TANZA - IN YOUR FACEBOOK
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In Your Facebook
This story is told through four conversations between two friends. Many months elapse between each conversation and we see an all too common pattern emerge. What starts as a fun look at how social networking sites work, soon moves into the realms of deceit and subsequent heartache. But, where will it end?
Chapter One – The Basics
I think I want to join Facebook, but I don't know how. What do I do?
There's not much to it really. You just sign up, give them all your personal details, allow them to access and log every single movement you make on the internet in general and there you are!
Sounds simple enough.
Yeah, it is. Then you can send messages to your friends and other people can see them and join in. You can even chat to them. They can see when you're online and start a chat conversation. Even people you've never spoken to before in your entire life, send you constant messages and keep asking you what you're up to (wuu2).
It's ok, until you need to get up to make a cuppa or something to eat. Then, you get accused of ignoring them and chatting to other people at the same time. If you start a conversation with someone and then have to leave suddenly, you'll come back to your pc to find a long and lengthy string of messages asking you where you are and what you're doing. I guess some people just get attached very quickly.
Nah, it's really cute and you can put a few 'x's after your comments if you really like the person and things like that.
Like on texts you mean?
Yeah...but...you have to be careful. If you give one person more 'x's than someone else, they get upset.
Yeah. They don't say anything, but you just know. You have to decide how many 'x's you give to everyone and stick to it. You can't give more to one than another. If it's a boyfriend or girlfriend, that's ok. Then, you really have to remember to give them far more than anyone else. If you give another guy or gal more 'x's, that's basically like having an affair.
I'm serious! Plus, you get people not even putting any 'x's at all after their comments. They think it makes them stand out as tough or something. ''Look at me, not kissing anyone, I'm so hard''. You get the idea. Just try not to overdo the 'x's. If someone only puts one 'x', you do the same. Try to avoid putting more. It makes the other person feel superior.
That's ridiculous...it's just a simple choice between hitting the 'x' key once or twice.
Not at all! I'm telling you...if you put, say, five 'x's and they don't match it with five of their own. You've been firmly put in your place, especially if they can see you giving other people less.
Ok, apart from all this stupid 'x' stuff, what else can I do?
Well, you can put all your pictures and home videos on there, so people can see what you've been up to. You can even make albums of each individual event in your life to make it easier for people to find exactly the part of your life they want to have a nosey into. People can even 'tag' you in their own pictures, so others can view them too. That means any pictures taken of you, from any angle at all, can easily be seen by people you don't even know...and all without you having to do a thing!
So, how do I get friends?
Well, you need to search for them so you can add them to your friends list. You can find people you knew years back and get back in contact with anyone you want really. Other people can find you too! So, even if you hated their guts and couldn't wait to get rid of them out of your life all those years ago, they can find you through Facebook and add you as a friend. You do have to agree to be their friend though, so it's not like it's compulsory or anything.
Hmmm, yeah it is...kind of. I mean, if you add someone you like and they have someone on their friends list you hate, your pictures and information can still be seen by them. It's not that bad, as long as nobody on your friends list posts anything on your wall and you don't post anything on theirs. Then, the people you don't like can't see anything you're doing, unless you get tagged in a photo.
So, even people I don't ever want to see or hear from again can see what I'm up to?
Yeah. Plus, you kind of feel obliged to add anyone who asks to be your friend. If you don't accept their friendship, they usually try to add you again and again. Then, they start sending private messages, asking why you haven't added them yet and other people they know keep asking you why you haven't added them. In the end you just add them to stop all the hassle.
That sounds pretty invasive.
No, it's okay really. Mind you...saying that, you do end up with a load of people on your friends list that you either hardly know, or you can't stand. Once they're on your list, you're stuck with them and, the more friends on your list, the more popular you're seen to be. It doesn't even matter if you've never met or even know any of them. Having thousands of friends on Facebook, that you couldn't possibly know personally, is far better than having two best friends, who you'd trust with your life, living right next door. The people you do actually know from your friends list may as well not be there because your Facebook page is constantly littered with silly comments and pictures from the hoardes of strangers you have chosen to keep in contact with for no reason whatsoever.
Why don't you just delete them from your list?
What??? No way! Once you have someone on your friends list, they're there for life. Even if you know them personally and have a massive falling out, you can't delete them. You can do anything else you like. You can slap them ten times hard in the face, pour rotting garbage over their entire family and even set light to their house! But...no way can you delete them from your friends list. If you do that, they will make your life hell.
This is a joke right?
No joke...and, if you want to slag them off, you can do it in your status update. They, in return, will do the same to you. It's only fair.
