Sunday, 27 October 2013

No offence Facebook, but I'm going to unfriend you -

Nothing much happened on my Facebook page until I posted something like "Third Friday without B&H – hurrah" in my Diary or my Homepage or wherever. Two people I used to work with immediately said Good for you! And my friend Andrew Marshall asked to befriend me and I said yes, following which he posted kindly that I'd get used to it. So then I was flooded with charming invitations from friends of friends of the befrienders wanting to befriend me.

Some were PRs I'd met in the early Nineties (while I was a magazine editor) and hadn't seen since. For good reason: lack of any power to publicise stuff for them. I toyed with the idea of writing back and saying: "So nice to hear from you, let's meet – how often are you up in London? Alas, I'm rarely there myself these days, but perhaps one Tuesday early in the summer…?" But posting isn't "writing". You can scrawl an apt and gentle kiss-off on a postcard but you can't plonk remarks like that on Facebook, where once posted they can't be got back and they sit for all time, and can be Googled up at will.

For someone who has always worked in journalism – which for better or worse is an ephemeral offering, meant to be read at speed one day and used to line the cats' tray the next – the idea that the flickery web is always up there, like the sky at night, is disconcerting. I'd like to get everything of mine off the web, but that's not how it works. But I am going to get off Facebook. If I can give up B&H I can give up anything. I shall start by unfriending all my friends. Don't be offended, now. It isn't you, promise, honest. It's me.

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