Thursday, 23 July 2015

Joining The Social Networkers Club

Guys, I've got a bit of a confession to make. Judging by my usage of the fascinating word that is 'confession' in the just-mentioned sentence, I can sense that you will be doing much more than staring at your laptop's screen in a half-asleep daze. Well, I'm not kidding about 'fessing up, believe me! Yet, despite its significance, my confession doesn't represent the horrors that might run through somebody's mind while they anticipate some devastating, terrible or shocking news - mine is quite minor in comparison to several 'fess ups I've heard over the years and is quite unlikely to make its way onto The Huffington Post within the next hour. Already you can see that this is good news - there was never any reason to doubt the well-maintained status of this self-called 'goodie-two-shoes' teen! 

My confession? I've set up a Facebook account. Totally the sort of news that will be trending onto the Twittersphere within the next five seconds, isn't it? Thought so!

To many people, having a Facebook account is viewed as not only normal, but a way of life. Why? When we aren't at work or school, keeping in touch with your friends is all too tempting whilst surfing the internet - something which, after months of deliberating, I finally gave into last Sunday evening, setting up yet another me-shaped piece of internet within half an hour flat. 

Still, considering that I've always portrayed myself as being anti-Facebook - even, during the early months of Life as a Modern Teen, criticising social networking sites ( - joining Facebook out of the blue must come as a bit of a shock. Even now, I can't stop myself from occasionally wondering what possessed me to sign up to the world-famous social networking site less than a week ago; just weeks ago I hadn't even thought about it!

Really, you must be dying to find out why I was abruptly seized by madness to become yet another of Facebook's users. However, the reason for my actions is rather simple and, if you lived for thrills and excitement, quite boring: I wanted to stay in contact with my friends over the summer. Honestly, you are possibly thinking, is that IT? No intentions to join for the sake of being invited to booze-infested parties or posting grainy pictures of glossy pouts?! Well, what was the whole point of Facebook being created if it wasn't to be used for real fun? 

Unlike some people, I actually want to use Facebook for the actual purpose that it was created: communicating with my friends. And, when your mind stops obsessing over crazy parties and immature selfies, you might eventually realise that speaking to your friends is the whole point for having a Facebook account - a priceless asset that I could no longer deprive myself of having. 

What with living in a village which precisely locates me in the middle-of-nowhere (though, if I manage to get a lift via Mum Travel, I have the advantage of choosing several towns and cities to go into), meeting up with my friends isn't always an option because literally all of them reside in the nearby town. Besides, some of them are going away at different times, which means that I can't plan to see everyone at the same time. Yet, as all people with friends would understand, nobody wants to feel as though they have lost touch with anybody for nearly two months by the time school returns in September, do they? My friends are most definitely not strangers - hence why I don't want to risk them becoming practically unfamiliar to me because I don't communicate or see them during the summer holidays. 

Despite having several of their phone numbers, I'm constantly worrying about running out of 400 free texts I get on my smartphone's package every month if I text everyone all the time. Convenient it might be, yet texting can eat away into your phone's credit if you go overboard with it; bearing in mind that August is a long month, I doubt that I'd manage to the eighth day without texting over 400 times! Also, who is to say that all my friends have any credit on their phones? If the answer is a definite no, I will therefore find it impossible to speak to them!

Which is where Facebook becomes my holiday saviour. Not only can I see, to an extent, what my friends are up to (asides from sharing strange images onto their profile pages), but I have the option of speaking to them privately if I want to - without needing to spend a single penny! Basically, if something is free, easy and convenient, you'll be hard pressed to stop me from joining in; once determined, very little will stand in my way of getting what I want!

To be honest, that is all that I want to use Facebook for: the rest it has to offer doesn't interest me in the slightest. In fact, I've made my profile private from the public so that no strangers can post comments on my pictures, while I'm being quite selective about which friend requests I'll accept. Already, I've received requests from people who I assume (but don't know for sure) go to my school, yet I've neither spoken nor ever seen them - though this hasn't stopped them from asking me whether I'll be their 'Facebook Friend'! Seriously, these people would never give me a second glance in school, but suddenly seem interested as soon as I join Facebook - what planet are they on?! Then again, one quick look at their friends list - which, for some, goes well into the thousands - simply screams desperation to me. 

Some people might think that they are untouchable by posting 'glamourous' pictures of themselves on Facebook, yet hiding behind a screen doesn't automatically make you invincible, especially if it is for the purpose of gaining so-called 'popularity' on a virtual universe. Even though I'm a member of a virtual website, I use Facebook as an extension of reality - which involves my friends, who I love hanging out in real life. As for certain others, I wonder whether they have gotten the lines blurred between reality and fantasy - particularly when half of their friends lists consist of people who go to faraway schools, and are unlikely to know them inside out like you would with a real friend!

But you might wonder whether, now that I've fallen for the irresistible charm that is socialising with your friends on Facebook, I'll change my ways to keep up with the ever-evolving times. My answer? No. Just don't even consider my chatting people whom I barely know - or don't know at all! And the pouting in the manner of a cosmetically enhanced Kylie Jenner in order to attract hundreds of 'likes'? Not my style either. I have no problem with anybody else wishing to do that on their profile, but my mine? Absolutely, definitely and completely no way will I be pouting for the cameras in such a public way! Though this hasn't discouraged me from taking part in the selfie phenomenon, which has so far defined my teenage years with series of relaxed, happy pictures. And, so far, no pouts (albeit such types have since been deleted!). 

With Facebook able to keep me in touch with my friends for the next six weeks, I'm glad to say that my summer is looking significantly brighter - and will hopefully keep me close to my social circle until school once again defines my life in September. Happy days!

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