Yeah, you put everything you're doing during the day, along with any thoughts and feelings you're experiencing at the time, as your 'status' and update it when you stop doing something and start doing something else. So, if someone's upset you, you can type it all in to your status.
But...they'll see it.
No...well...yes they will, but it doesn't matter, because you make sure you don't mention them by name. You just type in all the insults and spiteful stuff you want to say to them, or stuff you hate about them. Then, you type ''They know who they are''. It usually makes everyone start commenting and asking if it's them. Then, even if it IS them, you say, ''Oh no...it's not you''.
Why would you bother? It's crazy!
You get used to it. You really do. You can put other stuff in your status though. Every now and again, one of your friends will post a large status explaining a cause or something they feel strongly about. They'll urge you to repost it as your own status by making it quite clear that their true friends are the only ones who will bother. Of course, you have to copy and paste it. There's no option to say no to any request that any of your friends make.
That's too freaky.
You get used to it...honestly!
But what's the point in it all!? What's the point, if you can't enjoy any of it without all this shit?
Well, I use my Facebook every single day. I couldn't do without it now, but I'm happier now I've set all my account details to private. Nobody can search for me, or see anything I type, or comment on any of my status updates, or even see them. I've set the chat program to show me as 'offline' to everyone...so nobody can contact me using that either...and I've made all my photo albums private. Anything and everything I do on Facebook can only be seen by me.
Okay...so now it seems REALLY pointless.
Nah...don't let me put you off. You'll be fine.
Oh, just one more thing...no matter how many people beg you to start playing Farmville, just so you can send them stuff and they can send you stuff back...resist. It starts off as a bit of a novelty, but soon ends up taking over your whole life. You'll also feel pressured into sending gifts to people if they send them to you. If you don't return a gift they'll think you're angry or upset with them for some reason. It's best to avoid all Facebook games for this reason. It really will grind you down...to the point you'll be setting alarms in the middle of the night so you get out of bed and log on to Facebook to harvest crops. There's nothing worse than waking up in the morning to a field full of withered raspberries.
Chapter Two – First Impressions
You did it
then? You signed up yeah?
Yeah, I did. Thanks.
Fine I suppose.
I didn't get a friend request. Have you worked out how to do it yet?
Yes, I have worked it out thank you. I added all my friends and family and most of them have confirmed me, so it's all working fine.
You don't sound impressed. Have I done something wrong? I mean, you haven't added me yet.
I haven't added you yet, because I haven't found you yet. You are invisible to anyone else remember?
Oh yeah. I'll add you then. So, have you been chatting? Have you been posting or doing anything else on it?
Yeah. I had quite a few friend requests from people who know the people I've added. I've been chatting to them. None of the people I actually added are ever online...just these other people.
Met anyone interesting?
Not really. It's all a bit silly. All I get is that thing you told me about...that 'wuu2' thing. I get that a lot. Then I have to think up something to say back. I'm not even doing much at the time. If I was busy doing something I wouldn't be on Facebook would I?
I guess. So, you haven't been chatting to anyone in particular? Any nice men?
Oh, I've been chatting to lots of people in particular. Lots of men want to be my friend. Lots of men I don't even know and will never ever meet want to be my friend. No, actually, they want to come round and shag me hard until I can hardly speak. How flattering...NOT!
You're kidding me! Who?
I don't even KNOW! I don't know who these people are, but all they want to do is find out what I'm doing and then go on about their genitals. They even want pictures of mine! Even I don't know what they look like. I'm certainly not going to show everyone else am I!?
You're so funny. I bet you're having a right laugh.
Um...no, not having a laugh. Do you send pictures of your private parts to people you don't know?
Of course I don't, but I've got a boyfriend already haven't I?
So, if you didn't have a boyfriend, you would!!??
What is wrong with you!!! AND, just because I'm single, it's okay for strange men to keep perving me on Facebook is it? I can't even put a status up without them jumping in and spoiling it...turning whatever I say into a joke or something smutty. I've had to delete everything people have been saying and I've started blocking them now. My list grew to about two hundred in the first few days and hasn't stopped going up. Now, after only a few months, I'm getting thoroughly sick of having to block each idiot as they post a stupid comment.
Well, at least you can do that.
Listen...there's nothing even remotely worth reading on there and, as for the absolute bloody flood of Frontierville, Cafeworld and all the other stupid spammy shit that's constantly scrolling down my screen!
You can stop all that with a few clicks. I'll show you later.
No, don't show me anything. I'll work it out. I'm not an idiot!
I didn't say you were! So touchy!
