Monday, 12 April 2010


Used in the right way, Facebook is a brilliant innovation. For me, it’s a way of staying in contact with friends and family living on distant shores without the need of having to put pen to paper (though I must confess there's something special about receiving a handwritten letter, rare as they are now). It’s a great way of staying connected and having a window into friends' worlds and vice versa.

And then, of course, there’s the other side. I found myself indulging in something I didn’t really think I was about – Facebook stalking. Snooping is one thing but going a little deeper is something else. Okay, for some context: it was a boring Sunday night, there was nothing decent on TV so I clicked onto Facebook to skim through a few friends’ pages. While browsing through one friend’s profile, I fell upon a name from the past that had commented on his page. It wasn’t so much the name itself but the name I associated with the name. The comment was basically from a woman called Jo, a friend of an ex-girlfriend of mine. I hadn’t seen or heard from this ex since the heady days of the mid-90s. But having seen Jo's comment I thought “to hell with it” and started digging.

Before long I found myself scanning through some of Jo’s photos (she had kindly not limited access to her pictures which enabled random strangers like myself to view them). It did feel kind of creepy snooping in this way - I hadn’t been invited as a “friend”, Jo probably wouldn’t even remember me from Adam, I didn't even know whether they were friends and, heaven forbid, what would she think if she found out. But there I was looking through her photos, her family events and her memories in search of something vague on a distant ex of mine. And without having to dig through too many holiday pics and bithday parties photos, et voila - there she was. The first picture of the ex I discovered her new surname. The second, her new baby.

Yes, it was a little bizarre. But what surprised me most was my general reaction. Okay, the memories started streaming back about a female that I had fallen head over heels for during a fairly fleeting but intense few months. I had thought a number of times over the years about where she was now, what she was doing with her life and what I would say if we ever bumped into each other. And now 21st century technology had given me a window in. But looking at the pictures was an eye opener. She looked exactly the same now as she did back then. Still cute, still elfin, still with that cheeky glint in her eyes. But, strangely, I couldn’t actually recognise her. Or, more is the point, I couldn’t recognise myself. I couldn't recognise or connect with the feelings of the past. There was no skip of a heart beat, no long deep breaths, no pining. It was just a picture of a pretty girl that I once knew. And I wish her the best. I'm glad I found the pictures. Thanks Facebook...


  1. Ah I know exactly what you mean, facebook is brilliant but defo has a dark side. By the way have you tried Farmville yet, it's excellent but stay away if you don't want to see time sliding away from you without notice - I'm addicted. xx

  2. You are lucky Street Guru. Most often I've found that people of "the past" are better left there.

  3. Yes Facebook has its positive and negative sides too.Incidently my latest post is about Facebooking..Care to read?

  4. Thanks, Ava Johns - I've heard too much about the addictive nature of Farmville. I'm keeping my distance...for now.

    Ajor, I know what you mean - it reminds me of the opening line of the book "The Go-Between" states: "The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there."

    Aynzan, I will indeed be taking a look.