The Facebook Disease

As many of you may know, I am an illustrious member of the Twitterati online. For those confused, let me explain, I use Twitter a lot. So much in fact that I am close to my 15,000th tweet as I write this. And I sit safe in the knowledge that I will easily surpass this figure by tomorrow. For those of you who don’t like or understand Twitter, hang in there, I’m going to be ranting. So there’s something for everyone.

Social networking started years ago with Myspace and the suicide hotline Bebo. This was long before Facebook began to dominate our lives. The giddy teenagers would sign up and try to gather as many friends as they loosely knew as possible, and some they don’t know who often turned out to be middle aged men seeking their next target. And here my rant begins.

Myspace and Bebo very quickly became a popularity contest and a game of one upmanship. It was very much a matter of “my friend count is bigger than yours”. This trend quickly spread to Facebook like a venereal disease. Don’t get me wrong. I did it too. I have a countless number of people from my primary school that I haven’t spoken to since I was ten years old. But it makes you wonder, what’s the point?

Social networking is meant to be used as a way of communicating with people and staying in touch with friends, not a way of getting more neighbors on Farmville to fertilize your non-existent crops. I know so many people who do what can best be described as, stalking strangers by browsing their photo albums. Now that’s not creepy in any way folks. Last year, we even had the chance to see the head of MI5 on his Summer Holidays. The dreams and ambitions of the founding fathers of Facebook have been fulfilled.

I’m bored of Facebook. So what a relief when I found Twitter. I once heard someone say this, “I use Facebook for the people I know. I use Twitter for the people I wish I knew.” And for a while I honestly believed that this guy had a point. Twitter was an inspiration, but even inspiration can be spoilt.

Duncan “I’m out” Bannatyne from Dragons Den recently came up with the idea for his followers (no Twitter isn’t a cult) to post ‘#duncansdream’ on every one of their tweets. This way, all of his followers could find and follow each other and in doing so create a nice community of like-minded people. A nice idea on paper, but just wait until the Facebook disease penetrates the external Twitter defenses, and you see a good idea ruined.

There is a “followback” culture on Twitter. You follow me and out of common courtesy, I will follow you back. And this has given rise to “Team Followback”. People desperate for followers, not because they are interested in what they might say, but because the number by their name increases. I am fed up of people begging me to follow them.

“I’m 26 followers away from 300, please follow me. Please. Please follow me. FOLLOW ME NOW.” Maybe groveling like that once is ok, but as soon as they hit 300 and they’re begging to reach 400. These people are about as interesting as a James Corden comedy show. So interesting that I read their messages and I want to cry tears of blood from my ears. SO INTERESTING that they might as well not be among the living. Some people want more followers because they enjoy social interaction, but you don’t get any of that from these people. Duncan’s dream has become a nightmare. I tried it myself, I quickly got 30 new followers, I deemed one of these people interesting and the rest were begging single celled organisms with the wit and charm of a tube of sausage paste.

This is a message to the people who are so desperate to gain followers that they will ruin the single best method of doing so. You don’t write anything of merit. You are repetitive and boring. If I met you, I would hate you. You ruining Twitter. And for your information, I am 999,587 followers away from even slightly caring how many people follow you. Get back on Facebook.

I hope I haven’t disillusioned too many people with my bile and venom. I know I have some followers on Twitter who have tried these methods. But I also know that they did it because they believed in the original idea and just wanted more people to talk to. They didn’t want insufferable arses repeatedly moaning about their follower count.

That, or people blabbering about Justin Bieber.

One response to “The Facebook Disease

  1. I don’t get Justin Beiber, am I too old? ;-)

    I didn’t really get into My Space or Bebo, but long ago got annoyed with friends on my facebook that I’ve long since forgotten. In fact a little while I had a cull, there are some people on there because I’m too nice but I’m well over the friend count thing.

    I did put literally two tweets out with #duncansdream on and over the course of a few days it did gain me about 50 followers, the most of which, with the exception of the followers I followed back interested in meeting new people. But, as you’ve put most of them didn’t have much interesting to say or ironically unfollowed me a couple of days later. In fact a few didn’t even reply to my hello tweets – harumph! So I think there is much to be said for quality over quantity.

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