Sorry, I'm just a bit moody at the moment. I feel like I've wasted so much time on this Facebook thing and it's all so pointless. I'm neglecting other things in my life so I can sit down to chat to people I don't know, about things I don't care about and I feel like I need to keep doing it. I feel obligated. It's really getting to me now.
You must have made a few new friends though. It'll be good for you. You might find a fella.
No, I wont find a fella. It's impossible to be honest on there and find a fella and I can't lie about myself. I want someone real and who wants me for ME. I don't want to pretend to be someone I'm not just to hook some bloke on Facebook.
What do you mean?
Okay...I tell them I'm single and the conversation becomes much more interesting. I tell them I have kids, the conversation turns from being a flirty bit of fun to a very serious matter. All of a sudden, I'm not fun anymore and they have something they really need to be getting on with. Then, it's 'bye bye' me!!
Well, some people don't want the hassle of kids. At least you'll know if the right person comes along. They'll want to carry on chatting.
Oh, I've also chatted to a few 'right' people. I'm single and I have kids. They can deal with it. I think I'm supposed to feel grateful. They don't mind at all. As long as I still want to meet up for the occasional quick bonk, they'll do their best to tolerate the fact that I have children.
It's always up to you though. I mean, if you don't want to, you don't have to. You still might find someone. You might find someone who will want more than just a quick bunk-up.
Yeah right! Look...I'm finished with Facebook. I'm sick of the constant feed of shit that other people think I need to know about, which is so bloody boring! I'm sick of being chatted up by men I don't even know and I'm even more sick of the sneaky way they just disappear from my friends list after a visit to my photo albums.
Yeah...my photo albums. I'm single...they're okay with that. I have kids...they're okay with that too. I'm in my forties...that's okay...they love the more mature women...she knows what she's doing in the bedroom!
Oh, come on! Some of these men are well into their fifties and beyond...who the fk do they think they are??!
Yeah, I suppose.
Exactly! Strange how they can put up with any aspect of my life...right up until the very moment they realize...they've been wasting all their precious, pervey time on a fat bird!
Yeah...oh. I wouldn't mind, but these blokes aren't anything special. Most of them are probably married and the ones that aren't? Well, they're probably single for a very good reason!
So, you'll be deleting your account.
Well, I can't now can I?!
The kids have started up a farm and I don't want to lose all the stuff I've done on it...I mean...they've done on it. It would upset them if I got rid of it.
Yeah...I suppose you should keep the account. You wouldn't want to upset the kids now would you?
No...exactly. Actually, I should have logged in half an hour ago to harvest my white grapes and collect some eggs from my chicken coop. I'm hoping for a rainbow egg. They're so pretty.
Okay. I'll see you soon yeah?
Yeah. Oh, and can you add me as a neighbour in Farmville when we're friends?
I don't play it anymore...I deleted it.
Oh, just get another one so you can send me things I need...I mean...the kids need.
I really don't want to get into all that again.
Oh, come on...it's not like it's difficult. My other friends have done it for me. You don't have to play on it...just send me stuff
Chapter Three – Addicted to Love
thought it was you! Haven't seen you in ages.
I thought I might have seen you at the quiz night round at the school. You usually do all the school stuff.
I gave it a miss. I'm busier now than I was then. I don't really see anyone.
No, I haven't seen you...are you ok? I mean, are you feeling all right?
Yeah. Actually, I've met this bloke.
Oh yeah? I had a feeling you had.
I dunno, just not seeing you about. You're usually around and nobody's seen you. People have been asking me what you're up to. I think a couple of them have sent you messages on Facebook.
I don't really speak to anyone on there anymore.
What's up? Doesn't your boyfriend like it?
No, he only wants me to speak to him. He gets jealous. We talk a lot though. It's not like he doesn't fill my time up.
How long's this been going on then?
About six months.
Six months!! You're kidding!...and you never told me? Wow, I'm really pleased for you. It must be going really well...can't wait to meet him.
Well, you'll have to wait...I haven't even met him myself yet!
Yeah...he lives a long way away, but it's still working out okay.
So you've 'been' with him for six months and you haven't even clapped eyes on him. Okay.
He's really lovely. I love talking to him. We do talk on the phone. He's got an amazing voice. He sent me his picture. He's gorgeous!
He is. He really makes me feel happy.
I'm glad. No, really I am. I mean...you needed something to occupy you and he sounds great. What does he do for a living...where does he work?
He's a top boss in a computer software firm.
Yeah...he earns loads of money and stays in expensive hotels a lot, because he has to travel all over the world with his work.
I see. So, he can't use any of his 'loads of money' to come to see you then? He can't book you both into one of these expensive hotels for just one night, so you can at least meet?
