The Rulebook Of Facebook.

An idea for a book recently hit me square in the frontal lobes like a cognitive freight train, whilst engaging in general conversation with a friend in Starbucks. I am not entirely sure of the legal aspects to creating such a work, so am throwing this article out as both a dated disclaimer for any potential creation bandits, and reaction to whether it is worth formulating a first draft. The book is entitled "The Rulebook Of Facebook"; a guide to the social etiquette and considered dos and don'ts, surrounding the billion strong virtual world  - a number which will only continue to evolve through time and teenage maturity.

Currently, Facebook is perceived in different terms by each generation; the fifty pluses find it amusing and hardly use it. Fourtysomethings create profiles, but tend to drift in and our randomly. The thirties are moderate users, and tend to enjoy the sharing of music videos, connections with lost friends, and updating intermittent statuses around the lives they live. Those in their twenties are consistent in their use, and while embracing similar aspects of the older generation, they also enjoy photo sharing, updating statuses, and generally expressing themselves in a usually dignified manner to on-line associates. Finally, there are the log-in fifty times a day, constantly updating, photo sharing, convinced it is bigger than life itself, manic obsessive purveyors of the site, the kids...

The youth live for Facebook, and the site primarily defines their generation; listen to incoherent conversations they partake in - Facebook dominates every sentence. Their 'Likes', Photos, updates, friends lists, even the games they play, all carry weight as barometers of defining social character. And unfortunately for the youth, image is not everything... it is the only thing. We as adults - even though we belong to the last generations alive to experience puberty without the powers of social networking, afford it more power in a passive means; while not the be all and end all of interaction, our actions upon the site do cause an effect. Disagree? 'Unfriend' someone you know personally from your account, and see how they react in person. Nobody likes rejection - be it on-line or in life. In essence, we are the living limbo period of the war in human history, between raising technology and slowly capitulating nature.

Everything we do or say on the site can be seen and read by as many people as we allow it to. I cannot simply tell my girlfriend she is smelly in good humour (She smells lovely, by the way), without a hundred people being able to see, read, and potentially misunderstand these words. This creates a certain knowledge of refrain for many who carry negative assertions of life. For example, if I was suddenly to 'like' the British National Party (I don't by the way, I think they are a bunch or low-intellect bafoons stuck in the 1970's - and not in the cool, Gene Hunt type way), I would naturally expect most of my liberal friends to ditch me. The site doesn't need a law-book as such, but perhaps a guide of how not to use the site in a way which makes you dislikeable. Of course, it helps a lot more if you are a decent person - so maybe I need a chapter on how to manipulate your profile for arseholes.

So this is my idea; a book about how to use Mark Zuckerberg's daddy of internet sites, in a way which does not leave you socially isolated, or looking like a desperate or judgemental prick. If anybody feels this is something they would wish to read, a heads up would be appreciated. The way I see it, social networking is here to stay, here to grow, and here to eventually take over as the standard bearer of communication. Love it, hate it, abhor it, adore it... you cannot avoid it.


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