Blonde at the Bar
Our resident blonde Joanna Hunkin on dating and the social scene



Okay, I realise I am - and I quote "the hip, young thing" in the office [bear in mind I work in an office full of predominantly middle-aged males] - but seriously, if one more person asks me about bloody Facebook, I am going to hit them.
It seems all anyone is talking about these days is the "social networking phenomenon" that is Facebook.
Or should I say "the latest social networking phenomenon" following on from Bebo, MySpace and the dreaded Ringo.
Last week alone saw five million people join Facebook - according to my surrogate flatmate.
Surrogate, because he does not actually pay rent or have a bedroom, but since signing on to Facebook he has refused to leave our house as he doesn't have broadband at home.
And, no, I am not joking.
Every day I come home to a progress report on how many friends he has made that day. He is currently up to 134.
I don't just get this at home. At work, I am constantly explaining what Facebook is, how it works and how it is different to other sites.
I cannot get away from it.
I have nothing against Facebook. It is a useful social tool for keeping in touch with friends abroad and those you may have lost contact with over the years.
But why has everyone started talking about it so much? Why the sudden obsession?
I first created a profile in April, after much harassment from overseas friends.
Every few days I would receive a new friend request, mostly from people I went to primary school with in Hong Kong.
But over the past few weeks, every time I log in, I have at least three new friend requests. Many of which are from people I am not actually friends with.
I don't get it - if you wouldn't stop and talk to me in the street, why add me as a friend on Facebook?
It's stupid.

Do you really think anyone cares that you have 100, 200 or 300 friends? Would you ever have a party and invite all those people?
Don't get me wrong - there are some upsides. I love getting random messages from people I haven't seen in years.
Finding out their news and knowing that, should I happen to be in their neck of the woods, I can easily and instantly contact them.
But if you don't know me, don't like me or don't acknowledge me in real life, do not make me part of your silly popularity contest.
And yes, I do realise that by blogging about Facebook, I am in fact perpetuating the hype. But at least now when people ask me about it, they won't be quite so surprised when they receive a swift punch to the arm . . .
NB: So I don't have to explain Facebook ever again, here is a quick rundown:
Basically, it is a virtual year book. You have a page with your photo, details, interests, etc. You have a "wall" where people can post messages to you and about you.
People can only see your page if you confirm them as your friend. To find friends you simply search under their full name and receive a list of people with that name, their photo and, usually, their hometown.
Whenever you log in, you receive updates about your friends - what they're up to, if they've added new photos, etc.
There are other applications and things you can add to your page but they are generally superfluous.
There is also a particularly odd function called a "poke" which you can send to other people.
I have yet to understand what the purpose of this is, other than to creep people out when they read "You have been poked by Gerald Rogers".

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