No, he's so busy. He's always telling me how busy he is. His life is so full and interesting...makes mine look really sad.
Your life isn't sad. Well, it wasn't.
What do you mean?
Well, come on, he's chatting to you for hours at a time yeah?
So, he's not busy is he? He's got loads of time to chat to you.
He chats while he's working.
So, he can hold down a massively well-paid job and still chat for hours to you while he's working? Does he talk to you in the evenings?
Yeah, really late at night. He has loads of work to do at home too. He can't chat to me until it's all sorted. It's kind of romantic to be lying in bed in the middle of the night...chatting quietly. We just whisper to each other. It's so sweet.
So...let me get this right. He can chat all day when he's actuallly AT work, but he can't chat to you all evening while he's NOT at work. He lives on his own I take it.
Yeah, he owns a big house...no mortgage. He's really well off.
Are you not getting this?
The guy's married...obviously...and all this stuff about being a top boss with loads of money?
No way is he married. He told me he was divorced. He's got kids that he sees all the time. He's a good dad. He wants to meet my kids.
So, why doesn't he phone you earlier in the evening instead of really late? Why does he have to whisper??
He just does! What is this, jealousy? Just because I've got a bloke and you don't like it.
I've got a bloke of my own thanks...a real one...I can see him and touch him and everything!
We're close too. We have our fun.
Oh, I get it. When he phones you really late at night...you have your fun?
Yeah, every night. Also, when he's at work, he can shut his office door and we can do stuff. He likes it when I turn my webcam on. He doesn't turn his on though, just in case someone walks in.
Well, you keep going on like it's not special and it is.
Well, excuse me for having an opinion on what I consider special and what I consider yucky and sordid. A few months ago, you were telling me you wouldn't dare send anyone pictures of yourself and, now, you're displaying it all on a webcam? You're mental! The guy's having you on!
No...and he said he loves me. He says it all the time actually.
Well, that's all right then!!! He has the ability to type the words 'I love you'. Give that man a round of applause!!
He says it on the phone...loads.
He says he loves you...what more could you ask for? Oh, I know...a bit of reality!
You're jealous. I'm happy and I don't give a shit what you think. We're together and, as soon as he's finished the major project he's working on, we're going to meet up. He's totally pushed to the limit at work at the moment. He hardly has time to chat to me, he's been so stretched. The last few days he's even been too busy to call me at night.
Chatting to other women probably. I wonder how many webcams he's viewing at one time. Look...I'm only trying to help you. I don't want to see you get hurt.
Well, I wont. I'm lucky to have found him. I'm not about to let you spoil it with all this rubbish. I've got to go.
Just take care, yeah? You're an easy target for blokes like him. They see you're desperate and you end up believing every word they say. Why wouldn't you? Don't trust him...he's just playing you. Seriously...take care.
I AM taking care. You think you know it all! Me and him...we're solid. As soon as he's freed up from work, we're going to go on holiday together. I'm on my way to the travel agent now. He said I should pick out where I want to go and then we can book it when he's not so busy.
Good luck with that.
You're such a jealous cow.
Yeah, I'm sooo jealous. I wish my boyfriend was a sleazy little internet letch who can never find the time to meet me. I wish my boyfriend was sitting at his computer all day pulling his plod. Yeah...really jealous.
He's not little...he's really fit.
Of course he is.
I've seen his picture.
Of course you have.
He will meet me. He's just too busy at the moment.
You mean...his wife wont let him.
I'm going. Have a nice life.
So will I!
For now ...
Chapter Four – Back to Life
Oh...you're talking to me then?
I wasn't sure if you'd say hello after all that stuff a few months back.
I was just having a weird time of it that's all. I was getting fed up with all the lectures. Not just from you that time, but from other people too. All of a sudden, my life was a joke and everyone thought they had the right to keep digging into it and make fun. Then, when you started as well, I just went off on one.
I was only thinking of you. It's not nice to think someone's messing your mates about. I couldn't just stand by and say nothing.
I know...but, at the time, I was happy to be messed about. I didn't want to hear the truth. I did know it. I just didn't want to hear it. When you spend so much time on your own, you just want someone...anyone. You start off fussy, then you become this desperate idiot. Well I did anyway.
You weren't desperate though. You just looked in the wrong place for a bloke that's all. You were lonely and vulnerable.
Well, a couple of years ago, I wouldn't have even entertained all his shit. Then, I got so fed up with having nothing, I was just happy to listen to someone's voice on the phone...telling me how wonderful I am. Even a text asking how I am meant a lot.
You're worth more than that.
