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(31): My ‘Funny’ Facebook Friends

Muhammad Muhsin Ibrahim

After exchanging greetings, one boy of about 17 to 19-year-old asked me: “You are Mal. Mubarak’s younger brother, huh?” I answered in the affirmative. “Greet him for me”. I said okay and called it a day. Unbeknownst to me, that was only the beginning; he asked me time and again to deliver the same message until one day I got it all enough and warned him off it. The lad is my brother’s student in a college, as he told me. He likely meets with him every day, while I have not seen him for over a year as I have been outside Nigeria since June 2013. Whatever, he doesn’t care; I am his friend on Facebook and the younger (and junior) brother of his fave lecturer, hence the right person for his ‘delivery services’.

Many others will request you to be friends and then, upon acceptance, leave you a thankful message either on your timeline or inbox. Forget the mostly disquieting English used for the message; I am against linguistic imperialism, though murdering a simple grammar reveals lots about a person. Those sending private messages tend to, often, be funnier. I have had several encounters with so many who asked where they know me (and they befriend me?). Facebook makes it explicitly clear that it’s aimed to connect us with the people we know, or, I add; with the people we share some things in common. But not everyone!

The above are even more mature than other categories of Facebook friends who are, usually, girls with a sole mission to get a ‘lover’ or some ‘humanitarian cum financial assistance’. They repeatedly spam your inbox with alluring messages and promises to send you their placid pictures or share of the money once the deal is sealed. Others use pseudonyms like Queen, Lover, Sexy, etc; fake names of renowned persons like Dangote, Malala, Ali Nuhu, etc; porn fans; ‘you-must-like/comment’ posters and numerous other tantrum-infested, good-for-nothing posts. I have had enough. While you sometimes accept friend request randomly, another time carefully, this doesn’t help much. Those trolls, as they are referred to in the cyberspace discourse, still circumvent your filter. This is a sequel to my post a week or so ago on a similar topic. 

In a rather special case, some friends are of course our friends, but their unique companionship on Facebook makes them nagging, nay, unwelcome friends. For instance, some will every day try to chat with you on typically trivial topics and during whatever hour from early morning to midnight. I wonder how and what people take Facebook friendship, or generally, friendship as.  We, from time to time, naturally don’t feel like chatting, or don’t have any substantive subject to talk of, or are engaged in some activities much more important than spending it with another person and so on. But they care not to understand and reason. All they want is chit-chat…for what?!

Facebook is called a social networking site, yes, but why people are on it depends on varying reasons. No doubt, as I have also mentioned elsewhere, the main raison d'être is Friendship but I am, for instance, using it more for information/news than anything else. I now see what happens around every corner of the earth, sometimes before they are broken by news media. Now people break stories to a great extent unlike what it used to be. Besides, Facebook also helps me a lot in reuniting and uniting with old and new friends, respectively. It has also availed me with unprecedented opportunity to interact with some big-shots in many walks of life, among other things.

Facebook actually attracts and harbours everyone. There are, among others, self-promoters, arm-chair critics, haters, lovers, preachers, politicians, teachers, students (some of whom seldom ask you to solve their assignment questions), etc. Thus, we can’t, for it is impractical, be there for a single purpose. Neither can we all be behaving in the same way. Yet, it does not mean people should not be called to order. I am not ranting for nothing; the whole drama is just getting too darned exasperating. I will soon begin a Clean-Up Operation in which I will un-follow, un-friend and block many people currently on my friend’s list. Please do the same to me if you consider me one of such bothersome friends. No vexation; no worry; thank you.

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