Hear no evil, Facebook no evil

I TURNED on the modem and my husband rolled his eyes.

Before I knew it, I’d felt an overwhelming urge to defend my online social networking. Was I the stereotypical house-wife of the 21st century? Always on Facebook, instead of the phone?

Admittedly, I am on the computer at some point most days, but I am seldom on for more than 30 minutes unless writing a column or looking for new homes.  So, a junkie, I ain’t.

However, a friend exclaimed she’d be computer-less for three or four days and I gagged at the thought. There’s so little of the day that actually belongs to me, so this one little luxury has become a tad sacrosanct.

Catching up for coffee when your friends are predominantly still part of the nine-to-five world is difficult enough, without factoring in the two children who would still require feeding, entertaining and bum-changing during your girly catch-up.

A Kansas professor researching the psychology of online relationships confirmed my beliefs that Facebook has replaced the water cooler conversations at the office.

“I think it comes down to the fact that there’s a continuous dribble — there’s always something new — so every time you go something has changed; somebody has updated their status; someone has sent you a request; someone has posted an item.

“So it’s a continuous link of hanging out in the halls with your friends between classes.”

Perhaps that is where my shameful addiction comes into play.

While Facebook is convenient for me to keep up with friends, it smacks of high school drama.

Between listing the number of friends you have and keeping up with the melee in others’ lives, Facebook can bring out the worst in people: including nasty gossip, bullying and narcissism.

Just how much of this negativity have I entered into unwittingly?

I haven’t kept count of – nor compared – my list of friends, but I must admit checking out friends’ photos and turning a pale shade of envy green for the fun they all seem to be having.

I have even encountered nasty posts on some people’s walls and removed “friends” whose angry outbursts became exhausting.

But, despite the cons, if I can’t imagine not logging on every couple of days, have I succumbed to the “gossip” gene of the common housewife? Exchanging pieces of neighbourhood information a little less than discreetly over the virtual fence?

Why wouldn’t I prefer a nice long soak in the tub over updating my status? The only answer I can come up with is escapism.

Facebook’s loyal followers regurgitate pieces of their own lives as a lifeline to those of us stuck inside our own minds for much of the day.

It’s always nice to find exciting news or a thought-provoking idea when you’re minding small people and  the only conversation you’ve had for the past three hours goes something like…

“Tree?”

“Yes, that’s a tree.”

“Book?”

“Yes, it’s a book.”

“Car?”

“Yes, that’s a car.”

“Shit?”

“Um, look a tree!”

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