Yeah, so everyone kept telling me. It didn't help though. They all gave me their advice and poked fun at me...then off they went, back into their perfect lives and left me to it.
You weren't ready to listen though. I think you needed to work your own way through it. You had to feel completely fed up with it all yourself before you could do anything about it.
Well, I felt like a complete and utter mug, but I kind of stopped myself thinking too hard about what a prat I was. I just lived every day as it if was a lovely dream. What a sad cow eh?
Sorry, I know you must have been in a right state over it all. I take it you're not still with him then. Do you and him still chat and stuff?
No, it ended a while back and, yes, you were totally right about him. I knew at the time you were right, but I just didn't want to hear it. I liked the feeling of having someone special. Most of it was made up in my head. I found myself filling in all the gaps with whatever I wanted...to convince myself I wasn't being such a gullible twat.
So did he have a wife or girlfriend then?
Yeah, and she found out about me. She was straight on the phone, slagging me off for leading her boyfriend astray. Poor him, being pestered and forced to have sexy conversations online and phone sex while she was asleep in bed.
Didn't you feel a bit sorry for her?
Yeah I did. I'd hate someone to do that to me, but I just felt selfish. I wanted something for ME for a change. I wanted everything he was promising. I wanted all the things I thought I could have with him...if that makes sense. I didn't care about anyone else. I didn't know her. I don't know her kids. I just didn't think about them...only myself.
God, you really were in a bad way!
Yeah, I was. I liked how he made me feel though. I liked the attention. I didn't care how it came about.
You must have been gutted when it ended like that. Talk about reality check!
You know...I think I was hoping she would find out and end it for us. It was like a never-ending thing. I knew it wasn't real and I knew it wouldn't be something I could have. He wasn't real. I mean, he did exist, but the person he said he was...didn't.
Yeah, I know what you mean. You probably weren't strong enough to end it yourself 'cos you liked it all too much.
Yeah...well. I bet she's watching everything he does now. He must have left clues everywhere...phone, email, Facebook. If she found any of the pictures we sent each other. Well, you can imagine what sort of ones they were. She'd have gone mental. I'm sure there would have been plenty of other women too...not just me.
I dread to think...and there was you not even wanting to bother with Facebook.
I know, it's amazing how it just creeps into your life and takes over. I still use it.
No more attached men though...I hope.
No way, but I have met this other guy.
Hah...yeah, but not attached. Not going there again. I want something real.
So, what's he like then? Have you met him?
Yes, I have actually met him. We're not sure about each other totally yet, but he lives quite near. There's no problem with distance or anything. I've even met his mum.
It's quite serious then. I mean, he's involving you in his life and his family.
Yeah, we just have to see how it goes. The more I see him, the more I'm feeling comfortable with him. The kids are okay with him. He's quite easy-going.
Good for you. I'm so pleased you're all sorted out.
Yeah, me too.
You were never desperate you know.
It felt like it, but I feel more in control now.
We all need someone to make us feel worth something. We just look in the wrong places sometimes.
I suppose so.
If a guy's eager to chat to you online and get serious within minutes...chances are that's what he does all the time. He probably used to take it more slowly, but doesn't see the point in wooing the ladies anymore. Why waste time doing that, when you can try your luck straight away? If it doesn't work straight off, another one will be waiting in another chat window.
Yeah, yeah...I do get it. You don't have to keep telling me.
I know, but it's always the same. I mean, if you meet a bloke in a pub with his mates and they're all pissed...chances are, that's where he will always want to be. Sooner or later you'll be left at home while he's out beering it up.
I know!! Seriously, I'm okay now. I know I want something real, even if it goes wrong sometimes. I want a proper life.
Good. Sorry, it's just so hard to find the right bloke sometimes. Maybe, we should sit in a library and catch ourselves a couple of quiet intellectuals.
Omg, that would be so boring...even the word 'intellectual' makes me want to fall asleep!
Yeah we'd soon dump them for a couple of loud hooligans. Look at my fella...he's all over the place! We always want whats bad for us.
Yeah I know. Anyway, I'm happy at the moment and my boyfriend is a real person!
Haha...yeah, it helps!
It does. To think I met him on Facebook. Imagine...without all this modern technology, I'd never have even known he existed.
Yep...so, apart from the stupid git that messed you about, I did you a favour by encouraging you to join up!
Yeah, it's all down to you! So, if this goes wrong, I'll be blaming you!
Of course!! Actually, talking of Facebook, I went on your farm the other day to see if you'd been around. I figured, if you'd been farming, it meant you were okay. I know...stupid...and all your crops are dead by the way!
Oh bloody hell...who gives a shit!?
© Tanza 2011