Claire Calvey wonders what her mornings were like before Facebook. Did we actually listen to morning radio?
What did the mornings look like before Facebook? I’m struggling to recall – something about coffee and morning radio I think – but I can’t be sure. These days my morning routine involves a lengthy scroll through my news-feed to ensure I keep pace with any important overnight political events. Well that or to view photos of cats wearing sunglasses (posted by someone called Shazza whom I once met in the toilets at a Christmas staff-party).
When I first joined Facebook five years ago, it served as a forum for sunny family photos and silly quizzes; it was harmless. However, it has morphed into something darker; a place of lies, envy and rivalry, and let’s face it, some of the people we’re ‘friends’ with wouldn’t make it through our front doors’ in real life. Take ‘the bragger’ for example. You haven’t seen her in two decades, and although she sent you a friend request three years ago, has yet to acknowledge you on Facebook. Instead she prefers to communicate via gloating updates, such as: ‘Having a glass of bubbly in the business lounge at Schipol airport. Next stop Geneva for a three-day conference, followed by a week of launch parties in Boston – whoohoo, I love my life!’ OK I get it, you’re more successful than me; I’ve never flown business class and the only conferences I get to attend are of the parent/teacher variety. You win! Then we have the ‘over-sharer’ who feels compelled to share the minutiae of their day, posting thrilling updates such as: ‘The toaster just broke - LOL!’ or video clips of their kids eating in McDonald’s (who actually watches these?). They also – inexplicably – take photographs of their food and are only an update away from documenting their toilet-going habits. I have three words for these people: ‘I DON’T CARE!’
A personal favourite of mine is the ‘emotionally incontinent Diva’, who reserves all Facebook activity for personal vendettas and self-pitying updates along the lines of: ‘Why do people make up lies about me? You’re just jealouse (sic) of me. I don’t need you in my life, I’m stronger than that.’ In essence they are the personification of a Christina Aguilera power-ballad, whose incessant claims of inner-strength are so over-stated one can only doubt them. This person also regularly threatens to close their Facebook account, a move which generally results in dozens of comments begging them to reconsider, which of course only feeds their inner Diva.
The ‘casual racist’ likes to share posts and clippings about how immigrants are taking all our jobs/money, and other right-wing rants. If male, they also often enjoy posting alarmingly sexist jokes, often accompanied by offensive pictures, and much as you’d love to un-friend these scary individuals, you can’t as you see them every day at work.
A particular pet-hate on Facebook is the ‘competitive mother’, whose children regularly win awards (proper ones, not the ‘merit’ awards every child in the class will eventually get during the course of the year, for such ‘achievements’ as being a good friend or keeping their desk tidy). These women make the rest of us feel we’re not really taking the whole motherhood thing seriously. They are at their worst during school holidays, when their live-feed goes into over-drive documenting the day’s activities – with accompanying photos – while you shuffle about, still in pyjamas, throwing peanut butter sandwiches at your kids while yelling, ‘this IS your dinner!’
But surely the worst Facebook offence of all is sharing a page with your partner. I mean, why reduce yourself to half of BobandMichelle when you can be Bob? Or Michelle, for that matter? These couples also often love to converse with each other via Facebook, while clearly in the same room. ‘Plum duck made by my gorgeous hubby,’ will inevitably be followed by: ‘Anything for my princess! xxx’. From casual observation I’ve noticed these people often end up in the divorce courts; a case of protesting too much perhaps?
So there we have it, a whistle-stop tour of Facebook’s worst offenders. I suppose I could just hit the ‘un-friend’ button and free-up my page, but then I’d have to go back to ‘morning radio’, and let’s face it; it’s not half as entertaining.