Facing up to Facebook

Dear Auntie, _ I'm addicted to Facebook, spending days online desperate to add more 'friends' to my profile and consumed with the need to spill the most intimate details about my life. What should I do? _ Lost in Cyberspace

October 2, 2007 · 2 min read

Dear Lost in Cyberspace,

Auntie has always caught the whiff of the zeitgeist, toyed with it and moved on before the party starts – Stalkbook is no exception. Marshall McLuhan said ‘Publication is a self-invasion of privacy’ – it’s our ultimate freedom, so why give it away? When your house gets burgled because you announced in detail your upcoming holiday, don’t be surprised if the insurance company thinks you’re an idiot – Auntie thinks the same.

You need a reality check when you suffer anxiety because you’ve fewer

Facebook ‘friends’ than that loser Chloe from primary school, and compete in the friendship race on the basis that if they are alive and on the same planet then they all count the same. For the record, ‘friend’ doesn’t mean the trainer at the gym you once went to five years ago.

Auntie quickly tired of corresponding with people she spent a lifetime avoiding (and Andrew in Facebook’s London network, Auntie is not a ‘naughty schoolgirl’, you sleazy perve). There’s a reason when the ‘friend’ you haven’t thought about in years writes ‘Let’s meet up soon’ why it’s best it doesn’t happen. And hell, what’s this ‘meeting up’ business anyway – why bother when Facebook is open 24/7 and you can avoid the buses. Your life is not qualitatively improved by hourly updates on Matt from Birmingham’s shoe fetish; and just because Kath in Liverpool likes curries too it doesn’t mean she’s your soulmate. Take a deep breath and kill your page. We have a world to win, barricades to storm, dancing to be done, pubs to crawl and people to snog. It’s better than a virtual ‘poke’ any day.

The crack pipe of peace

Dear Auntie _ War, famine, economic depression and global warming - the idea that 'another world is possible' seems remoter than ever. Will we ever have a just and peaceful world? _ Desperate for peace, Preston

Learning by number

Dear Auntie _ At one of the Gaza protests in London, Stop the War put the number of protesters at around 100,000 but the police insisted it was only 20,000. Can Auntie reassure me that the Met has a scientific methodology for estimating crowd numbers? _ Numberless in London

No hope

Dear Auntie, All my left-wing friends seem to be overjoyed about Obama winning the US election, holding real hope that he will bring change, that he'll stop the wars, and that he'll somehow make America all cuddly and nice. But haven't we been here before? I'm getting flashbacks to the expectations people had of politicians like Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, and how quickly they betrayed us. Is it terrible that I think Obama will be just more of the same? Hopeless, London

Both feet not in the grave

Dear Auntie, Having reached 50, I've become invisible. It's the only explanation of why people look right through me. I'm ignored in shops and at bus stops; and getting served at the bar is an endurance test, as men and younger women always take priority. I have a lifetime of experience as an activist, but these days there's always a 'Darren' or 'Ryan' whose opinion matters more. I'd go as far as saying they don't even hear me speak! It seems white hair and wrinkles are taken as an early indication of Alzheimer's. But I'm not ready to go gently into the night and as Auntie looks of a similar age, does she have any advice? The invisible woman, London

Do what I say, not what I inhale

Dear Auntie, _ My daughter is starting to ask awkward questions such as 'Mum, did you take drugs when you were young?' I don't want to lie but I don't want her to venture down the same route. What do I tell her? _ Amy in London

Nice smelling poo

Dear Auntie, _ I'm a vegetarian who is fed up having to justify why I don't eat anything with a face on it. And it's the environmentalists who are also meat eaters who seem the most personally affronted by my choices. Do you have any suggestions how I can deal with this? _ Chickpea not chicken lover, Totnes