Helena McAlpine: So, I know that it's not the 'done' thing to brag, gloat and generally rub it in on Facebook. But to hell with it. Na naa na naaa na! I'm in Raro-fricken-tonga baby! Yeah! It's the BEST birthday present! It's tooo good!
Actually, that status is about three weeks old now but it was just one of about a dozen I made, totally bragging about my trip to Rarotonga.
The holiday was a present from my bestie to celebrate my 32nd birthday and the end of my cancer treatments, so understandably, I was pretty stoked.
While Facebook is a great place to share all sorts of information and news, cyberly rubbing people's noses in it doesn't win you many friend requests.
While New Zealand was cold and wet, I was hot and dry, basking in glorious sunshine and doing tropical island things with fresh fish and coconuts. And I just couldn't help posting updates and photos as often as my tanned legs could saunter down to the internet cafe.
As a result I wasn't overly popular by the time I got back.
Having someone pop up on your feed with good news is actually quite a lovely thing.
It could be the birth of a baby (congratulations Deano & Jelena!), the winning of an award (well done Jay!) or a long-awaited engagement (about time Paula & Lindsay!)
It's like being at a party where nothing but nice things are being talked about - suddenly there are people popping in from all over the place to join in the thread and throw a virtual high five.
Occasionally people are coy about their good news but want to share anyway. However just updating that you are "...happy!" can lead to a number of incorrect conclusions!
I can officially confirm that a well-known friend of mine is neither pregnant, nor engaged (she was actually 'happy' about a new job!), but it was really interesting to see how quickly the news she was 'happy' spilled over into the real world: within hours, speculations of all sorts had surfaced from her friends.
Such is the power/danger of Facebook. As with texting, emailing and even old-fashioned letter writing, things can be misconstrued.
A poorly placed comma or the caps lock left on can result in the reader drawing their own conclusions and then running riot with any number of assumptions.
And heaven forbid if you get your emoticons mixed up. Not that I ever would. I've never actually emoticoned in my life and if I ever was going to I would be compelled to be grammatically correct about it. Semi-colon, dash, lower case 'p'.
So, the occasional Facebook self-pat-on-the-back is ok. However updating every hour about your awesome all-expenses-paid week-long 'work'-trip to Ibiza is mean and annoying. Yes Clarke Gayford. I'm talking about you.
And what about self promotion? I know I do it all the time. Unashamedly.
I've Facebooked about videos I've made; shows I've been on; things I've written and just being awesome in general.
It's kind of like a self affirmation; a mantra. Saying out loud to the virtual community that you ARE brilliant makes you FEEL brilliant. Ooo, Anthony Robbins would be proud.
But it's not always about me.
I've spent the last four days furiously posting comments, tagging photos and uploading videos to help promote Autozamm's latest album 5th Degree.
I'm not in the band, or even much of a groupie (it's hard to fit in being a groupie with my busy schedule these days and from what I remember of doing it in the nineties, it wasn't that fulfilling).
It's because I genuinely love the music and I want to see my mates do well.
So all hail the power of hyperlinking and online blogging and Facebook. I am brilliant at using all of them and their online cousins to spread my words of awesomeness.
And, yes. I'm aware that I'm bragging...
* Helena will happily accept Facebook friendship requests from people who apply with a short message.By Helena McAlpine Email Helena