How Facebook Ruined Gossip

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You’ve probably noticed that Facebook isn’t popular anymore. Actually it stopped being popular a long time ago, about the time your mother joined it. So what the hell are we all still doing there? My guess is we’re still in for the gossip.

Let me explain. I have over 350 friends. Online friends, obviously. Of all those 350+ how many do I actually talk to? How many do I call on the phone, how many do I meet face to face? About 3.5… The majority of my Facebook “friends” are former university colleagues, work colleagues, schoolmates, people with whom I have absolutely nothing in common. If I met either of them, I wouldn’t know that to say past “Oh hello, it’s so nice to see you again”.

Yet I stubbornly check my Facebook account every single day just to see what’s going on. Why do I care? I obviously don’t give a rat’s bollock about my ex-colleague’s baby or what her husband had for dinner. I don’t use the site to socialize either. I don’t send messages to friends, that’s what mobile phones are for. I don’t use it to catch up with old acquaintances because, since we don’t socialize anymore, I clearly don’t care about them. And I don’t use it for entertainment either, because all the jokes and memes out there are at least six months old.

The reason I go back there every day is to see what random strangers are up to. And that’s what used to be called gossip. You’d meet with a friend one miserable day and you’d start talking about other people:

“Have you heard? Daniel got engaged… to Monica. Do you remember Monica?”

“Who? The girl with the blue hair? I heard she used to work as a lapdancer.”

“Oh, he’s in for the ride of his life!”

…and so on. Good old fashioned gossip. What’s wrong with that? But since we have Facebook, all gossip-worthy events are announced like press releases. You have an Events column giving you information about the adventures of some people you barely know by name. You have a damn website telling you how you should behave: “Hey! Congratulate Steve on his new job”. “Write a birthday message on Dana’s wall!” I’ll make my own decisions, thank you very much. And on top of that, you are left without the element of surprise. This is how a real life conversation used to sound like:

“Hey, have you heard about Daniel’s engagement?”

“What?! Get out of here! How did you find out?” *screams your friend while her incredulous eyes widen with shock and envy at your vast knowledge*. And a long and pointless but enjoyable conversation begins.

Whereas now, you get a slightly bored reply such as: “yeah, I saw it on Facebook”. And you both go back to checking your smartphones. And that’s a crime! Against malicious gossip! And I think we should do something about it!

Yep…

Dunno what exactly, but we should… take action…

Let’s delete our Facebook accounts! Anyone up for it?

No…?

No-one?

Oh, well, then I’m going back to update my wall. God, I hate Facebook!!!

2 thoughts on “How Facebook Ruined Gossip

  1. I’m not on Facebook (yet anyway) and part of the reason is because of what you just described. I love meeting up with a friend who I haven’t seen in a few months and having those “spill all the gory details” conversations. They tell me all about everyone on Facebook and then I tell them all my little secrets that never make it to the web.

    Sometimes it’s weird though, because this person who I haven’t talked to in months will occasionally know more about my family (who’s on Facebook) than I do. For example: Did you know your cousin is getting married? Me: What??

    Like this

    • well, you’re better off without it. I really miss the good old days when you actually had to meet up with people instead of getting updates on the internet. true, everybody’s travelling more and we’re all over the place so it’s harder to keep in touch, but still…

      Like this

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