Facebook - Strange Status Updates

Okay, let me start by stating that I enjoy Facebook. I think it's a cracking tool used in the correct way and I do check my Facebook page a few times daily.

Why do I like it? Whilst I'm not one for changing my status every hour (does anyone actually care that I'm in Tesco's looking at the fruit and veg?), I found the status extremely useful recently when I needed to get a generic message to a high percentage of people on my friends list about a family event and while they were some who it didn't apply to, it saved me sending a similar message to a high number of people or by CC'ing the news by email to the same high number of family and friends.

I enjoy being able to see photo's of family and friends from across the world or even a few miles up the road - all in one place. Equally I like the fact that I can share my photo's with anyone who wants to see them. I like knowing what sort of day my friends have had, be it good or bad, enjoyable or forgettable. Basically Facebook is for the plain nosey person which exists in each and every Facebook user, myself included! We like to get an insight into what everyone has been up to, although the relevance of the aforementioned `Tesco` type of status update makes me wonder what sort of life some people have if they insist on giving the world and his wife a blow-by-blow account of where they are each hour of day.

I enjoy certain games on Facebook. I like various groups and the general chat and message boards containing within those groups. I like chatting with like-minded people about how good a show Spooks is or how my beloved Leeds United really need to buck their ideas up if promotion is realistic this season. And I admit it, I like the birthday reminder...very useful and saved my skin more than once!

Facebook has attracted what I would call the `Bebo brigade`. Teenagers who felt that Bebo was getting too dull and instead moved onto Facebook and instantly had the dilemma of whether to actually add their parents as `friends`. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with teens on Facebook, indeed I have currently six nephews or nieces among my friends and it is good to keep up with them as I rarely get to see them face to face as we live so far apart. I miss them to bits and love seeing many of their postings and just keeping up with how they all are.

What irks me a little with Facebook, apart from the "Justin is going out now..." type of statuses, is the equally pointless thread type of messages which are cryptic in the extreme. A few months ago I had loads of new updates with colours and nothing else. It transpired that it was a sort of mass update among women/girls to publish the colour of their bra! Fair enough, but I see status updates as the sort of thing that you would tell someone if you were stood next to them instead of online. Maybe some women would happily announce to hundreds of people in person that they currently have red underwear, but it seems a little weird. Today we seem to have a new trend where a random (?) number is followed by a description of a person that the number corresponds to. Again, this is a bit of guesswork on my part and maybe it's just me, but all seems to be a tad pointless. That said, the latest posting would seem that the number is not random and actually relevant in some way to the person described.

Call me a killjoy if you like or someone without a sense of humour but I assure you nothing could be further from the truth. I'm a 40-something man who will be laughed at by the generation below me as having no sense of fun or perhaps who doesn't understand these peculiar status updates because I'm not involved in them. Fair enough, each to their own opinion. I just happen to be the one to publish his opinion on a public forum and probably leave himself open to roaring flames from all and sundry. These odd and strange updates will continue regardless of what I or anyone else thinks but I've learned to skim and avoid them and will continue to do so.

As much as I enjoy Facebook and would certainly miss it if it suddenly disappeared, I will say finally that many people are adding people as `friends` just to be able to say that they have 643 friends on Facebook. If that's the way to earn kudos these days then I don't pretend to understand the mentality, however I didn't know whether to smile or shiver the other day when I spotted as a status update on the page of a friend of a friend of a friend which simply said (and wasn't aimed at me I should add), "Thanks for adding me as a friend. Do I know you?" The person who wrote it had over 700 `friends`!! And people wonder why online stalking is so easy....


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