Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Facebook, the new-age helpline

Have you noticed (I'm sure you have) that it's not only possible but encouraged to comment on and approve of people's status updates on Facebook? This even applies to your own updates: I saw an update from one of my friends complaining that another friend liked her own update; there is nothing wrong with that, for status updates are our new self-therapy, aren't they? Facebook has become the new-age self-help portal that everyone was secretly longing for. On the one hand they give us all a chance to claim our own 'seventeen minutes of fame'; on the other hand they offer us the opportunity to feel that we are genuinely useful. We side with a hurting friend: 'Hey girl, don't give up. He's just a stupid guy who doesn't recognise your worth.' And we offer nuggets of enlightened living: 'This is a day for all of us to shine.'
Sure, there are still some people who update their latest whinges and binges but these are getting to be the minority and the least popular. It's easy to see why: our bookshops are stacked with 'inspirational' titles and our fave websites are those offering brighter futures, so community and self-help have become a new way of life. Social networking sites hook into deep and real human needs; Facebook has become theever-changing, always accessible new-age helpline.

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