If you’re not on Facebook – you don’t exist

It’s interesting how Facebook has become so much a part of our everyday cyber-lives that we probably can’t even remember what life was like before it existed.

I sent an e-mail to the guy who’s arranging the Swedish Metal Exhibition here in Malmo in October, to ask about Sebastian Bach’s schedule. Figured it would be way easier than trying to get in touch with Baz himself. Sebastian uses Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and his website for posting stuff more than reading his emails. It’s pointless trying to get in touch with him personally and I didn’t want to bug his manager (yet).
 
Anyway, I got a reply almost right away, where the guy greeted me with my full name (which I hadn’t used and it’s not even included in my sender-info). He said he had been trying to find me on Facebook but couldn’t find me there. He had wanted to ask me if I had any ideas, feedback or interesting contacts to share.

It dawned on me that this Facebook-thing is worse than I thought. If you’re not on there, you don’t exist. It’s pretty spooky actually.
I heard something similar about a year ago when I bumped into a guy who had just kicked off a rock club in town. He said he had been looking for me on Facebook to send me an invitation to the premiere, but since I wasn’t there, he “didn’t know how to find me”.

If I hadn’t known him for years, I would have thought that it was only a lame excuse for having forgotten to send me an invitation, but he was dead serious.

Come on, people?! I’m STILL in the freaking phonebook – and THAT is available online and public in Sweden. I STILL have my e-mail addy and if everything else fails, go through Sweden Rock – I’m still a member of their writing staff. It’s not like I fell off the map.

I just don’t like Facebook.
I DO have two accounts on the fucking thing. One public page (that complements this blog – In The Rearview Mirror, which can be found here: IN THE REARVIEW MIRROR ON FACEBOOK and another “private” one that I quite honestly don’t even have my very best and closest friends on.

There is a reason for that.
I don’t think it’s good with too much openness. People share EVERYTHING on Facebook, it’s so implemented in everybody’s everyday life, that they don’t even think about it anymore. It could be personal joys and disappointments, trivial thoughts and episodes, pictures, links, political and religious views… Everything. And it’s the perfect arena for drama and even blackmail. I’ve seen it happen and heard it from others. I don’t want to be a part of it.

My friends are my friends – in real life. I know how to get in touch with them by phone or e-mail or other ways. I don’t need Facebook for that.

I have less than 20 people on my private Facebook-page. Most of them actually in one way or another associated with Jon Oliva, because they are in a way, “family”. They are my friends but for the most part of the year, we don’t have anything in particular to share, everybody’s doing their own thing. But by staying in touch through Facebook, at least I know if anyone is coming to this part of the world as a part of some other band’s crew. That way we can meet again.

Or, like recently, when they put together the Matt LaPorte Memorial Concert. I couldn’t be there and I so wish that I could. But by being connected to them all, I found lots of great photos from there, videos and comments, messages from people who attended or participated, and in a way it was the closest thing to actually being there.

Other than the Jon Oliva’s Pain-family, I’ve got my sister and two-three other friends on there that I obviously could get in touch with easily by phone that are on the page because I or they wanted to share something that was only available on FB.

But frankly, I don’t want to know too much about people’s personal lives. It’s gotten out of hand. I want to hear what’s new directly from them, and I prefer to hear the “long version” in a friend-to-friend conversation on the phone or face to face over a glass of wine or a cup of tea. It just feels more right that way.

It’s way too easy to misunderstand the cryptic short comments on FB. Sometimes people can write something like: “Some people are just total assholes, fuck you!”. And you end up wondering: “Did I do something?? Or was it somebody else?”

Or you might be in a bad mood yourself, interpret it to fit your current mindset and end up going “Well fuck you too if you got pissed just because I forgot to call you last night!”. You know what I mean? There’s too much room for misunderstandings on that site and I don’t want to get too mixed up with the Facebook-lifestyle.

I share stupid things on there if I’m bored. Mostly videos or links. Or if I’m out travelling somewhere, maybe a short comment of joy or frustration, but that’s about it.

When there was only MySpace, it wasn’t as easy to find people, because you didn’t really use your own name. Not necessarily. And eventhough you could search by e-mail, it still wasn’t as easy as with Facebook. It was a challenge and maybe at the same time a test – how eager are you REALLY – honestly – to get in touch with this person? Because if you truly ARE, you’re gonna Google like crazy to get info about that person and how to get in touch with him or her. It’s not impossible.

