What’s the downside to all this social networking? Finding out that I am terminally unpopular.
For God’s sake poke me
For 44 years there has always been an element of doubt. Now, though, the issue has been clearly and forcefully resolved. There is no room for doubt any longer. I am terminally unpopular.
I have just four Facebook friends, one of whom is a woman I don’t recognise and have never met. There is no graffiti on my wall and one of my friend’s questions is “What are you doing for the planet?”. Nothing intimate or affectionate there.
This digital blankness extends to my online photo album. No one sees it and when I tell my mum about it – who is actually interested – she says “Oh great, what’s the email number?”.
The only time the visit counter clicks over is when I go there myself to see if anyone else has visited. And the last time I did that, the photos had disappeared, leaving those weird little blue question marks in their place. Even the technology is against me.
I don’t have a Gmail address or a MySpace account. I don’t have a BlackBerry, which, now that they’re no longer the shape of a cricket box and can actually fit in your pocket, is something even I find amazing. It’s confirmed: I’m an unloved luddite.
Kevin Rudd, though, has 5000 Facebook friends and many more people waiting to become his friend. Imagine that, a queue to become someone’s friend? He’s so popular one of his drudges is currently negotiating to have the Facebook friends limit lifted so that he can have at least 5000 people who have poked him. No wonder he wants to become prime minister.
His rival John Howard has been poked by far fewer people, but he’s doing okay. There are five Johnny sites and he has lots of friends, including, most recently, Rakesh Rambocus and Will Coote. Never heard of ‘em? Me neither. But perhaps you can become famous simply by poking the Prime Minister. Janette did. And he’s hanging around with some seriously A-list people. One of his top friends is Kim Il Sung. True. Check out John Howard’s friend list.
The quantum approach to friendship isn’t just an online phenomena either. Have you ever seen the society pages of the Sunday papers? There’ll be a few shimmering pictures of the latest celebrity wedding and a caption that reads “Simone and Joshua opted for a low key affair, with 250 of their closest friends joining them in their celebration”.
250 close friends? There were seven people at my wedding, including my wife and I, the celebrant and the photographer. I reckon I could get all my close friends into a late-model people mover, without putting the armrests up. I can get all my Christmas cards written in my lunch hour and I’d estimate that I get poked about once every six weeks.
Clearly, this is not how life should be. Please, give my life some meaning. Help lift me out of the dark void of invisibility. I get it now, I understand how it works. Poke me.
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Weng Ho Chong writes: Dear John. It’s sad isn’t it? Wanting, needing, pleading to be poked, and not getting any. I went to Facebook to poke you, but it requires me to join up. I’m not gonna join any club that would allow me in, sorry. I think you have to get back to your farm, boy. Forget Second Life, get a real one first.
Morris Kaplan writes: I had a birthday bash last weekend and had put the word out: my three children and one ex-wife turned up. Now that’s terminal unpopularity! I’ll leave Facebook for those with social skills.