The Seitzgeist – Issue 63

Posted by in April's Magazine

And now for something completely different, there will be no mention of food this month. I spent two of the last four weeks struck down with a lovely sickness bug, which meant the only time spent in my kitchen was to repeatedly fill a glass with very cold water before collapsing into bed.

I did however manage to spend an inordinate amount of time on Facebook. It started with an innocent sign-in to see what my various friends were saying for themselves. Then followed the obligatory look through everyone’s photo albums. Which subsequently resulted in my clicking through to the profiles of people I don’t, nor would I want to, know – then onto the photos of their friends. I was in full Stalkbook mode. There was even an afternoon when I amused myself no end by watching the time lapse of friend’s posts increase in two-second increments every time I refreshed my browser. Yes, I was THAT bored. Nevertheless, it kept me occupied and amused. But it also managed to rile me.



Esther rants on

I got myself into a spot of bother when I wrote a status update suggesting that Facebook is perhaps not the appropriate forum for grief. Two people deleted me and one person at least openly told me she thought I was out of order. But was I? I’ve had a gut-full of people displaying their so-called sorrow on Facebook. It’s tasteless and out of place.

A friend of mine sums up my feelings in his brilliantly written piece Rest in Tweets on his blog Esther Rants On:

“When it comes to Facebook, don’t give me grief.  And I mean that quite literally. It’s not just the collective, trite, band-wagoning that follows the demise of a celeb that bugs me (the wonderfully original ‘RIP Alexander McQueen’ or the touching ‘Corey Haim, so sad’); these updates are not that offensive but still annoying. I’m talking about people actually mourning friends and loved ones via their Facebook status.

“I’ll concede that there are situations when a bereaved person has plenty of other things to do and to worry about, so a brief shout out on Facebook to thank everyone for their kindnesses is a painless and understandable thing to do. But the people who are Facebooking to inform the world of a loved one’s passing, or to trumpet their sadness at the loss of a friend – these people need to have a word with themselves. If I’d just buried a loved one or learnt of their death, the last thing I’d do is reach for my iphone. Facebook is great for all sorts of things. Tell us about the funny man you saw on the bus. Share your witty observations. But is it really decent, appropriate and right to pay tribute to someone’s life and convey the gut-wrenching tragedy of their death on a social networking site?

Woman carrying goose

“It might be important for some to let the world know their every fart and squeak, but surely the line has to be drawn somewhere? The people that need to know that you’re hurting will surely be aware of your pain already. And those that don’t probably would rather you didn’t pump mawkish sentiment onto Facebook. What really irks and rattles me is the insincerity and attention seeking motives that I suspect lie at the heart of this. I can’t help but feel that many people indulging in this public grief are insecure individuals with depressingly sad motives – they’re trying their best to attract sympathy. “Look at me,” they are saying, “See how much I feel, see how much I hurt, see what a wonderful sensitive person I am! Look at me, look at me, send me your messages of condolence!” What’s worse is that these expressions of grief will often be accompanied by that profile picture of you pissed and gurning, dressed as Austin Powers at a party. And it will be replaced some two hours later by “…just saw a woman carrying a goose – LOL!” or something even less interesting and more banal about eating crisps.

“What’s the harm in it, you might ask, it’s not like anyone will die? This is true. Except that someone did, and you do them a great disservice if you pay tribute to the sum of their life via such a clumsy, trivial and public thing as the Facebook status. Who are you to tell people what to do with their profile, you might also ask? I wouldn’t dream of telling people what they can or can’t post on there. I think people should be able to do pretty much whatever they want, within reason, in the same way that you should feel free to leave the house dressed in welly boots, a silver wrap dress and a maroon glitter wig. But don’t expect people not to point.”

I couldn’t have put it better. To read more from my friend you can visit their blog.

One response to “The Seitzgeist – Issue 63”

  1. […] sense, a rare whisky bar opens and Kick-Ass kicks ass. Add realistic portrayals of Scotland and Esther Rantzen (sort of) + half an hour of sublimely wasted time. I managed to get through all that without […]

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