There is this special friend in my life that I spend time with at least 1 hour a day. Whenever I open his window, he would ask me gently “what is on my mind?” Or “how am feeling today”. He can be available at any time day and night welcoming my silly comments and anything I feel the urge of sharing. It is more awkward, if I tell you that my husband happen to have the same person as a mistress and so does my father, my brother and 864 people from my family and friends. Our common lover’s name is Facebook!
See, I spend a big deal of time thinking about my relation with Facebook and how does it affect my social life. I concluded that there is very few things in life that I can’t do with my blue and white personal profile. We can gossip, watch videos, play games, remember old memories while viewing old albums, celebrate birthdays, attend events, support causes, discuss politics, read, write, and even Poke people for fun!
In fact Facebook is a reflection of my social life and is ruled by the complexity of my human connections and ties. For example, there are things you keep public and others you keep private. You can show things to some people and hide them from others. There are some pictures which you want to share with your friend but hide from your family, and feelings you can’t put on your status because you care for the feelings of your friends or fear to hurt your colleagues at work.
I totally disagree with people who say “get a life and sign out from social networks” because the best profiles belong to people who actually have A Life, as the more you do things on the real life, the more writings, pictures and stories you have to share and thus you get a more interesting virtual life.
It is true that I’ve had some symptoms of facebook addiction sometimes like when I sat on the morning after my wedding to upload the nearly 200 pictures captured by my friend Corinne. Or when 5 minutes after I delivering with a cesarian I asked for my mobile to announce the birth of my son from the reanimation room. Yet, for a person who lived in different countries of the world and who has friends from over 40 countries what could be better and cheaper to keep in touch other than Facebook! Well, sometimes I cheat on facebook with the new guy called twitter, but that doesn’t count because I made sure they know about the time I spend with the other by synchronizing them.
When I lost a job because an article I published on facebook few years ago, I decided to go Off-Line and reconsider my priorities. Then, I started hearing people around me talk about all sorts of things I was missing like who met who and who said what and that video that went viral and that funny picture about that famous politician… I found myself in less than a month melting out of temptation like a kid in a candy shop. I am still proud of my record of 27 days of abstinence. Another diet on the list!
I should confess that it sometimes scares me to think about data security and confidentiality and about sharing more than what I am supposed to do with a global platform that I do not control. I even get more scared when I think that I have exposed and gave my son a virtual identity that he might not want to have once mature enough to decide for himself. However, I comfort my self by repeating that if someone wants my data there is worse than facebook like satellites, cell phones or my Bawaab (door-man), unless I choose to isolate my self from modern life and live with the Touaregs in the great sahara.
I believe that so far facebook has been a great window of opportunities for me to have a mental image about political views and general trends. I have a very diversified friend list of journalists, activists, artists, family, childhood classmates who range from the extreme right to the extreme left. I also have photo albums, series of statuses, groups, and pages that constitute together my Virtual Capital!
Finally, I wanted to talk with you about what happens to my virtual identity if I die. I take the opportunity to ask you not to put a black and white picture with a black bar on my profile picture and start unfriending me right away, because maybe there is an afterlife for me and Facebook Mon Amour when I leave definitely the physical world…