I love Facebook. My friends would say that this is a conversion not dissimilar from that of St. Paul on the road to Damascus, because a few years ago I was the proud owner of a T-shirt that defiantly proclaimed “No I am not on f**king Facebook”.
Why the u-turn? Well I came to the realisation that if this blog was to have any chance of survival, I had to have some sort of social media account set up – so I chose Facebook and Twitter.
Besides I have to move with the times like my friend Ngozi did. I dated her brother many years ago before he came out to her and the rest of the family. Whenever we went to her house or met her at family gatherings, out came from her huge handbag, a photo album of available Nigerian ladies for us eligible bachelors. As far as she (and the rest of Nigeria) was concerned – No man should be single – “You must marry!!”
In Ngozi’s photo album, the girls would each have two photographs; one in a University matriculation or graduation gown holding her degree certificate and another in a nice dress standing by a flower hedge, holding a hibiscus flower and smiling demurely into the camera. Ngozi would flip to the pictures of the ladies she felt would be a good match and give a concise run down of the ladies’ qualities including their family background. She would then round off, by asking if she can start “making inquiries” on my behalf. There is nothing in it for her, other than she had a hand in matching two people up.
I bumped into Ngozi a few weeks ago (I stopped dating her brother years ago and he has since come out to the family) and we went into a coffee shop to catch up. She whipped out her Ipad logged into her Facebook account and showed me eligible guys – some hot, some not so hot- in Nigeria she thought would be good for me. Thank God she has accepted homosexuality and embraced new technology and social media, but she is still true to her “You must marry” creed!
While there has been some patchy success with the increase in readership from setting up these accounts, they have provided me some source of light entertainment and by extension some level of happiness.
I can live vicariously through status updates especially when my “friends” (and I use this term loosely) are off to sunny climes and I am stuck in rainy Britain. One guy from Lagos in particular never fails to disappoint me. He takes me along with him on the journey. The updates start from the taxi on the way to the airport; then at the airport check-in desk ; past airport security; from the business lounge (or next to the business lounge); from the airplane – especially if he is flying first or business class – never from economy though; from the airplane toilet (true story!) and from the baggage claim hall – on one occasion five hours after the plane landed. When I queried the five-hour delay between the plane landing and baggage claim, he was not forth coming. It later emerged, he had been detained by immigration as his name popped up on some global security watch list and they may or may not have strip-searched him.
That minor inconvenience did not deter him. He continued to send updates from a 5-star hotel lobby and the one visit to a top restaurant complete with pictures of the 3-course meal, I hope he had.
When he returned back home to Lagos, he wondered why his landlord served him an eviction notice for being six months behind on his rent. (For some reason he did not update his status about that on Facebook)
I also love the “Check –in” function on Facebook. It lets me know when my friends who have the functionality switched on are in designer shops, trendy bars, restaurant and clubs. I know a lady who has that permanently switched on, but appeared to have switched it off when I spotted her leaving a sexual health clinic in central London. I checked her status and there was no location update. But there was an update an hour later when she was met someone for lunch at the Oxo tower.
Another thing I love about Facebook and Twitter is that they allow me share in the delight of others when they receive random acts of affection from loved ones. I found other people experienced this joy as well. A colleague of mine showed me his ex-girlfriend’s twitter update. She had just received flowers from her current boyfriend and she gushed all over her twitter account about how nice and loving her current beau was and how much she was in love with him. My colleague then showed me rather sexually explicit text messages she had sent him the night before reminiscing about their active sex life together years ago. I now have newfound respect for him and his enormous ability to satisfy women in bed.
Prior to embracing Facebook my experience with social media was limited to hours spent on gay websites like Gaydar, Manhunt, Adam4Adam to mention a few. It took me a few mishaps to realize that the guidelines and etiquettes are different on both types of social media. In my frenzy to acquire friends on Facebook, I sent a friend request to a guy I went to secondary school with in Nigeria. A few hours later he replied me with a curt “Do I know you?”. I replied “Yes you do. I am Kere, you used to beg me to let you suck my dick in boarding school”
Now there wouldn’t have been anything wrong with that, had I had not accidentally put it on his status page for all to see. On delving into his timeline I found out he just got married a few months before. Opps!! Lets just say he has tightened up the security setting on his page and he has not granted my friends request.
Another reason I love Facebook is life is so good there isn’t a “dislike” icon to easily register any negativity. A porn star/escort I follow has over 1000 friends. Which is good for business I suppose if they are all paying customers. He always posts good stuff about his photo shoots, porn films, personal appearances at clubs and so on and gets a large number of “likes”. Then he had a status update about being ill, presumably to get some sort of sympathy from his friends and he got over 800 likes on the update. I wasn’t sure if that meant 800 people were happy he was ill or that they were so used to liking all his positive comments they did not read this one carefully. Had there been a “dislike” icon, I would have known for sure.
I also love the way Facebook and Twitter allow us express our innermost thoughts without any filtration. Some guy went to the supermarket and accidentally walked out without paying for an item. He updated his status accordingly announcing this fact on Facebook asking the cyber-sphere if he was a bad person. He got the perfunctory likes for the update and written responses were varied.
Some reasoned that it was a small item and the supermarket wouldn’t miss it. Some wondered if he was stressed and hence forgetful. Some went on a tirade on how the supermarket made too much money and deserved what they got. No one asked him if he was calling out for help by confessing to petty theft on the Internet that could lead to a possible arrest.
Researchers (jobless individuals) have carried out studies recently and concluded that Facebook makes users sad and dissatisfied with their lives. They said, “…by skimming through photos of friends’ life successes this can trigger feelings of envy, misery and loneliness…”
Admittedly some status updates can be full of airs of compelling charm, romance and excitement and are delusively alluring (basically full of BS); but envy and misery are not the feelings triggered in me, rather its compassion I feel for anyone who takes him/herself seriously on Facebook. Think about it, if you just accepted a marriage proposal and the first thing you want to do is announce it on facebook and Twitter rather than call those loved ones closest and dearest to you, then something ain’t right.
The researchers failed to mention the “hide” feature on Facebook, that prevents updates that can cause “envy, misery and loneliness” from appearing on the user’s news feed. I use this feature when updates get ridiculous and like someone said, “Wish the person the fabulous life they have on facebook”.