Thursday, March 27, 2014

Facebook - Friend or Foe

Call me the Queen of Procrastinators on the blogging front, I don’t think I can even claim to have Writer’s Block, as that implies you have got out of the starting blocks instead of fiddling about at the start claiming that you need to tie your shoe laces and style your hair before you line up.

Bruce Springsteen, The ‘Boss’ was in town recently – and when I say recently I do mean at least four weeks ago, at this point you begin to realise I am not joking on the procrastination front. 

As part of Springsteen’s Australian tour, he did a concert in the Hunter Valley, a wine growing area a couple of hours outside of Sydney.  Having my finger on the pulse of popular culture as I do, I had completely failed to spot this event and then was slightly miffed to discover every friend and acquaintance that I possessed was off to see him strut his stuff.  To be honest according to Facebook, social media and the school grapevine, I was the only person of a certain age left in Sydney that weekend.

What I found interesting was my frankly juvenile reaction to all the Facebook photos and posts that appeared in nanoseconds. Bizarrely it felt as if I had been left out in some way - and nothing could be further from the truth.  But it did make me realise how difficult life is for my teenage daughters in today’s immediate world of posts and tweets.  No one ever puts up a sad photo of them having a grim time on Facebook, everyone is always having a fabulous evening out encompassing wine, women and song.  My reaction was completely irrational, given the fact the nearest I have ever got to being a Springsteen fan was when discussing the lyrics of “Cover Me’ with a chap called Mickey who I was marginally keen on, whilst we were both dressed in togas at a garden party at 11am – this detail giving you some idea of the fact we are talking different eras here – and also reinforcing the fact that all credit to him, Springsteen has been around a long time, but it does make me think that there is probably a universal human reaction - a giant FOMO emotion that Facebook intensifies.  

I reckon that I and my cohort, got off lightly.  During my teenage and toga wearing years, the only record of events was a photo that you then had to trot off to Boots to have developed, so by the time the 12 out of focus shots appeared, you could be weeks after the event and everyone had lost interest anyway; the party was passé.  I feel for my daughters completely bombarded with immediate evidence of what a good time everyone else is having, without the reality check that this is a snapshot of life not the full blown novel.

However having slammed Facebook, I now have to confess I have really enjoyed seeing the recent pictures a long lost school friend posted there of us all as teenagers on a school ski holiday.  OMG what were our mothers thinking letting us out with those pudding bowl haircuts, I think we were all channelling Joanna Lumley in her New Avengers persona (and failing dismally – Purdy we were not).  And the clothes, I had to peer at the bizarrely clad teenage version of myself to check it was actually me.  But once again the glorious fact about those teenage days was that even if someone took a picture of you looking ‘daggy’ and believe you me, we put the ‘dag’ into that fabulously descriptive Australian word ‘daggy’, it took at least two weeks for the evidence to surface (or in fact 35 years in this case). 

Pudding Bowl or Purdy - take your pick!