This is how you ruin Facebook for me every day

Judgmental walks down memory lane? Why not keep them to yourself instead of sharing them on social media?

 |  3-minute read |   10-08-2015
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What annoys me the most about Facebook posts (okay, after videos of cats writing Shakespeare’s plays and inspiring quotes about mundane pap stuck on photographs of trees) is those “nostalgia” bores. You know the ones. They start their posts with “when I grew up” in the 1970s/1980s/1990s, we had no tables or chairs or schools or apartment buildings and lived under the trees and were so happy because there was no internet. Also, there was evidently no irony either because it occurs to no one that they’re pasting this fantasy rubbish on a platform that exists only on the internet.

I also grew up in the 1970s and we had some stuff and we didn’t have others. Especially stuff that hadn’t been invented yet. This did not in any way make us greater than people who grew up after us or before us. People in the 1700s also went through their childhoods with little or no schooling, early marriages, as work slaves and with little medical attention. So the fact that they skipped along in cattle pastures chasing after butterflies and falling into cow pats doesn’t make me want to exchange my childhood with theirs. O ya, they had no internet though. Yaay, so lucky!

Nostalgia is all very well as it is and we all give in to it. It’s fun, it’s sentimental and it can even be seen as a form of history. But judgmental walks down memory lane? Why not keep them to yourself instead of sharing them on, gasp, that ghastly invention that you hate so much, Facebook?

True confession, making an untimely insertion: I was once a Luddite (cue in, Wikipedia, children) and quite against all technology. As a neo-convert, I’m quite zealous now as you can see, although I do vaguely remember the days when we used encyclopaediae and spelt it like that too.

And as for parents, they can definitely be trusted to disapprove of anything their children do. Long before computers and internet, if you were reading a story book, it was why aren’t you studying or why aren’t you asleep. (My mother and her aunt before her both used torches to read at night to fool their respective parents.) If you were studying, it was why aren’t you going outside to play. If you went outside to play and your clothes got dirty, it was why can’t you be clean like Blah Blah’s stupid, neat, annoyingly perfect children. (And before that it could well have been, so what if you’re nine, you will marry who I tell you to and now go and make dinner for your younger siblings.) None of that has changed. It’s just that grown ups forget. And then get all sickeningly sweet about their invented lives.

And so to the English gentleman who tried to get “socially networked” by running down the street and telling random people what he ate for breakfast and is now being followed by social workers, psychiatrists and the police and whose letter to the editor has gone viral on the internet. Yeah, I get that he was being funny and all. But I choose the people I want to be friends with on Facebook. You pick random strangers at your own peril, like in real life. And perhaps the dear gentleman only discusses Wittgenstein with his friends but the rest of us average folk just discuss average mundane rubbish. The human condition, eh?

And don’t get me started on Twitter because a more fabulous whatchamacallit has not been invented yet. The ideas, the trolls, the humour, the outrage, all the best and worst of the human condition in 140 characters. Even though it wasn’t invented when I was born in the early 1960s, I still retain the right to love it!

I must go now though and ignore some daft pictures of cats put up on Facebook by friends of mine.


Ranjona Banerji Ranjona Banerji @ranjona

The writer is a senior journalist who writes on media, politics and social issues.

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