It used to be fun being on Facebook. You’d log on in the morning and you’d have all these lovely posts of friends to read through to see what they were up to and then you’d spend a calming half hour seeing what other people were saying about other people and then you added your two cents worth. And when you all met up in person, you’d have a bit of a giggle and, if you’re the techie sort, you’d immediately Facebook on your handphone that you’d just had a giggle.
A complete waste of time, of course, but then so is Gossip Girl, and what’s my point?
Well, my point is, Facebook was meant to be fun. So, what I want to know is when did it become such a political mine-field?
The other morning, at the breakfast table, we were all on our assorted electronic electronic gadgets, me on the iPad, Amanda on her iPhone and Saffy on her laptop.
Suddenly, Saffy gasped. Even her impressive cleavage stopped in mid-heave.
“Oh. My. God.”
“What?” Amanda asked, her eyes never leaving her screen.
“Remember Ridiculous Richard, my ex-boss? He’s just asked to be my friend on Facebook!”
Amanda looked up. “Seriously, what do people do that?”
Saffy’s bosom inflated to dangerous proportions. “I know, right? It’s so incredibly inappropriate!”
“Oh, you can’t be Facebook friends with your ex-boss!” I said firmly. “Just ignore it!”
“I can’t ignore it. His wife Mayzie is my Friday night salsa gal pal, and we’re on the cusp of becoming afternoon tea gal pals!” Which, in Girl Speak, is apparently at the same level as a cabinet minister, as opposed to being a mere MP. You’re in the inner circle of friends.
“How awkward would it be,” Saffy continued, “if we really start hanging out together which means I’d be seeing more of Ridiculous Richard and there’ll always be this Facebook question mark hanging in the air?”
“Well, then accept his friend request.” I thought it was a perfectly reasonable course of action. Apparently not.
“Oh my God, are you crazy?” Amanda cried. And to prove how seriously she was taking this matter, she actually put her phone down on the table. “She can’t be Facebook friends with her ex-boss! That’s just weird!”
“Not to mention creepy!” Saffy added. “I’ve seen the way he stares at my boobs!”
Leave it to Saffy’s best friend Sharyn (who, in Girl Speak, is basically the Deputy Prime Minister) to put the whole matter into perspective.
“Aiyoh, like this can also make drama! Just ignore, lah! Or say you never on Facebook! You know how many unaccepted friend request I have or not? Eighty-two! I don’t care, one! Especially, hor, if I doh-no you, I don’t friend.”
“But I see Mayzie all the time and sometimes Ridiculous Richard joins us for drinks!” Saffy said. “It’ll be so awkward!”
Sharyn paused. “Oh, like that, one, ah! Then you accept, but you hide him! Come, I show you how.”
Which is how Saffy spent an instructive Saturday afternoon being shown by Sharyn how to keep unwanted Facebook friends at bay. As she later said, “Seriously, this woman may look like a wet market auntie, but she’s got the electronics IQ of a freaking genius! The CIA should hire her!”
Sharyn blushed modestly. “No, lah! Pie say, pie say!”
Amanda looked at Saffy’s copious notes and said doubtfully, “It looks very complicated!”
Sharyn grunted in a rather unattractive way. “Once you do a few time, very easy! But if too much, you do this, ok? You accept this person as your friend. Then next day, you delete!”
“Uhm, isn’t that a bit rude?” I asked.
Sharyn sighed, her breath fogging up her Coke bottle-thick spectacles. “Aiyah, most people these days, hor, they have a few hundred friends. You think they sit there every morning and do inventory of their friends, is it? One missing, they never know, one! Trust me! I got 862 friends. If you unfriend me now, I also won’t notice!”
That night, as we sat down to dinner, Amanda asked, “Since when did this whole Facebook thing become so difficult? I want to be friends with people I like, and not because I have to!”
“That Sharyn is amazing!” I said with deep admiration. “How did she get to be so good at computers? I have problems finding the on switch on my laptop!”
Saffy snorted. “I still can’t get over the fact that I’m taking social etiquette lessons from a woman who still thinks it’s acceptable to spit out her chicken bones directly onto the table next to her plate!”