The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Imaginary Friends

Facebook is fun, but I’m not sure what the point is. Okay, so you can chat with your friends, share baby photos, organize get-togethers, look up school pals... but I’m sure pretty you could do that before Facebook. And you can play scrabble, chart the progress of an influenza virus through your friends’ status updates...

Regarding friends. I’ve about 200, but I’ve limited it to people I’ve met in real life, or have known ‘virtually’ for a while. I don’t quite understand why people who don’t know me want to be my friend; I’m guessing it’s some new form of sarcasm that I haven’t yet grasped.

And gradually you discover more about each other, which I suppose is a good thing, though it can lead to tongue-tied pub conversations because everyone already knows everyone’s news. And I was a bit disconcerted when an acquaintance joined one of those ‘The killers of Baby P must die!’ groups. In fact, the whole process of joining a group to express sympathy or indignation seems such sanctimonious nonsense. Going on a march may be futile, but at least it gets you out into the fresh air. (I used to go on marches, which is how I know what worthless exercises in conscience-salving they are.)

But for those of us who suffer from social paranoia, it kind of doesn’t help. When someone ‘unfriends’ you, you can’t help wondering why, what did I do? I didn’t join ‘the killers of Baby P must die!’, so why don’t you love me any more?

And there’s the whole business of ‘blocking’. Where, to pluck an example randomly from the air, someone can block an ex to avoid ever seeing their ugly mug again. Oh well, fair enough. I do have an ugly mug after all.

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