The Facebook-generation has made it too accessible, too easy, you add people like it’s a contest. But it was the same on MySpace – people sent requests left and right just to show off who had the longest “friends”-list.

And once you have someone on your Facebook-thing, you are somehow fooled to believe that you are now “in touch” with them and that you know what’s happening in their life, so you don’t call them as much anymore.
So I have to wonder- is it really a network for socializing, or is it in fact more for one-way communications?

Neil Murray (bassplayer extraordinaire with everybody, if you’re not familiar with this legendary musician. He’s played with Whitesnake, Black Sabbath, Brian May and many more, to name just a few) had a good point this morning when he left the following message for his friends on FB:

Neil Murray
I apologise (-ize) to everyone who wants to be my Facebook ‘friend’ that I can’t say yes to, as I’m near my limit. I have a ‘fan page’, Neil Murray Bass Guitarist, but that’s not really the same thing. Sorry also to the people that I quietly ‘unfriend’, but I think a lot of them won’t notice as there’s no particular connection between them and me.

He got comments along the lines of: “Yey! I’m still here!” and “Please don’t delete me, we used to talk in the 80’s!”  Well, that’s nice, that you used to talk in the 80’s? But do you have anything to share NOW?

I used to talk to Neil when he was with Black Sabbath (the Tony Martin-era) and he was always a very kind man, a perfect gentleman. Quiet and classy. When he comes through Sweden every once in a while, I text him and he takes time to come and say hello and talk a little before he continues on to his business and I to mine.
In a sense he is a friend, but one that I don’t exactly call every day to ask abut how his day was. If he removed me from his friends-list, I guess it wouldn’t kill me. If I wanted to see him when he’s here, I can just call or text him. But I never use his number for any other reason.

Maybe I’m just old-school. I realize that you have to be on that stupid site nowadays, because “everybody else” is. It’s mandatory. But I don’t like their “American style” rules. Their opinion about nudity for instance. Nirvana’s cover for the album “Nevermore” was REMOVED from the site because it had a naked baby on it! After massive protests, FB put it back up.

I remember uploading a pic from an Egyptian exhibition and it was removed because it was a wooden statue of a naked man or woman, don’t remember. Is Facebook going to censor out history too or what the hell…?!

And all the info they want about you – phone numbers, addresses, they know EVERYTHING about you. In the wrong hands, that could be potentially dangerous. So again, I’m not totally OK with FB, eventhough I know that it you want to market yourself, that’s the only place to be – at least for now.

Things will probably look different 5 years from now. EVERYBODY used to be on MySpace too, then everybody disappeared from the site just as quickly – NOW it’s totally dead. Same thing could happen to Facebook. Things change a lot faster than we might realize in cyberworld.

So – guess there are good or bad sides to everything. I’ve got a thing or two to say about MySpace and Youtube as well, guess that should be saved for another blog. :-) 

 HALFORD – Cyber World

Youre trapped inside my Cyber World
Consumed up as my web unfurls
No secrets left for our mankind

My virus lurks throughout your veins
Im spreading there inside your brain
A Trojan Horse that eats your mind

Cyber World
Cyber World
Ive got your power

Cyber World
Cyber World
I will devour, yeah

At speed of lies I will connect
I search and surf as I infect
Computerized catastrophe

Your informations what I steal
I scan you till you are unreal
Transmit your power into me

Cyber World
Cyber World
I’ll steal your mind

Cyber World
Cyber World
For all mankind, yeah

you’re dying in my Cyber World
you’re lying in my Cyber World

4 comments

  1. firewind2011

    Weird! I was just talking about this with the nurse todaySent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

  2. West Side Dave

    Once again, I totally agree w/ you on the Facebook thing. I do have one [have liked the profile for this page], but it`s all getting out of hand. Facebook NOW is where My Space was about 5 years ago. It`s just that now there`s even more emphasis [and media exposure] on the whole social network thing. I I use it mainly to post videos & links, but I do so on both Facebook AND My Space. I prefer the “Real World” and use these sites as communication, not as a substitution for reality.

  3. Daniela

    Dave – you’re right, it’s heading in the same direction. So, it’s only a matter of time before Facebook’s popularity fades. Never seen the same kind of hysteria for any other site before, not even MySpace back in the day (only about 5 years ago, feels like ages!). A friend of mine admitted, when we were on the phone last night, that she hasn’t actually SPOKEN to any friends all week! Only communicated through internet. She felt weird about it, and wanted to make an effort to change it. I hope people realize that they are killing their friendships more than maintaining them…

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