The Tobermory Effect: Facebook Friends Fiasco?
OK, so there has been much comment in the last couple of days about Facebook changes – and I being me paid almost no attention, because while my security settings are fairly tight, I regard anything I publish on their as potentially “public domain”. I have hundreds of people who are at best slight acquaintances on my Facebook, and that has never bothered me in the slightest. Recently I set my post settings to “friends of friends” to allow ex-girlfriends and others who have chosen not to add me to see photos taken in the past — I see no harm in this. If something is sensitive I won’t post it on Facebook, and my friends could copy and paste stuff without my permission anyway of they really wanted to. Still I refrain from “public” settings, because I dislike receiving spam as much as the next guy, and I have known plenty of “interesting” characters over the years. If you are on my Facebook I probably like you after all, but I don’t need to tell the whole world about everything.
Now Facebook have done an interesting revision, and a small blue box in the corner of my screen constantly updates me with all my friends comments to other friends. Of course this only effects wall postings etc, mot private messages — and you can only see people set to “public” or “friends of friends” posts. Still I may well now change my settings back for privacy — but in the meantime I am having fun.
It started when I suddenly began to see the possibilities. I have long been a fan of Saki, HH Munro,and one of his best lines came to me. In Saki’s short story Tobermory a cat is taught to speak English, and his sardonic observations on the things he has witnessed cause havoc at a country house party. The line I thought of was this…
Miss Scrawen, who wrote fiercely sensuous poetry and led a blameless life, merely displayed irritation; if you are methodical and virtuous in private you don’t necessarily want everyone to know it.
So what if my friends of friends suddenly became convinced I was a wild girl-whipping goat-rustling bigfoot-faking desperado? I suddenly saw the potential – now I could get a reputation as a wild rake, lover and daredevil, and all without leaving my keyboard. I may be a Church Times reading Anglican who falls over after a single glass of wine, and hardly ever says boo to a goose, but now my Facebook alter ego could be something amazing. All I had to do was cultivate on my friends comments. Now of course “friends of friends” have always been able to read my comments on the mutual friends wall, but the problem was when I posted about just getting back from running my Yeti-Massage course in the wilds of the Appalachians, some might point out this was utter bullshit. Now I saw a way of publicizing my (fictional) life of vice! Of course I would have to create fictional Facebook friends and get them linked to people – against the Terms & Conditions – or would I?
So I decided to try & started, confident that thousands of friends of friends would prefer the new bogus, CJ! My first post was rather mild –
This Facebook thing where you can see your friends comment with people you don’t know is a ludicrous thing. I know want to invent a couple of imaginary friends, make them Facebook accounts and then post about all the orgies, goat rustling, & bank robberies and so forth we are committing. Just because your personal life is dull and blameless does not mean you want the world to know. Now I can create my own scandals!
And my friend Vicky replied “go for it!” Her friends clearly deserved to know more, so I responded…
You remember the time you Hugh and I dressed up as aliens to abduct Traffic Wardens before selling them to the Welsh? Now all your friends and mine know about this sordid episode, lol!
You can see where this is going? Vicky chose to expose Vampire Hunting in Pittville, so I responded with
Yes, but that was nothing compared with the naked roller derby around Dudley with members of several Boy Bands and the Girl Guides…
until eventually we reached the nadir of
Yes indeed, very true. But for now I am happy that my thirty year obsession with the Bay City Rollers will finally be public knowledge, and that the fact that I faked the infamous Beechwood Arcade Yeti footage is inadvertently revealed to hundreds of friends of friends!
OK, all very childish. But one really could character assassinate a “friend” this way. Then a new idea struck me –
I am resisting the urge to spend the rest of the day commenting on what a fine game Ars Magic rpg by Atlas Games is on all my friends posts just to engage in guerrilla marketing on Facebook and make them realize how this new system of showing people you don’t knows comments is open to abuse and will cost them marketing revenue!
Serious point really. You see you could just comment on peoples posts something like the following…
oh and I just enjoyed a cool refreshing PEPSI while eating a KRISPY KREME donut. Now for a fabulous pint of CARLINGbefore I jump in a HONDA CIVIC and dash off to watch CHERYL COLE in concert. Hell once they realise this is a guerilla marketers wet dream they will stop it?
Anyway it”s all rather amusing, but I guess I’ll change my settings to friends only. But still, where there are new features there are always ways to play with the, and my wicked wanton and wayward persona is now well established in the shocked minds of anyone who pays any attention to the little blue box, if anyone does, and I am happy for that. If one is fairly virtuous in public one does not want the world to know – so I call this “the Tobermory Effect”.