Considering Facebook

Yes, I admit it; I am a Facebook member and usually I spend an hour or so each day browsing through the latest postings.

I think I have a couple of hundred “friends,” but I don’t even know about half of them. The problem is with my memory; when someone asks to be a friend I more often than not can’t remember whether I know him or her, so I accept for fear of hurting the person’s feelings. That problem is much worse with Turkish people; I am really bad at remembering the names of the many Turkish young people we meet. So, apart from having to browse through all the English posts I also have to flit over an equal number written in the Turkish language.

Nine months ago I started a Facebook “group” that is aimed at trying to prevent the ruination of our village. It now has 2,500 members. It actually isn’t a very active group, but I usually check it every day to delete advertisements. Soon after I had started the group I was scolded by one member for allowing adverts and other spam to stay up so long. I did explain that I don’t spend all day on the computer watching for that sort of thing and anyway “…how do I delete the posts?”

I was given instructions and I am now fairly diligent in my role as administrator. The same bloke who used to scold me also runs his own group and runs it like Stalin; not only does he delete the spam and ban the spammer, but he also posts a message angrily informing all the members of what he has done and why. The result is that his rants actually take up more space on the site than ever the deleted spam did.

(I once tried to stop all spam from my email server but soon learned that a certain amount of spam serves a useful purpose; it lets me know that the mail server is working. When I got absolutely no mail in the morning I would assume that something was wrong. Heck, I now get dozens of junk mails but it only takes seconds to delete them.)

Your breakfast is of no interest, dear!

Facebook. Hardly a day goes by without a photograph of someone’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. Why in heaven’s name do people suppose that anyone else in the world would like to see what they are about to eat? Oh, and drink. A photograph of a glass of rakı! A pint of beer! Hey, do they ever post a photograph of a glass of water, I wonder? Then of course there are the people who post a photograph of themselves about once a week.

Of my friends, there are two ladies who do that and at least six or seven men. The ladies are English, but all of the men are Turkish and they have something else in common, they seem to like, and obviously think that we also like, the “mean and moody” look. Come on lads, give us a smile!

We have one lady friend who must spend hours on the Internet searching for “words of wisdom” to post. I suppose there isn’t any harm in this, unless a particularly nauseous quote is posted too close to a photograph of someone’s curry dinner or similar.

I think it should also be a Facebook rule that the words of wisdom are properly attributed; too often they are presented as if they are the work of the posting member when they obviously are not. And by the way, always distrust words of wisdom that are attributed to a Native American tribal chief; most of them came from Hollywood scriptwriters.

Ban bad poetry please, Mark

Now then, I tend to agree with the majority on the subject of Internet freedom of speech, but I think that Mark Zuckerberg should perhaps pay more attention to all the appalling poetry posted on Facebook. Like the “words of wisdom” posts, they can induce severe nausea, especially those written by young American numbskulls on the subject of their “Brave young men and women,” serving their country in Iraq or Afghanistan — bathos of the worst kind written in the style of McGonagall.

Yes, the poems more often than not manage to rhyme, though often very tortured rhyme, but they invariably lack any rhythmic structure. Said numbskulls still manage to collect tear-stained posts of approval from fellow Americans and more than a few British. Do they still teach poetry in our schools?

And to a more serious subject. Many people post right-wing nonsense spreading ridiculous lies, often on the subjects of immigration or welfare abuse and are often given apparent credence by having been prepared by skilled people with professional computer programs such as Coral Draw. I automatically delete any links to articles from Britain’s Daily Mail.

I once investigated a Daily Mail article because of the outrageous headline “Immigrant father to receive £30,000 to spend on drink and drugs.” I wondered if I had a chance of benefiting from this new UK welfare program. I was disappointed, however; it transpired that during a local council debate one participant had simply stated that the chap “might spend it on drink and drugs.” Perfectly true, of course, but he could also gift it all to the Salvation Army, could he not? That would be of no interest to The Mail of course.

The most annoying posts to me are the blackmailing Facebook posts that attempt to have you “share” them, thus clogging up the net, or have you sign an online petition. Failure to comply will brand you as an uncaring monster. A typical one will ask you to do as said and will close by saying something along the lines of: “If you care about the welfare of these poor people/animals/fish please share this post. I think I know which of my friends have a heart and which do not.”

Oh dear! There goes me, straight to hell.

But, ending on a positive note…

Now some praise for Facebook. I have found and exchanged mail with several old friends from way back. Of course, Facebook is not the only site serving that purpose, but it is a very good one. I have learned that one friend from nearly 55 years ago has been taking holidays not five miles from here for the past 13 years. How many times must we have passed within yards and/or minutes of each other?

I also belong to a group that specializes in posting old photographs of the town in which I grew up, and though I have been unable to contribute much, I have seen so many photographs of immense nostalgia to me including a few showing three or four rows of black and white kids with baggy trousers and fair-isle cardigans sitting and standing in front of Victorian-era black and white school buildings. The stern-looking black-and-white teachers at both ends, once objects of fear and loathing, now just look like comic caricatures. “Chalky” White and “Satchmo” Armstrong.

Now I am going to contradict something I said earlier. I have a legitimate purpose in posting a picture that I will simply caption “Lunch.” See, I seldom eat a proper lunch and I never snack during the day. As a result, the lovely hosts of our favorite lunchtime watering hole often try to feed me. With Die Frau being away right now, I fear that they will tie me down and force-feed me in an attempt to save my life.

What I will do is lift a photograph of a substantial well-balanced meal off the web, Jamie Oliver’s site maybe, and I will post it on Facebook captioned as I said. I will knock up a fish-finger sandwich, eat it on the hoof and have the cats wash the frying pan. I will then feel at ease to go for my liquid lunch-break confident that any food attack can be fought off simply by referring the hosts to my Facebook timeline.


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