Feeling so good on Facebook

Feeling so good on Facebook

At the risk of irritating friends on the social networking site, Facebook is mostly pointless.

It's always been pointless. That's the appeal. Yes, there are worthy stories occasionally being shared, but Facebook is mostly pictures of wrinkled pug dogs that look like my grandmother.

This week, it was photos of the 20 oddest couples. Have you seen that one? The photo gallery will put you off wedding photos, getting married and perhaps human beings forever.

My personal favourite was a bespectacled couple with what looked like matching moustaches. His was a Tom Selleck, 70s porn star look, Hers appeared to be ginger.

He was wearing a velvet tracksuit top and holding a green parrot. She was wearing a pink knitted sweater and holding a high-powered rifle with an affixed bayonet.

Now I don't know how a gun nut and a parrot lover meet. Was one shooting the other?

It's beyond my vocabulary to accurately convey just how horrifying the image of a woman in a pink knitted sweater actually was. The rifle was pretty scary, too.

I spent 15 minutes away from my writing to examine the "20 weird photos of couples in love" gallery. That's the captivating power of Facebook. It's car-crash viewing. You really know you shouldn't look and then... and then... someone posts a photo of a married couple tossing a couple of headless chickens in the air and that's your Wednesday afternoon.

(Do search for the weird photos gallery. It's hypnotic. I'm beginning to think I went to school with Pink Sweater Rambo.)

And if it's not the so-damn-awful-they're-sublime photo galleries, it's the selfies.

For the longest time, I didn't know what a "selfie" was. I just thought far too many people were mispronouncing the word "selfish".

I was almost on the phone to the Speak Good English Movement, but they're really busy at the moment (have you watched TV recently?)

But the Facebook "selfies" confirm that no one seems to have spontaneous fun anymore. They have to tell us how much spontaneous fun they're having by spontaneously taking selfies and spontaneously repeating how much spontaneous fun they're having in their status updates.

Look, this is me at Sentosa having fun. Look, this is me at a coffee shop having fun. Look, this is me in front of the Merlion having fun. Obviously, I made the last one up. No one has fun in front of the Merlion.

But at least the inane comments are accompanied with a photo, a temporary visual distraction from the pointlessness of Facebook.

Take the images away and the newsfeed is littered with status update nuggets like... "I'm really tired." (Well, go to bed then.)

Other popular posts include "I'm so hungry", "so bored" and "I need a drink". They're not social updates. They're kindergarten updates.

They are things kids shout at teachers during sand and water play.

It's as if my five-year-old daughter has hacked everyone's Facebook pages and is posting "I need a wee wee."

(Don't panic. She hasn't hacked into anyone's website. She doesn't own any masks other than a Dora the Explorer mask. That said, have you seen the emotionless Dora the Explorer mask? It scares "el caca" out of me.)

Apologies in advance to any of my Facebook friends who may feel duped by the end of this paragraph, but I recently tested how many likes I could get from the most trivial, nonsensical comment ever.

I posted that the secret to a decent cup of tea was the stirring. The post attracted more than 50 likes.

But when I share stories on, say, climate change, international money laundering or West Ham United, the silence is deafening. (I'm used to it with the last one.)

So I'll be brutally honest. I expected next to no reaction when I made a few comments and shared stories regarding the need for our island to donate more - in cash and in kind - to the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan.

Well, the response was as overwhelming as it was reassuring.

My Facebook feed was flooded with useful information. Which charities to use to make a cash donation. Which foodstuffs were most practical to send overseas. Where the drop-off locations were and who could volunteer.

Charity links and the latest news from the Philippines were shared as the can-do spirit proved contagious. The selflessness of others was genuinely uplifting.

Facebook now shone in a favourable light. Maybe I need to give the social networking site a second chance and take the daily news feed more seriously.

I certainly deserve another look at Pink Sweater Rambo and Man With Parrot.


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