I love Facebook (sort of)

Published: September 12, 2010

Facebook has its pros and cons

Old people, parents, employers and techno-phobes all love to expound on the many reasons to just bite your lip, rip off the Band-Aid and be done with Facebook forever, but most of us don’t really care.

I’m going to be honest-the usual reasons people give for why social networking is such an insidious villain to the average twenty-something don’t matter to me at all. I don’t really feel that that my real personality is being compromised in favour of a Facebook-friendly version of it. I don’t have any secret sex tapes or otherwise questionable content floating around cyberspace and I don’t at all mind having grandparents as Facebook friends. In fact, I love having my grandparents as Facebook friends, and since that is the prime concern of most people my age (older relative stalkers that is, not grandparents specifically) I think I should be golden. Golden and free to stalk and be stalked forevermore, or as long as these things last. There is however, one serious issue with what I believe to be an otherwise harmless site, and it looks something like this:

“Looking for Muslim singles in your area?”

Creepy dating site commercials aside, there is a whole world of Facebook adverts that invariably manage to insult you in several ways at once.

“Are you a young woman looking to sell her eggs?” is a personal (and recurring) favourite. Why yes, I am a young woman, and why yes, I am quite broke with a liberal arts degree and no lucrative job prospects. Hey, thanks for the great idea, Facebook!

Of course, I am hopelessly behind the times in this critique. Facebook no longer simply implores me to give the gift of life to infertile couples and date men of faith, it also asks me to “like” things.

This shouldn’t ordinarily be a problem. I already like many things I am asked to like, such as sleep, food, weekends, national holidays, real fruit jam, T-shirts, organic cotton dresses, bottled water, scholarships, my country, other countries, free shoes, pink Macbooks, cool deals on electronics, God, Islam, posters, king-size mattresses, cheap wedding photographers, designer jewelry, discounted airfare, cute babies, chick flicks, tea, coffee, grandmothers, clock radios, vitamin water, days where I stay in my pyjamas all day, affordable dorm buys, good banking services and cell phone charms.

The only problem is I can’t just like them. I have to like them. Publicly. This makes me wonder two things. Firstly, why on earth would anybody advertise food, sleep, their religion or flipping the pillow to the cold side at night? Secondly, why on earth does Facebook know so much about me?

No, really. Why does Facebook know I need scholarships? Why does it think I might wear organic cotton dresses? How does it know my favourite colour is blue, or is that just another creepy coincidence? Strictly technologically speaking, some kind of software must be matching our name/sex/age/relationship status/hometown/religion to what it thinks we like, but somebody must have programmed it.

Somebody must have sat down and thought that if you like real fruit jam, why of course you like 100 per cent organic cotton sundresses, which naturally means you are a young woman who might also want to sell her eggs! It’s pure brilliance, not to mention strange and extremely distracting from the practice of getting in touch with my friends, which is (or was) Facebook’s original purpose. I suppose the corporate sellout was inevitable. I just wish the man in the Facebook sky didn’t know so much about me.


Sarah Elahi

A graduate of Mount Holyoke College who works with the Citizens Archive of Pakistan

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Ghausia

    I’m just so obsessed with the Playfish games on FB and I’ve gotten my friends addicted as well. I can’t count the number of times I’ve marked Muslim matrimonial sites as offensive yet still they keep popping up. The Facebook gods don’t listen to us anymore it seems.Recommend

  • encantador

    I agree Sarah and
    @ Ghausia! exactly same is the case with me.Recommend

  • Danish Irsahad

    hi there,
    Here is my case i have being using FB sine 2004 i belive tat i may be few of those ppl who are founder members of fb ! it would b realy wrong when u r using fb to get conneted to world & then start bak fireing it agn! it is realy true tat fb have -tives also bt most of all it contains big +tives ! let me share an ture case with u ! i have a friend who have started fb when he was nt able to work upon windows XP today ths man is earning around 5000/-PKR with the help of fb! on other side of coin is a girl to whom i introduced fb whch i regret ! she became such addicted tat she is on fb 24/7 with ot knowing wat is happening around here nt only ths due ths very reson she lost me. so i belive the choice is yours ! im using it frm dy 1 i have no problems. it all depands upon you! Recommend

  • Alinawaz

    Good article Sarah!Recommend

  • Khadija Masood

    The ads are extremely annoying!Recommend

  • Hummayun Javed

    Hilarious piece. But i’ll let that be, I get it that it took you a long time to figure it out and still not quite get it.

    But, even better… hahah.. I started Facebook, pretty sure I was the first member, introduced a friend to it since he had no other means to find out about it, and he became a billionaire, then i introduced it to a girl (who i secretly liked), who also had never heard of it, and she fell in love with me because of that, but she got addicted to it so bad that I had to let her go. True story!Recommend

  • Sidra

    It’s a useful tool to stay connected but I hate those annoying games like farmville which take up my feed. I did a project one day, at the end of every single hour, I wrote down what i did. It turned out I logged on to Facebook almost every 3 hours!! Even though I was not spending a lot of time on FB, I consciously made an effort to not have more than 2 logins/day again because I don’t want to ever become obsessed with facebook!! And when you’re so busy with real life, the virtual life of FB becomes a bore.Recommend

  • maham

    other annoying little features:

    people you may know- i mean really! REALLY?

    photo memories- somehow FB always manages to dreg up the creepiest photograph. dark sense of humor.

    “like” comments- so i comment on someone’s status and 10 people “like” my comment? makes you feel like you are being constantly watched albeit its your own doing.Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/fa.nizamani Faraz Ahmed Nizamani

    Very well article Sarah!!
    Well done!
    My facebook profile page is:
    Faraz Ahmed Nizamani.
    Thanks Tribune for such a nice bloging!!
    Keep it up…Recommend

  • nasir

    well! its really a true picture and a face side of the fact……..Recommend