And so, it has come to this. With a heavy heart, I have felt compelled to join Facebook. For a while it’s been apparent that it has become a web lingua franca which is slowly usurping all others methods of communication on the internet, but the straw that broke the camel’s back for me was when I found out in December that Ben Folds Five had reformed several months earlier. I have no idea whether I am right or not, but I couldn’t help thinking that the announcement of this was probably put out on Facebook, with the assumption that anybody who cared would therefore find out. To not be on Facebook, it seems, is the equivalent now of not owning a television or radio. You can’t expect to keep abreast of stuff which matters to you if you don’t have the equipment to do so.
My reluctance to join Facebook has been based on the prejudice that it exists for people to blether endlessly about the trivial minutiae of life which make me want to scream. People with nothing better to do than comment on the latest (or indeed actually being broadcast) episode of The X Factor, or post photos of their holiday for other people with nothing better to do to admire, or to indulge in grief tourism by saying their hearts are with the latest victim of some horrible tragedy. I hope and presume that it’s possible to get more, or indeed less, out of it than this. I hope I can subscribe to the pages of musicians I like without being subjected to page after page of comments about them by people who I don’t know and about whose opinions I don’t care.
Ironically, when I attempted to join Facebook, it told me I already had. It then came back to me that a few years ago a woman at my workplace told me I was missing out and I should join. When I logged in, I found that in my ironically named ‘News Feed’ were updates from the two people I added at that time. Amongst them were the information that one of them finds Jeepers Creepers really scary, along with pictures of a new car upon which they’d commented (not their own new car, just someone else’s on which they’d felt the need to pass judgement) and various pictures of children and pets. Give me strength. I wonder if it is possible to be on Facebook without having to interact with other people. I guess I’ll find out.