Life confuses me, people confuse me. Sometimes I think I am the only sane person, adrift in a world of lunacy. Nothing makes me feel this way more, than what I see on the Internet and that pervasive part of our lives, Facebook.
It has often been observed that the Internet magnifies human behaviour, whether for good or ill; human social interaction is somehow exaggerated, becoming overblown and often ridiculous. It is also sadly true that we now live in an age when any fool can have their own website and thanks to social media, access a wider audience. This blog and the fool writing it is proof of that.
It is some aspect of the Internet and in particular Facebook, that is able to bring the flaws of human behaviour so starkly into focus. It is remarkable how easy it is to make fools of ourselves on the web, without actually realising how foolish we are. How inhibition, etiquette and general good manners drift away from many users of the magic keyboard.
With this in mind I offer the reader three examples of conversations taken directly from Facebook, for amusement and as a general example of the flaws to which I refer.
In this first example I received a message referring to my then profile picture, an ancient statue in Rutland. My reply consisting of a weblink to the history of the statute, was obviously unsatisfactory but was it really necessary to reply with an expletive?
Because I have been stalked on the web and because I have had security issues in the past, I now routinely screen all friend requests. I send out a basic and standard message asking anyone friend requesting me on Facebook to introduce themselves, to show a genuine wish to interact, to communicate and to prove they are not spam-bots.
Some people reply and introduce themselves, some reply with a rude message but most ignore my message. These after a decent period of waiting for the reply that never comes, are deleted from the pending queue. In this second example of poor Internet etiquette, we are introduced to the friend collector. That peculiar individual who considers the quantity of friends, to be of more value than the quality of friendship.
Even today I am amused by the inference that I should have been grateful to have received his request and disappointed that he wasn’t going to add me. His final ‘sorry mate’ still makes me smile.
My final example, more recent and perhaps even more peculiar; is one of those individuals who attempts to claim a mutual friendship in support of a friend request. In this case however, realising I am not so easily fooled and that I want more by way of clarification. They choose to both withdraw and to block me.
This is an action I cannot fail to see as being highly suspicious. Were they a spammer, a hacker or a potential stalker? I don’t much care but their behaviour confirms how correct I was to be wary.
I have a minor qualification in psychology (an 'A' level equivalent and nothing special) but to understand the behaviour witnessed on social media, I would need at least a foundation degree. So much of what I experience, whether viewed from a sociological or psychological perspective, is well beyond my own comprehension.
So in signing off this instalment of my irregular blog, what can I say dear reader? Oh of course I know the very thing; so until next time, blessings and moonbeams darlings.