Connacht Tribune - Opinion Piece
Keep your photos for real friends – not Facebook buddiesSeptember 5, 2012 - 1:58pm
There was a cartoon recently which had a woman talking to a priest at the funeral of her husband in a Church with a couple of hundred chairs and only a handful of mourners.
“It’s strange,” she confided. “I’d expected a bigger turn-out – he has hundreds of friends on his Facebook page.”
And therein lies the problem.
Friends are only friends if you can turn to them in times of joy or trouble – or, at the very least, if you’ve actually met them.
But Facebook encourages some sort of parallel universe where you can be friends with people you’ve never met and – if the truth were known – perhaps you’d never want to.
But because part of the Facebook phenomenon is to establish your own popularity by acquiring as many ‘virtual friends’ as possible, you accept all invitations and invite everyone you can think of to join your cyber club.
And then you might feel you have to justify this investment in digital friends by making your life seem more interesting than it actually is, by revealing little things about yourself and your adventures for all of the people in this select world to see.
You will post photographs you’d never show to these people if you actually laid eyes on them, of events they were never at and probably never knew had even existed.
To make matters worse, the common denominator in all of these images is that everyone has red eye – and it’s caused by too much drink rather than the flash on the camera.
You’re desperately trying to focus on the camera while grinning like a madman at the person holding it, all the while looking more like a dirty old man with a sweat problem than a party animal living the high life on Ibiza.
So it was no surprise to find out that a recent UK survey saw Brits admit to being drunk in three quarters of photographs of them posted on the site.
Equally unsurprising was the admission by more than half of those surveyed said that there were photographs of them on Facebook they would not want colleagues or employers to see, and eight per cent admitted to appearing in pictures that could get them into ‘serious trouble’ at work.
The English rugby team that did so much damage off the field at the World Cup in New Zealand could equally testify to the fact that these pix can get you into serious trouble at home as well as work.
And while it’s all great craic to stand into a picture with a passing hen party as you meander your way down Quay Street on a Saturday night, it can be viewed in a whole different light by the morning.
The irony is that the people you’re least likely to befriend are often those closest to you – your spouse, your children, your actual friends – and this is for two reasons.
The first is that, while you’d probably like to see what your kids were up to, the downside is that they’d also be able to see you. The same goes for your other family members and friends.
And the second is that, hopefully, those people who are your real, three-dimensional friends are actually there with you when all the fun starts, so they have no need to belatedly ‘enjoy the craic’ via their laptop or iPhone.
For more, read this week's Connacht Tribune.