook.’

by Beenie Langley