Tuesday, August 4, 2009

facebook cleanouts, eating, and other important stuff

The rise and subsequent ubiquitousness of facebook seems to have lead to a newer trend, the 'facebook cleanout'. This is an exercise of culling 'friends' that a person (the facebook user, who is conducting said cleanout) has deemed to have had insufficient contact with in order to maintain them on their friends list. While I understand the fundamental principle of the exercise (trim the fat, clean out the closet, spring clean, etc) the concept of a facebook cleanout represents all sorts of other confusing aspects to me, particularly those surrounding the notions of friends and acquaintances as we previously understood them.
To me, the beauty of facebook is not in its ability to maintain contact with close friends and family, but rather, to keep some kind of connection or running commentary of a person with whom contact may otherwise be lost. My family, for example, is extensive and widely spread around Australia. Facebook has allowed me to maintain some level of contact with these people, even if I do not actively participate (at least, not in a Facebook sense) in their every day lives and happenings. Ditto old school friends; particularly those about whom my mind would occasionally wander and well, wonder.
And while Facebook can serve as the perfect venue for (at least part of) torrid friendships and bizarrely motivated personality quizzes (which romanticised stereotype from this arbitrary tv show/movie/popular culture icon/species of amoeba/suburb/friendship group/school are YOU?) it can also be a means of maintaining distant, non-confrontational (though slightly stalkerish) contact with people you actually care about. It's also a great conversation topic, "oh, her? Yeah, I'm facebook friends with her. Boy, she LOVES karaoke, cruisers and tacky heart shaped pink gimmicky virtual gifts..." etc.

It's also the perfect venue for time wasting, and how else to time waste but to look at "oh-I-remember-Georgie-the-one-with-that-never-wore-matching-socks-to-school-when-I-lived-in-
Sydney-no-this-was-my-second-school-I-think's profile, and find out that the never-wore-matching-socks thing actually manifested in to some kind of awesomely cool and creative career as a cutting edge fashion designer (or some such romanticised stereotype)... Oh yeah, and according to which breed of dog are you, George is a French Bulldog. Go figure.

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