Friday, May 18, 2007

They Should Call It CRACKBOOK

So, are you on Facebook yet? Everybody's doing it. In fact, they say there are over 2 million Canadians with profiles on Facebook. Considering that Canada only has about 30 million people, that's a significant percentage of the total population.

What is Facebook? According to their website Facebook is a social utility that connects you with the people around you. It is made up of many networks, each based around a workplace, region, high school or college.
You can use Facebook to:
- Share information with people you know.
- See what's going on with your friends.
- Look up people around you.

However, according to me, Facebook would more appropriately be called "Crackbook". It's that addictive.

Start setting up your personal profile, and you're hooked. You forget about eating or sleeping you're so fixated on describing yourself. It's a clever approach. What better way to get people interested than to get them obsessing over their favorite topic - themselves? And, for those who get really hooked, a profile is never stagnant. Ignore that business deadline, you're too busy revising the section where you listed your favorite quotes. How could you have overlooked that brilliant Kurt Vonnegut quip in the first place?

You see, Facebook draws you in by getting you to best describe yourself so you'll appear clever and hip to others on the network. It's a social thing, after all. Almost more time consuming is deciding what picture to use for your profile. That picture accompanies anything you send to another person, be it a message, a poke or whatever. It better be good!

Once you graduate from the narcissistic world of "me", you suddenly become aware of the even bigger world of "everyone else". At this point, you may as well forget about any real social life. Your world is now online. Your world has become Facebook.

Before you know it, your inbox is flooded with requests from people claiming to be your friend. Want lots of friends? It's that easy. Just keep saying yes. But be careful. Addicts can be very unpredictable, and that's what all your fellow Facebookers are - addicts.

I recommend ignoring "friends" that you've never heard of, or who suddenly reappear in your life after many years of separation. Chances are you weren't communicating with that "old friend" for good reason. Like with a jilted ex-lover, best to keep your distance. An acquaintance of mine is now being "stalked" by an old boyfriend - Facebook style. She accepted his friend request thinking it would be harmless. She is now being inundated with pleas for her to take him back. It didn't work then, it won't work now. Not even in the social world of Facebook.

But it's not just about finding and making friends. There's a whole voyeuristic side to Facebook, as well. You're free to lurk about, sneaking peaks at other people's private lives; their conversations, photos and social networks. It's not only possible, it's downright encouraged. Everything's there - who's dated who, how people met, who's hot, who's not... And, you can do it completely anonymously. Or, if you'd rather, you can march right on in and brazenly announce to the world, the Facebook world that is, that you have arrived!

Now, having read all this you'd think that I've resisted the Facebook urge and remain a distant observer. Ha! Nothing could be further from the truth. Recently I was late for Friday afternoon cocktails with real in-the-flesh people because I was busy chatting with some online pals. Even worse, my blog entries have suffered because I'm spending all my free time snooping around in the dirty laundry of people I don't even know. Pathetically, I haven't even posted a blog entry about my trip to Venezuela!

But all hope is not lost. I'm sure the addiction will soon subside and in no time I'll be writing about the chicas and the beaches. Not yet, however. In the meantime, I do have some photos I'd like to share with you. Wanna see them? No problem. Just check out the photo album I posted on Facebook. Here's the link: