Thu | Jan 19, 2017

Facebook 'friends' a bit too friendly

Published:Monday | August 11, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Michael Abrahams, Guest Columnist

I like Facebook. I joined a few years ago, reluctantly, but engaged rather quickly when I realised how many long lost friends I was able to find.

People from prep school, high school and university, in addition to family that I had lost touch with. People I would have otherwise had a very hard time finding.

I also found pages concerning interests of mine such as music and origami. During the time that I have been using Facebook, I have made several interesting, fascinating and, at times, disturbing observations.
First, you can tell a lot about people by their posts. You can identify narcissists (thousands of pics of themselves with daily changing of profile pics), introverts (no profile pics), Jesus freaks (hourly Bible quotes and commands to repost things "if you love God"), and people who did not pay attention in English class (a plethora of spelling and grammatical errors).
Then there is the inexplicable strange behaviour. For example, why do some people feel compelled to tell the world, via Facebook, about their each and every move? Where they are dining, what they are eating and when they are passing it out? Crazy.
And the food pics. What's up with the food pics? Will somebody please tell me why on earth people take pics of their dinner? Most of the pleasure obtained from eating is derived from olfactory and gustatory stimulation, both of which are absent during online interactions, to the best of my knowledge.
And when will people learn to stop posting things that will jeopardise their jobs, like dissing the boss. I know of a woman who, after a tense encounter with her boss, went home and took to Facebook to vent, using a particular word to describe him. I cannot use the word in this forum. Let's just say that it rhymes with 'fattyman'. Anyway, she returned to the office the following day, only to realise that, surprise, surprise, she was now out of a job. Who saw that one coming?
And if you take sick days off from work, please, I beg you, do not go on a pleasure cruise and post pics, as someone I know did, and got in trouble after his boss viewed them. If your boss is not a Facebook friend of yours, trust me, he or she will be a friend of one of your friends.
And these invitations to play games are so annoying. Don't people have work to do? Invitations to crush candy and to do God knows what on farms. Also, why do we have to be notified when someone feeds farm animals or has annihilated lots of sweets?

Which brings me to the concept of Facebook 'friends'. A misleading term really. We know that many of these total strangers sending requests are not friends at all. As a matter of fact, they may include several haters who just want to 'faas' and 'pree' into your business. But, then again, you should not be putting your business out there in the first place.

And the names of some of my Facebook friends are totally hilarious. Occasionally I will encounter someone who will chide me for not accepting their request, and the conversation will go something like this:

Woman: "Me sen yu one Facebook fren reques an yu nuh pay me no mind."

Me: "Really? I don't remember seeing your name among my requests."

Woman: "Me did use one different name still."

Me: "Which name did you use?"

Woman: "Wickedestslamstullieshagoodazempresss Blake."

Me: "Den how di blow wow me fi know seh a yu???!!!"

Woman: "Lol."

Another word that Facebook has redefined is the word 'like', which does not necessarily mean that you actually like what you click 'like' for.

It took me a while to get used to that. I would see a post of a news story with a headline like 'Man tries to mate with goat', and then, underneath the story, I would see something like ""Wickedestslamstullieshagoodazempresss Blake" likes this. Then I would be very disturbed to know that someone could like something as disgusting as that. I'd be thinking to myself "That Ms Blake, I always knew that she was a freak."

Michael Abrahams is a gynaecologist and obstetrician, comedian, and poet. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and michabe_1999@hotmail.com, or tweet @mikeyabrahams.