Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Teddy de Burca Jnr.'s thought for the day
Just what the hell is going on with Facebook? I can answer that question for you, if you like – IT’S TAKING OVER THE WORLD.

Invented by a Harvard University drop-out (a la Bill Gates) originally as a tool to keep alumni in touch for the rest of their lives – so you can see your old class chums age, slowly but surely, year after year – it has now become the most popular new web service combining various features from email, Myspace, Friendster and Flickr into one.

All very well for catching up with old friends or hooking up with your friends' friends, if that’s your bag, but do fellow Hanoians really need to join it or invite each other to be members when we’re living in the same city, especially considering the campus-like atmosphere that already exists amongst the expat community. Most oddly, people who don’t even like each other in real life can be friends in Facebook.

After signing up and signing in I was thrown off by the rather twee business of “poking” (grabbing someone’s attention?), updates on people’s moods (Frank is having a coffee and thinking about having some toast), writing on friends walls (Teddy de Burca wuz here), online unions (Jack and Jill are now friends!), your profile (Richard likes water sports, girls with a sense of humour and getting caught in the rain) and the parade of look-at-me-ness – look at me I’m sultry, look at me I’m wacky, look at me I’m having f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-un at my birthday party, you can tell because we’re all wearing silly hats!

Terrified, I deactivated my account after five minutes. But now I’m left out of conversations in the real world as people meet up and chat about Facebook and what photos have been posted as now rather than emailing photos people just upload them to Facebook or else they talk about who just “joined the community”. One of us, one of us, one of us…

So by opting out of this creepy online social network I’ve ostracised myself. I’m not sure if I’m the fool who didn’t believe in emails and said that the art of letter writing would never die or the guy who didn’t go blind before the attack of the Triffids.

I’m banking on the latter and that everyone in Facebook is being brainwashed and will perish in the not-too-distant future. Meanwhile if anyone’s up for a non-Facebook related conversation (or perhaps even forming a resistance movement) I’ll be at the bia hoi – I might even bring an old shoebox full of photos, write a few postcards or send a letter to the Prussian consulate in Siam by aeromail or am I too late for the 4:30 autogyro?

See y’all round campus.

Bonus extra

The Guardian's Charlie Brooks' rant against facebook


elliott said...

I'm with you on this one: give me Paul talk around a bia hoi any day! People need people... and not monitors.

elliott said...

nor, I might add in the cold light of day, minotaurs.

Caitlin said...

I'm with you re Facebook too mate. I was stupid enough to sign up one day and now half my spam is invitations from people I regularly see at the bia hoi and have real conversations with. I have no idea how to "network" on the stupid site, let alone poke someone.

Think I'll follow your lead and cancel my account - although can I face the guilt of robbing 3 people of a friend!!