Today I am going to have a cyber makeover by updating my Facebook profile picture. With the click of a button, you are going to see me in my favourite blue dress, perched perfectly on security rails with blue skies and cotton wool white clouds cascading behind me. Ah don’t I look lovely? Before you answer, I have to let you know that this flattering picture of perfection is a departure from the current state of affairs. It was taken 14 months ago and bears minimal semblance to the girl typing who is suffering from tangled hair and post adolescence pimples.
When I first signed on to Facebook, it was with caution and trepidation. Two years later, I have been sucked into this vortex of narcissism where I view my profile picture as my mirror. Don’t judge me if your album just shows your pre-pregnancy pictures or your pre-beer belly photos. The seductive illusion gets worse when it spills into your social life. If your Facebook page is filled with Jpeg clips of parties, weddings, and festivals, people buy the lie that you must have a booming social life. You could be at home bored out of your mind hoping even a telemarketer would call, but your albums have created the idea that you live a charmed, champagne popping lie life.
Naturally, the charm flows into our social network because Facebook has redefined friendship as we know it. Thanks to Facebook ‘friends’, even the most anti-social people appear to be Mr. Famous and Miss Congeniality. According to my Facebook page, I have 600+ friends, but I can admit that only 1% of that number are what I will call friends. Today Facebook has become the yellow pages of our lives. We use it to find friends and plumbers or to announce births, deaths and divorces. Changed employers? Update your Facebook. Just got hit by a truck, go on Facebook and describe the pain on your status.
If I could leave everything behind and take only one thing from Facebook, I would take the Hide button. Recently, a girl sitting next to me on a Megabus asked ” That is a really pretty picture. Who is she?”
“Oh that is me” I purred. “No WAY” she concluded emphatically. I was too shy to defend myself, I only wished I could reach for the Hide button.